Public agencies will migrate IT systems to data centres
The final list of qualified companies to bid for Thailand's first national data centre project will be announced this year, says the Electronic Government Agency (EGA).
The candidates include those already providing data services — TOT, CAT Telecom, True Internet Data Center, CS Loxinfo, TCC Technology, Internet Thailand, United Information Highway, Symphony and SuperNap.
EGA president Sak Segkhoonthod said 22 companies had submitted their registration bids including non-telecoms such as logistics and warehouse firms WHA Corporation and NTT Facilities.
Mr Sak said the EGA expected public agencies would migrate their information systems to the new data centres that will be operated by the private sector by early 2017.
"Overall data migration processes could be completed within five years," he said yesterday at the Asean Cloud Security Alliance Summit in Bangkok.
The government plans to reduce the number of traditional data centres owned by the public sector to 100 from 240.
Mr Sak said the national data centre project was expected to lift the competitiveness of the country's IT infrastructure significantly.
It will create a national broadband access service and affordable internet gateways.
Criteria for construction of national data facilities are expected to be submitted to the cabinet for approval this month.
The final list of qualified bidders will be announced by year-end.
An important specification requires that a new data centre must have 2,000 to 3,000 square metres of space.
Mr Sak said the project was expected to pave the way for opportunities for Thailand to become a leading cloud-based data centre in Asean.
The project is also expected to enhance the country's data centre industry, which now relies on foreign data facilities.
He said the EGA was encouraging public agencies to adopt cloud-based technologies to improve their services.
In the past three years, public agencies have adopted up to 600 government cloud (G-cloud) hosting platforms out of 10,000 systems available in the market. This could have saved the public sector up to 600 million baht on IT spending.
The G-cloud framework allows users to choose and purchase cloud services covering infrastructure, platforms, software and specialist services.
The EGA recently also rolled out its disaster recovery site for G-cloud services to ensure continuous IT operations and fast recovery of mission-critical data and systems.
Mr Sak acknowledged that the EGA needed to change its role to comply with the digital era.
"We are positioning ourselves as a regulator to govern technology standards and monitor and assess cloud and data centre providers, particularly the national data centre project," he said.
The EGA is drafting a new regulation to determine its new role and expects to receive cabinet approval in the next two months.
The association is also developing more certificate programmes to produce more skilled IT workers.
"Thailand will definitely need a more highly skilled IT workforce, particularly in data centres, as the national data centre project requires a lot of human resources to serve growth opportunities," Mr Sak added.