State data centres set for construction

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State data centres set for construction

The government recently announced plans for the first phase of construction of new state data centres, with work set to begin during this financial year.

The government said it had classified all state data into three categories. The first is national security data, the second, so-called important data, and the third, general data. According to the Information and Communication Technology Minister, eight percent of state data was classified as sensitive, or would come under the national security data protocol. Around 60 percent of state data is considered important, while the remaining 32 percent is deemed general data.

The new facilities will be designed to accommodate all three data categories of state agencies and improve Thailand’s data management systems.

The government said the sensitive and important data of state agencies would be handled by the public sector, while the general data would be handled by data centres owned and operated by the private sector.

The government-run data centres will be overseen by the Electronic Government Agency and supported by the state telecoms TOT Plc and CAT Telecom.

The government is considering renting data centre facilities to private companies for the handling of general data.

The first phase for the development of the data centres is slated for this year, with the second phase scheduled for 2017. At the time of writing, the government was yet to announce a budget for the construction of the centres.

In 2015, former deputy prime minister and vice-chairman of the National Digital Economy Committee, ML Pridiyathorn Devakula, had drafted a plan for national data centres, and it required an investment of between 30 and 40 billion baht to establish around 20 data centres across the country. These centres would serve both public and private sectors.

The current government is looking to scrap this original plan, and replace it with a newer, more streamlined version.

The Electronic Government Agency said it had studied the situation and found state agencies currently had around 300 data centres with 36,000 square metres of space. These facilities have an annual operating cost of 10 billion baht, even though use can be as low as 16 percent of the total. This is clearly a poor use of data and facilities and the government has said it will scrap all state data centres it deems as unnecessary.

The government has identified 17 potential private companies offering data centre services, and it encouraged the private sector to invest in the state data centres, as well as cloud computing and software development.

CAT Telecom chiefs have announced they will establish a separate company to run the data centre business by June this year. This will be a joint venture with another yet-to-be-announced company, with CAT holding a 49 percent stake.

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