ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday inaugurated the Cloud Data Centre at the Higher Education Commission.The HEC has established the centre in a building donated by the Huawei Technologies that aims to facilitate universities to become part of the world-class research environment. The minister was accompanied by China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong, HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed and HEC Executive Director Dr Arshad Ali. The vice chancellors of various public and private sector universities and other notables were also present at the ceremony. In view of rise of the internet and web-based technologies as more strategic tools than ever before, the HEC has established the centre to improve productivity, enhance business processes and accelerate change. The data centres are the strategic focus of information technology (IT) efforts to protect, optimise and grow the businesses.HEC’s cloud services aim at increasing efficiency and productivity, achieving collaboration between the universities of Pakistan and reducing costs by using an optimised IT infrastructure. This data centre would provide services like virtual data centres, virtual desktop infrastructure, safe campus central solution and central surveillance, unified communication and shared services, and storage and training as services. Speaking on the occasion, the minister congratulated HEC on the launch of the centre and termed it as the backbone of infrastructural and technological development of universities in the current digital age. “It is our responsibility to provide our new generation with good learning opportunities, as we have to make the country an Asian Tiger under Vision 2025 by joining the world’s top 25 economies,” he said.Reiterating the resolve to strengthen the universities, he said that innovation had become a ‘currency’ and requires creativity, and it is the universities where creativity comes from. “Turning around a country is a complicated and challenging process, but it is not an impossible journey.” He said that the 21st century was the century of economic ideologies and Pakistan needs to overcome its political instability to make an economic uplift.In his opening remarks, the HEC chairman said that the launch of the centre was a way forward to realising the HEC dream of linking up universities through fast and effective technologies. He said that HEC was committed to facilitating the universities for the welfare of society and the socio-economic uplift of the country. He said that HEC was fully cognizant of the responsibility to develop human resources so as to make the future prosperous.Following the establishment of the centre, he announced that the HEC was planning to set up a research and development (R&D) centre in the near future as well. The chairman also said that despite passing through various hardships in the last years, the HEC was now efficiently performing its obligations with the generous government support. The government had also set the growth of higher education as a first priority, he said.Appreciating Huawei Technologies for donating building for the new centre, he said that the HEC-Huawei joint endeavours started back in 2006 and since then the two sides had been working on various initiatives for the promotion of technological advancement in Pakistan. Under an agreement between the HEC and Huawei, the latter would train people in the new technologies that would be introduced.HEC Information Technology Director General Anwar Amjad briefed the audiences about the goals set for the coming years and narrated the history of technological development initiatives. He described the salient features of the modular data centre which has a total of 20,000 cores (CPU), 20 BP storage capacity, 30 TB RAM, 100,000 VDI and 5000 Could V-Hosts.Earlier, the Huawei Technologies was engaged for the deployment of state-of-the-art centre based on the hybrid cloud on leading technologies. The new facility would extend a rich and collaborative platform to the higher education institutes for hosting their services over the offered infrastructure and research collaboration platforms locally in Pakistan. The public sector across the world had taken a note of the benefits derived in the private sector and it was striving for the best practices.The government organisations were also redefining their businesses to deliver improved services to the citizens. The cloud services are about focusing an organisation on becoming world class with processes that deliver the highest levels of performance than just the centralisation or consolidation of similar activities in one location.