The new Indian government has embarked upon a highly ambitious Digital India program that happens to be the extension of Make in India initiative to transform India into a manufacturing and digital super power. These programs are designed to establish India as a knowledge economy as well as an empowered society.
Insights into digital India initiative
Digital India program is aimed at offering digital infrastructure to every citizen in the form of utility backed by on demand services. If we consider the huge scale of these services that are focused at Indian population, which is second largest in the world then the entire gamut of these initiatives including nine pillars of Digital India transforms into the challenges of Big Data.
Following are few glimpses into the massive proportions of this program:
- Empowerment of 250000 village councils with broadband connectivity
- Universal mobile connectivity to 42300 villages
- 150000 multi service oriented post offices
- Electronic versions of information and databases
- Data analysis, automation, and response to be driven by IT
- Huge data streaming capabilities for delivering large number of online courses
This can go on and on. The point to be noted is, there needs to be a robust mechanism to flawlessly implement Digital India program. It is simply not possible to achieve the same without impregnable data privacy, state of the art data centers, and high end cloud capabilities.
There are unique challenges of using extremely huge volumes of data that is perpetually being generated in structured as well as unstructured form. In addition to this, vast streams of data are being fed in due to internet of things. IoT accounts for interconnected devices via Internet and this number has overtaken number of human beings way back in 2011.
Facing gigantic challenges of big data and IoT
Big data and Internet of Things have given rise to multiple challenges in accomplishing long cherished dream of digital India. These challenges can be listed as under:
- Need for a huge storage space to accommodate the massive volumes of data
- Finding ways to ensure security and privacy of data
- Management of devices that are being networked with help of Internet
- Managing infrastructure related to data centers spread across wide geographical area
- Acquiring self reliance in terms of hardware and to reduce imports of the same from PRC
Key factors that support Digital India drive
Hence the feasibility of Digital India heavily depends upon data privacy, data centers, and cloud hosting solutions. Presently Indian organizations are heavily relying on data centers from UK, US, Hong Kong, and Singapore. This implies that data belonging to Indian citizens is positioned in these overseas countries. More significantly, these countries are exploiting our data for analytics.
There is a huge contradiction in way we think and act because on one hand we are proudly boasting about India’s ability to dispatch a spacecraft to Mars while we are not prepared to rely on
In spite of our huge population that is driving world’s leading organizations such as WhatsApp and Amazon. We as a country have not been able to exploit our strengths to our own advantage. We are unknowingly helping overseas organizations get bigger and bigger in terms of revenue earnings and the Indian economy is struggling to keep its head above waters.
This cannot and should not be allowed to continue. There is an urgent need to put in place stringent data privacy policies in the same way it is being adopted in Europe, US, UK, and Singapore to name a few.
Government can also explore possibilities of tie-ups with Indian companies having major share and our data is securely stored within our boundaries. We can also design regulations to force social media companies to store data in India or make it compulsory for Indian companies to host their data with Indian data centers.
Attributes of indigenous data centers and other resources
We can expect a plethora of advantages by encouraging more and more data centers to operate from India. These may be fully owned by Indian companies or can be in the form of joint ventures or collaborations with companies from abroad. There are number of advantages of such a scenario such as:
- Foreign exchange savings
- Creation of employment for local youth
- Greater security for data that belongs to India
- No scope for communal provocation
- Generation of tax revenues for all internet enabled transactions
The biggest disadvantage of hosting our data in overseas data centers is the data is being used by those countries for analytics. Our country will never evolve in the field of data analytics if we do not have any data to begin with. Therefore there is a significant need for Indian data centers.
Improved cloud capabilities
It is encouraging to note that one of the Indian organizations has developed a cloud that has ability to scale vertically by obviating control panels for requesting more resources. This cloud model relies on vertical scaling to manage growing demand for resources and after the same reaches a point of saturation, it starts scaling horizontally.
Cloud is also extremely efficient for Disaster Recovery. It is also highly cost effective solution. Traditional DR model requires you to setup an additional facility that is exactly identical to the original data center. This doubles your investment. In a cloud DR solution the users need to pay only in the event of disaster. This significantly reduces DR costs in comparison with traditional Disaster Recovery model.
Data center management
Management of data centers is essentially management of racks, devices, ports, servers, and services to name just a few. It is heartening to note that Indian organizations have been able to develop award winning products that have excellent ability to manage all these processes efficiently.
There is hardly any need to depend on Microsoft or VmWare id we encourage use of the indigenous technology. Our technocrats have been able handle defacement of websites, cross-scripting issues, and many more hacks by developing a plethora of products including Vulnerability Scanners, SQL injection, and domain reputation.
If we are poised o produce large volumes of data through digital India initiative then there has to be an efficient way to manage Big Data in terms of storage, processing, transmission, and analytics. This is possible by use of indigenous technologies only If the government is able to devise strategies and policies to make it happen.