The Kingdom of Bhutan has opened a 2,500 square foot (232 sq m) data center at the Bhutan Innovation and Technology Centre in the Thimphu TechPark.

The facility, designed to Tier II standards, already has 22 government services running on it including civil registration and finance procurement systems. The services take up 60 percent of the current storage capacity of 50 terabytes.

Bhutan Innovation and Technology Center render
– Bhutan Innovation and Technology Center

The Thunder Dragon Kingdom comes online 

“From a technology standpoint, GDC supports mobility, provisioning on demand, scalability, virtualization and the flexibility to respond to fast-changing operational situations,” Department of IT and Telecom (DITT) project officer Nidup Gyeltshen told national paper Kuensel.

Dasho Karma Wangchuk Penjor, the information and communications ministry’s secretary, added: “With the centralization of data, we hope to achieve more efficient usage of our data and our experts, limited as they are in the ICT sector, towards achieving economies in storage, management and most importantly towards cyber security issues that have been emerging even in a small economy like ours.”

Before the opening of the data center, services were run out of individual government agency server rooms.

The Nu120 million ($1.8m) facility was funded by Bhutan’s largest trading partner, the Government of India, under its Project Tied Assistance initiative.

For the latest PTA, India has committed Rs28,000,000,000 ($430m) in assistance, funding 83 projects, including the e-Governance Program and national broadband master plan that this is a part of.

Tied aid is the controversial practice of giving financial aid that must be primarily spent on goods and services from the country giving the aid. While India has used such aid to fund numerous projects in Bhutan, including connecting the nation to India’s electric grid and building hydroelectric dams, China has used similar concessional loans elsewhere.

Nearby, but not neighboring, Nepal has benefited from Chinese soft loans, including funds to build a fiber link that ended it network dependence on India, a nation with which relations have become increasingly strained.

While Sino-Nepal relations have improved dramatically over the last few years, Bhutan does not maintain any official diplomatic relations with China. It does, however, meet annually to discuss the disputed 470 kilometer border.

China has made some moves to improve its ties with Bhutan, in 2012 meeting secretly with then Bhutanese prime minister Jigme Thinley at the Rio+20 Conference in Brazil. But India has maintained stronger links with the landlocked country, in part due to financial aid. Hydropower, in particular, is the nation’s largest energy source, and one of its most financially successful exports - with energy sold to India.