hi all,

Firstly, I apologise for coming into this late, have not been
following OSDC list much lately, work... then Red1 pulled me into

So gathering some facts from above, here is my rant.

1. Centralized IT

    Need to rethink, centralization offers benefits like economies of
scale, standardisation, leveraging/creating pools of expertise
(building ecosystems)...

    But this has got to be different from the mainframe era, with big
vendors, technology lock-in, proprietry standards and hardware...

    What the 'New Centralization' should be; it should leverage the
latest technology, cloud based computing, ubiqious mobile devices,
prevalent broadband internet.

Centralising computing much as you would cemtralise utillities, like
water, power etc... Such utillities are considered infrastructure,
essential for economic development. Much as our current current
economic strength was due to the foresight of earlier government to
spend on developing the physical infrastructue of roads, ports, power,
water... which in turn attracted DFI (direct foreign investment) which
inturn led to our economic prosperity. That was phase 1, which was
essentially emphasizing on 'hardware' or physical infra.

Phase 2: is about building 'Knowledge based' economy. The enablers for
that is ICT infra, that would allow knowledge and services to 'flow'
just as roads and ports allowed physical goods to flow. Hence
computing resources - as represented by cloud-computing, broadband
(wireless) telecommunications, mobile devices are the way to go.

These, are still 'hard' infra, easy to build, just spend money and do
a bit of planning. The development of the 'soft-assets' is more
difficult, it includes fixing Education, and devloping ecosystems of
IT expertise, SW development, mobile solutions, cloud-computer admins,
network & security... Then you need domain experts..

Easily available infra - leads to innovation

A prominent Silicon Valley VC, in a talk, mentioned the low-cost of
computing leads to the rapid growth of innovation and new start-up
companies. He specifically mentioned the low-cost of PC/laptops and
zero-cost of FOSS. But to deploy and beta-test a product, hosting
costs are still high, particularly in Malaysia. Lowering hosting costs
via cloud based infra, would lower costs further, leverage
efficiencies for wider systems deployment and allow many more
innovators to participate.

Start-ups/innovators can quickly & cheaply develop, test, deploy their
prodctt. Cheaper startup costs allow more people to participate. There
will be a faster cycle, from conception to success/failure. This leads
to a more efficient Darwinian evolution, weeding out the weak,
quickly. (note: failure itself is not a bad thing, it teaches valuable
lessons that lead to success)

Thus you build a healthy eco-system.

How this will help government?
I'll use a 'scenario' to illustrate:

Min. of Health (it could be any other..) has a 'cloud' infra, based on
OSS (e.g. OpenStack) and wants to explore some new solutions,
computerization of the rapidly expanding 1Malaysa clinics...

    They put out a RFP with the following terms:

    - must use FOSS

    - code that's implemented/deployed must be open-sourced
      (not free, and IP rights belong to respective developers)

    - based on open API and standards,
        (for security and auhorization, for data storage
         for data interchange, medical standars...)

    - MOH to define the standards to use, requiremnts specs,
      performance specs, etc... They should not define tools, ie:
      what DB, what language...

    - teams that accept the RFP, to put up a beta/prototype on a server

    - infra will be provided, development servers/tools,
       test servers - all based on MOH-cloud

    (a small fee may be paid to development teams, or it can be made
     into a competition. 200-300k for such a fee for a few million $
     project is not unreasonble. A junket trip arranged by vendors to
     'tour' overseas facilities would easily cost 100k plus! Which
     the vendor already built into the final purchase price! )

    What are the benefits:
    - create/breed a rich ecosystem of developers/innovators based on
       merits and capability

    - open competition, many teams compete

    - MOH gets to test and evaluate various products
       and picks the ones that are most suitable and works.

    - MOH can even 'mix-match' modules from the different competing
       teams. Because everything is based on open standards, tools.
       ie: Not difficult to port PHP/mySQL app to Python/Postgres
       and vv. Or buld a higher level layer that consolidates data
       into a big centralised database, for centralise reference
       OLTP and reporting, letting the invidual apps' DB handle
       transactional needs.

       (A cost model will have to be determined for the above
        methodology, not unsolvable among the OSS community.)

    - deployment will be really easy, as it was developed on the
      same infra,

    - Procurement is simplified, no need for purchase of complex
      configs, SW license/sizing. Just buy more storage, CPUs for
      the cloud, standard items.

    - Scale-up is a non-issue.

    - Costs will be low, weed out 'lemons', things that don't
       work before implementation (and fix them), not after.

Is the above scenario too idealistic? Not really, its is doable, but
it needs a serious change of mindset!

There are still many 'holes' that need to be filled before the above
scenario is workable,

Care to discuss?,


Boh Heong, Yap

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