AP to use Microsoft Azure Stack to migrate applications from Hyderabad data centre to Vizag

The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in Mumbai. (Photo: N Chandrababu Naidu/Twitter)
The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in Mumbai. (Photo: N Chandrababu Naidu/Twitter)

Currently more than 340 applications of Andhra Prdesh including eSeva, MeeSeva, Core Dash Board are running in Hyderabad SDC. Under the PoC agreement, state will migrate 15 applications to Vizag data centre with the help of Microsoft Azure Stack.

Government of Andhra has entered into an agreement with technology giant Microsoft to utilise Microsoft Azure Stack for AP government state data centre. The chief minister Chandrababu Naidu and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella singed an MoU during an event called ‘Microsoft Future Decoded’ in Mumbai today.

Under the MoU, Microsoft Azure Stack for the first time in the world will be used to migrate live applications currently hosted in Hyderabad State Data Centre (SDC) to Vizag data centre.

Government of India helped erstwhile Andhra Pradesh to build a state data centre in Hyderabad with the funding of Rs 400 crore. However, after bifurcation of the state into residual Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, both the states have bifurcated servers and data but they are using the same data centre in Hyderabad.

As per the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, AP has 10 years rights on the data centre but state is gradually planning to move all applications hosted in Hyderabad SDC to Vizag and Vijayawada data centres.

Why Microsoft Azure Stack?

Basically, a data centre has three important components – server, applications and storage. The hardware for all three components are different and they are controlled by software also knows as controller.

For migration of the data centre from one location to other, usually private companies put on-premise data centre into the cloud and then to different location or it remains in the cloud. However, governments are highly conscious of data security because they deal with personal data of citizens. So, they usually avoid going to cloud and prefer data to be within their boundaries. Specially in the case of Andhra Pradesh, the state has witnessed some bad experience in the past where the data was lost and open to unauthorised person.

Now in order to address this challenge, Microsoft has come out with Microsoft Azure Stack which encompasses three key components of the data centre – application, server, and the storage – into one physical box and deliver to the client. The client has full control over the box. Technically, it is a cloud software that is binding the entire stack together in one environment.

The US-based company has tested this Microsoft Azure Stack in its lab but it has not been physically delivered or commercially used anywhere in the world. For the first time, Microsoft is doing proof of concept (POC) with Government of Andhra Pradesh to prove its capability.

Currently more than 340 applications of Andhra Prdesh including eSeva, MeeSeva, Core Dash Board are running in Hyderabad SDC. Under the PoC agreement, state will migrate 15 applications to Vizag data centre.

The Vizag data centre is managed by Andhra Pradesh State Fibernet Limited (APSFL), an organisation which has impressed with its works so much so that Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has put the work of managing AP state data centre after bifurcation of the state to APSFL instead of the state IT department.

How will applications move from Hyderabad to Vizag?

To migrate, part of the applications will be taken to cloud and from cloud it will be transmitted onto the Azure Stack. In this process, live applications will move from Hyderabd to Vizag. Once the box is with government Microsoft will not have access to the data but they will have access to data in the cloud. So the government has signed an MoU to ensure they take care of data when it is in cloud. The security of the data and application at this stage resides with the Microsoft.

Government officials says that they don’t expect Microsoft to do their all work. So they have gone for a tender for a collocation in Vijayawada. Government is also setting a disaster recovery (DR) centre of Vizag SDC in Vijayawada. A RFP has already been released and the state expects to set up DR unit within three months.

There are 5-6 companies including AWS, IBM, which are actively selling this type of solutions. One officer says that currently Microsoft has approached us with this product. “Once we are happy with the product, we may take a call to go for a tender and we will follow the L1 rule.”

“This is a win-win situation for both Microsoft and AP. They want to test their product and I want to migrate my applications.  Be it AWS or any other. We need it,” said an official.

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