Ministry of ICT and Microsoft co-launch National Cloud platform for first time in MEA region
In an unprecedented step in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, the Ministry of Information Communications Technology (MoICT) has announced the launch of a National Cloud platform, in collaboration with Microsoft. The announcement was made during a ceremony held under the patronage of Prime Minister Dr. Abdullah Ensour on 2 June, 2014, at the InterContinental Amman.
The event was attended by Minister of ICT, Dr. Azzam Sleit; Microsoft General Manager for North Africa, East Mediterranean and Pakistan, Sayed Hashish; Microsoft Public Sector General Manager for Middle East and Africa, Elias Tabet; and Microsoft Jordan Country Manager, Hussein Malhas.
The National Cloud platform is co-funded by Microsoft and the MoICT, and underscores the positive strategic partnership between the Company and the Government of Jordan. During the first phase, government entities will be provided with a consolidated Data Center that is powered by cloud technologies. The Data Center is located in the National Information Technology Center and is linked to over 90 government entities via a private network. In later stages, the platform will serve as a virtual Data Center for startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
During the press conference that took place on the sidelines of the ceremony, several keynote speakers explained that the National Cloud will shorten government entities’ Server Hardware Procurement Cycle from over four months to less than one day. The platform will also enhance government entities’ average Industry Utilization of Server Hardware from approximately 15% to more than 90%. Furthermore, it will enable the Government of Jordan to ensure maximized Server Power by centralizing its operations through a unified Data Center.
“We greatly value the sustainable partnership we have established with Microsoft, and launching a consolidated Data Center powered by cloud computing services is part of several steps we have recently taken to help the Government enhance performance levels, as well as to support the e-Governance program. After one year of close collaboration with Microsoft, we are confident that the National Cloud platform will bolster both internal and external performance efficiency for various government entities and organizations,” commented Dr. Sleit.
Furthermore, Dr. Sleit elaborated that deploying cloud computing technologies – which utilize infrastructure as a service – allows government entities to significantly reduce IT expenses and enjoy unparalleled flexibility in terms of obtaining IT resources. The National Cloud also operates a wide range of government applications and programs that previously required heavy investment in computer devices and infrastructure. As such, this step will actively lower costs and operational expenses by 15% to 20% during the first year and by 40% to 45% in later years. In addition, the platform will bolster performance, facilitate future expansion, as well as allow increased storage capacity and faster download.
Dr. Sleit added, “The platform will reduce the timeframe for securing IT resources, in comparison with the Government’s extensive purchasing tender procedures, thus enabling organizations to better focus on core operations and obtain resources in a more dynamic manner anywhere and at anytime. He went on to add that this cutting-edge technology is categorized under Green IT due to the fact that it mitigates the number of required devices and servers, hence effectively saving energy.”
In turn, Malhas stated, “Launching the National Cloud platform underscores Microsoft Jordan’s commitment towards supporting the Government and aiding government entities in providing improved services to citizens across different sectors.”
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