OZG-Cloud – Federal multi-cloud solution with centralized support

The OZG cloud is becoming a crucial element of administrative digitization in Germany. Schleswig-Holstein and Bavaria are already working together to make applications available to municipalities in this way, to expand them, and to always keep them up to date – a model for other German states.

Short & concise

  • ITV.SH and BayKommun, which as institutions under public law support the digitization of municipalities in Schleswig-Holstein and Bavaria, are cooperating on the OZG Cloud.
  • The OZG Cloud provides technologies and consulting to make existing IT infrastructure in the federal states compatible and interoperable with each other.
  • This enables a multi-cloud solution that can be centrally managed while ensuring local self-government.

Schleswig-Holstein and Bavaria are working closely together to implement the Online Access Act (OZG) in the municipalities. In this way, the federal states want to accelerate the roll-out of OZG services – with the help of cloud technologies that enable a high degree of automation.

German administration cloud strategy brings together existing IT infrastructure

The basis for the cooperation between the two public institutions ITV.SH and BayKommun is the OZG Cloud platform already successfully established in Schleswig-Holstein. This maps the essential requirements of the “German Administration Cloud Strategy” (DVS), which includes the following key points:

  • Compatibility and interoperability of existing cloud solutions from local, state and federal governments to optimize data exchange, data storage and data use.
  • Strengthening the digital sovereignty of public administration and increasing efficiency and effectiveness in development, commissioning and operation.
  • Ensure security, transparency and confidentiality of data in the cloud.
  • Independence from foreign cloud providers and control over data.

The OZG Cloud was created from an initiative of the state of Schleswig-Holstein, the ITV.SH, the Schleswig-Holstein municipalities and the project management of the IT service provider Dataport. mgm is involved in the project as a software developer.

What does the OZG Cloud do?

The OZG cloud does not represent a separate server center with storage space for the administrations. Rather, it is a collection of scripts and technologies that enable applications to be set up and maintained in the existing data centers of the federal states. The result is a multi-cloud solution in which all connected data centers, whether those of a federal state or a municipality, can be centrally managed or supplied.

The basic prerequisite is that every data center provides virtual machines (VM) or a Kubernetes namespace. This infrastructure basis is not yet in place everywhere, but is increasingly improving nationwide. The basic technology of the OZG cloud makes it possible to copy and deploy procedures as often as desired. Everything is standardized and updates can be rolled out easily.

For quality assurance, each connected data center must have a test environment in which all imported changes are checked again. This is indispensable, because problems in individual data centers cannot be checked by the central service provider (i.e., currently the OZG cloud project). This must be automated by the test runs.

Despite the central management of the OZG Cloud, it does not contradict federalism and local self-government. On the contrary: states and municipalities decide for themselves how and to what extent they use the OZG Cloud. This is also necessary, because the existing infrastructure varies greatly from region to region. Smaller municipalities in particular often do not have the resources to fully drive forward the digitization of their administrative services.

Here, the OZG cloud offers excellent opportunities for cooperation and reuse. This is because a municipality can simply adopt the procedures that have already been successfully established in another municipality – this applies to software, user connection and transfers of processes. The source code of the OZG cloud is open source. All stakeholders – states, municipalities, and form and specialized process manufacturers – can continue to use and expand it. Municipalities with larger IT resources thus provide input for development and features, and other municipalities can benefit from the resulting applications. This is how municipal assistance to self-reliance works. In this way, the OZG Cloud helps the best solutions prevail in the existing IT infrastructure.

Consulting as a crucial component

Particularly important: hands-on consulting, especially for smaller municipalities – by taking over applications and activations, i.e. tasks that a municipality may not be able to perform purely in terms of resources.  This is more cost-effective for the municipalities than creating their own positions. A central association at the federal state level – such as ITV.SH or BayKommun – provides the consulting services. They, in turn, can hand over this consulting to external service providers.

Through the combination of connecting technology and hands-on consulting, the OZG Cloud offers an effective solution for being able to implement the digitalization of administration at the municipal level as well.

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