by July 23, 2013 0 comments

The Maharashtra State Government was facing several challenges that demanded a cloud solution. Firstly, users were facing long waiting times to procure IT infrastructure as they had to schedule to use resources. There was also underutilization of computing resources and scalability problems with a static infrastructure model. Reliability, disaster recovery, provisioning and availability were challenges of the current model, and many external agencies were employed to run the old infrastructure. Hence, a shift into the cloud model became a necessity.

The Implementation

Initially, a proof of concept on virtualization was started in November 2011 by using VMWare and Microsoft Hyper V. When the project was implemented in May 2012, a VMWare cloud with 302 VMs running on 24 physical servers (Intel Xeon 2 X 6 core 2.93 Ghz each) was setup. Alongside this, a Microsoft cloud of 25 VMs running on 6 physical servers(3 Blades of Intel Xeon 2 * 4 core 2.66 ghz/48GB RAM , 3 Blades of Intel Xeon 2*6 Core 2.93 Ghz/96GB RAM) was setup. 143 applications are running on the VMWare cloud, while 7 applications are running on the Microsoft cloud.

Infrastructure, Platform & Software are being provided “as a service” to government employees with the cloud.

Challenges Faced

The main challenge is with ensuring backup and zero downtime, as the entire virtual instance currently resides in the SAN storage. Hence, any disruption to the SAN would lead to severe downtime. To counter this, an asynchrous SAN replication is being done at a nearby location as a backup. Also, another major challenge was that there was a lack of knowledge about the use of the cloud infrastructure. To overcome this, extensive training programs were conducted for the data operations team. More detailed training programs will be held with the help of solution providers to the data center operations team.

The Result

The turnaround time to provision a server along with OS and database has gone down. Departments also have the most up-to-date versions of applications because everything is updated through the cloud. A potential savings of 50 crores has been made from implementing the cloud, with just an investment of 2 crores into the solution. Universal resource access is also included, and backup of VMDK/VHD files leads to quick restoration of the server when required. Collaboration has also been improved greatly, as time taken to allocate resources to a department has been reduced from hours to minutes.

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