It’s no surprise that cloud computing, which brings all of these benefits, is transforming the industry’s approach to IT.
Cloud computing is widely acknowledged as key to driving the journey through the fourth industrial revolution, marked by the profound integration of technology into society. The cloud enables capabilities in artificial intelligence, big data analytics, the internet of things and robotics – all with numerous benefits for public service.
SITA’s vision was to establish a government private cloud, defined as “an ecosystem of different clouds”, for exclusive access by government departments – owned by the government and operated and managed by SITA.
To realise this goal, the agency embarked on infrastructure modernisation to re-engineer its digital environment into modern state-of-the-art facilities, including the introduction of cloud capability. The official launch will be on 23 November 2018.
SITA’s cloud computing programme created a multi-year modernisation roadmap, and gave rise to the government private cloud ecosystem, a connected and fully orchestrated cloud computing platform. Also known as the cloud foundation infrastructure, it allows the management of cloud resources and workload, irrespective of their location in the ecosystem.
SITA has now implemented the next key phase in creating this ecosystem, building its biggest cloud infrastructure to date, in partnership with Huawei, IBM and Gijima.
This is being done on the back of the success that SITA has achieved in this area of work, and in line with South Africa’s efforts towards socio-economic transformation.
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) was SITA’s first cloud client that accepted a proposal for infrastructure as a service, and signed off the completed project on 23 October 2018.
The DHET is a 100% cloud customer – showing the DHET and SITA’s commitment towards modernising the government’s information technology space for improved service delivery. SITA began the building of its government private cloud ecosystem in 2014, and has capacitated in-house cloud sites in KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, the Western Cape and Gauteng.
The agency believes the decision to move to cloud fixes many existing infrastructure challenges, including addressing the cost and inefficiency of multiple stand-alone data centres, client-specific server infrastructure, upfront capacity expenditure to cater for peaks and growth, and keeping up with the proliferation of technologies.
This cloud platform – in conjunction with new data centres and broadband – is a key tool for the government’s trajectory from planning to meaningful implementation.
As more government departments start using the new cloud platform, it is expected that staff and citizens will see a tangible improvement in government service delivery, capability and service, built on a foundation of modern infrastructure and toolsets, and agile systems.
The SITA-government cloud journey will also translate into increased security, productivity, efficiency and service delivery, as well as high availability (across devices and at any time).