ISLAMABAD: The National Telecommunications Corporation (NTC) on Wednesday signed an agreement with VMware Inc (VMW), an inventor in enterprise software, to develop Pakistan’s first government cloud.

A cloud contains a large number of distributed computing resources connected via the internet. Cloud services are hosted in a data centre that can be accessed by companies or individuals using network connectivity.

According to NTC, the agreement will enable the IT and telecommunications service provider to modernise the country’s public-sector IT infrastructure. With VMware’s digital foundation, NTC will further expand the government’s capabilities in cloud adoption, enable greater innovation and easier access to cloud-based services, and deliver better and faster digital services for citizens.

The announcement follows the success of the first memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in September 2017, which enabled NTC to test VMware software to accelerate digital transformation within the public sector as part of the government’s Digital Pakistan Initiative.

This expansion is also in tandem with the rapidly growing number of internet users in Pakistan, which increased by 27pc in 2017 compared to a 20pc increase in 2016.

The partnership also aligns with the government’s Vision 2025, which aims to develop a competitive knowledge-based economy through innovation and technological adoption.

As part of the agreement, VMware will empower NTC to set up a government public cloud that delivers virtualized computing services such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), recover data after a man-made or natural disaster like Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) and software that allows organizations to securely enable employee use of mobile devices and applications such as Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions.

These services are meant to offer flexibility, agility to scale and mobility, designed to assist with minimal downtime and adequate back-up in the event of man-made or natural disasters.

“We are dedicated to setting up a technology-enabled public sector that can constantly meet the needs of citizens and keep up with the pace of change. With digital transformation being a top priority for many businesses in Pakistan, we are confident that the G-Cloud will facilitate greater innovation, improve citizen engagement, and create opportunities for digital growth in individuals and organizations across all sectors in the country,” NTC Managing Director Viqar Rashid Khan said.

“VMware software connects, manages, automates and secures digital infrastructure to reliably deliver the applications, services and experiences transforming business and society. NTC is now at the forefront of delivering a G-cloud that is able to provide world-class digital services for the government. We are committed to supporting NTC’s digital journey to enable efficient and scalable public-sector services that are responsive to citizens’ needs,” said VMware Country Manager, Nascent Markets and Vietnam, Daniel Choo.

Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2018