AWS & Google to roll out Government cloud computing projects in Japan

Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform have been chosen by Japan’s Digital Agency as the first service providers for its nationwide cloud computing project.

The two service providers were chosen because they met about 350 requirements across security, data management and legal issues, among others, a Digital Agency official said. They will initially be used to run the agency’s website, as well as by eight municipalities on a trial basis, according to a Nikkei Asia report. A Digital Agency official said the budget for government cloud computing until March 2022 is about 2 billion yen ($17 million) but the budget for the upcoming years is as yet undetermined, Nikkei Asia added.

“By providing cloud services under a direct contract with the Digital Agency, we will be the first to deliver cutting-edge technologies and best practices from around the world to help the Japanese government modernize its information systems,” Amazon Web Services Japan said in a statement.  Google Cloud said it is “honoured to have been selected as a provider of the Government Cloud…based on the Digital Agency’s requirements for a cloud service that is fast, cost-effective, secure and convenient for users.”

Standardise Digital infra

The government cloud project aims to unify and standardise digital infrastructure across ministries and roughly 1,700 municipalities, which currently operate their own systems. The management of data centres and business applications are often outsourced to domestic system integrators, which government officials say led to customised systems with high maintenance costs and vendor lock-in.

This vendor lock-in has also prevented the speedy rollout of public services and hampered Japan’s COVID-19 response, an area wherein countries such as India have fared better due to the adoption of Open Source. The Digital Agency began operations in September and will control most of the government’s IT budget. It is encouraging local governments to fully shift to the government cloud by fiscal year 2025.

An official said shifting entirely to the cloud could reduce the annual IT budget, which currently stands at about 800 billion yen ($7 billion), by about 30 per cent.

Venkatesh Ganesh

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