Info-tech

Govt cloud tender: Is Microsoft raising issues to keep rivals out?

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2018

Sources said Microsoft wrote to various government departments on Cloud and open-source software policy, alleging that the ‘intention’ was to ‘sideline other competitors, such as Amazon Web Services’   -  REUTERS

Software companies are in the process of fulfilling the criteria to submit technical bids for empanelment as Cloud service providers for the government

The race to bag the tender for becoming the government’s Cloud service provider, the bidding for which has been extended to June 15, is taking an interesting turn with indications from within the government that US software giant Microsoft is trying to stop some rivals from participating in the bidding.

Multiple government sources in the know told BusinessLine that Microsoft had written to various government departments on Cloud and open-source software policy, alleging that the “intention” was to “sideline other competitors, such as Amazon Web Services”.

“It seems Microsoft wants some of its rivals not to be part of this programme, which is normal in the corporate world. But such things are being seen as attempts to delay the process by creating unnecessary issues,” a senior government official told BusinessLine.

The allegations against Microsoft come at a time when software companies are in the process of fulfilling the criteria to submit technical bids for empanelment as Cloud service providers for the government, the last date for which has been extended to June 15 from June 1.

Citing recent news reports on Microsoft writing letters to various departments, the official said such things should not have come in the public domain, as the government was in the process of preparing the bids. Companies that have objections should raise such issues at relevant platforms.

When asked to comment, Microsoft declined, saying: “At this point, we’ve nothing to share on this.”

According to another official, the technical evaluation committee of the government will look into the bids and only then decide on who is capable for the project.

“Without getting any bid or evaluating any bidder, how can one decide whether a company is capable of the project or not?,” a government official said.

Government Cloud

The government had invited application/proposal for empanelment of Cloud service offerings of Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) in May.

The aim of the policy is to realise the comprehensive vision of a government private Cloud environment.

The purpose of the project is to make it available for use for Central and State government line departments, districts and municipalities to accelerate their ICT-enabled services.

The selected Cloud provider will be tasked to configure, schedule and manage backups of all data, including, but not limited to, files, folders, images, system state, databases and enterprise applications as per the policy defined by the Ministry of Electronics and IT or the government department.

According to the request for proposal (application) by the government, the primary data centre (DC) and the data recovery centre (DRC) should be in different seismic zones.

The DRC can be offered from a traditional data centre facility and all the relevant mandatory requirements defined for the primary data centre.

The Cloud platform should also provide encryption of all backup files and data and management of encryption keys as a service that can be enabled for government departments that require such a service.

In addition to the primary data centre, the Cloud service provider will also be responsible for disaster recovery services so as to ensure continuity of operations in the event of failure of primary data centre and meet the recovery point objective and recovery time objective requirements.

Published on June 06, 2017

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