Latvia plans centralized national data cloud

In order to meet the increase in demand for digital services and ensure the speed of these services, Latvia will build a national federated cloud, or state data processing cloud, which will consolidate the state administration's computing capacity in four data centers of national significance, Latvian Radio reported on April 5.

Investing more than EUR 12 million from the European Union (EU) Recovery Fund, Latvia will create a national cloud of data processing. Four State institutions have been selected for implementation of this project – “Latvia State Radio and Television Center”, the National Library of Latvia, the Information Center of the Ministry of the Interior, and the Agricultural Data Center.

Currently, 13 institutions are involved in data maintenance.

The new cloud will mean that all the computing capacity and data storage at the disposal of the national administration will be concentrated in these four centers. They will then also provide computing infrastructure services for systems with different requirements.

Gatis Ozols, Deputy State Secretary for Digital Transformation at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, explained: “As technology develops rapidly nowadays, technology becomes more complex and we can no longer afford to maintain specialists in each institution that will deal with server maintenance, data storage, data protection, we are now building a model that we will consolidate these data storage and processing resources in public administration.”

These four centers will provide data as a service to other institutions, while ministries will be more able to deal with their direct responsibilities.

Ozols said: “For residents, this will mean that data will be safer and better maintained on the public administration side - more confidence in that. The second is that the public administration should become more efficient in the way in which these data are maintained. ”

What does the information technology (IT) industry say about creating the new system and consolidating data into a single data-processing cloud?

Signe Bāliņa, President of the Latvian Association of Information and Communication Technology, said; “First, we focus on data and human resources, specialists in these data centers. The main idea is that there should be no disruption to the various services provided by the state to citizens and businesses. To make the operation safer and more thoughtful, because it has often occurred that we are not getting into any of the national systems because there have been some overloads.”

For example, this concerns the submission of annual income declarations, which are a problem for citizens and system operators each year.

Ms Ballina pointed out: "In fact, it is known that March 1 is the moment when all people will want to make declarations. Consequently, systems must be prepared to use additional resources from other data centers in order to be able to provide this service."

The industry has long pointed to the need for the state to concentrate its resources in order to develop a common management of IT resources. 

The overall objective of the European Digital Decade Programme is to make all essential public services available online to citizens in all Member States by 2030, and the introduction of the Latvian national data cloud will be an important step towards this goal.

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