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Kurdistan Region’s first Advanced Data Center to lead KRG’s 2025 digitalization vision into a paperless future

For the first time in the history of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government opened the first Tier three based data center in the country, one of the first steps on Prime Minister Masrour Barzani’s agenda and vision to digitalize the government services in a bid to achieve a paperless government by 2025.

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani inaugurated the Kurdistan Region’s first data center in early September 2022, a step that is not only the core of the ninth cabinet’s digital transformation strategy, but also a first of its kind step towards data centralization and sovereignty.

During the inauguration, Prime Minister Barzani described the data center as “a sophisticated and protected system that provides information in all different sectors, and helps elevate the work of KRG institutions.”

One of the key aims of the data center set up by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Department of Information Technology (DIT) is to help different ministries and offices of the government to digitalize various services.

Previously, data was scattered around the ministries which used to make their own data entry systems. These were often ignored and rendered inefficient because there was no cross referencing between the different ministries.

As a result of the modern data center which has been built, the ministries will now be able to not only enter their own data, but also will be able to do data cross referencing among each other and prevent the duplication of data and any errors being made.

The data center will play an immense role in materializing KRG’s digital transformation goals which aim to turn the Region into a GovTech powerhouse, and ranking as one of the top digital governments in the Middle East by 2025.

The digital transformation process aims to enhance the delivery of services, and the strategy will be supported by an internal as well as external blueprint to build the government’s digital capacity.

Through the data center, all ministries will be able to host their services in the datacenter according to the standards and they will be provided with power, cooling, connectivity and security.

The capacity of the data center is around 320 kilowatts and intends to digitalize over 300 government services.

The data center is built on the basis of tier three certification, which is a system that certifies the quality of data centers. Tier three data centers are those that are live 99.9% of the time and have no disruptions to their systems.

The vision of the ninth cabinet through this process is to make sure the citizens of the Kurdistan Region will have access to simpler, faster, secure, reliable, and transparent services wich will enable them to deal with the government at any time, place, and through any devices.

The digital transformation will also focus primarily on giving citizens an experience that is stable and secure.

In a bid to ensure the data center’s complete availability, the government has provided two different sources of national electricity to the center, as well as four generators to ensure it stays online. The future plan of the DIT is to be able to replace the generators with solar panels in order to reduce pollution.

The entirety of the center is set to run on UPS systems to avoid it ever going offline, and in order to avoid any form of fire accidents, a system of gas fire extinguishers has been set up that aligns with the security standards set by tier three.

In terms of physical security, access to the data center is limited to specialized personnel only through fingerprint access. In order to ensure the safety of the data, the DIT has also set up a backup disaster recovery data center in an undisclosed location in case of a natural disaster, in addition to the measures taken to keep the main data center safe.