Park super server
Updated: 2012-08-31 08:45
By Lin Jing, Su Zhou and Li Xiang (China Daily)
The cloud-computing park in Tianjin's Binhai New Area is aimed at helping emerging industries upgrade. Provided to China Daily
By setting up a cloud-computing park backed by its resident supercomputer, Tianjin aims to upgrade its industrial structure and bring in new business
While many regions in China are competing to develop the cloud-computing industry, Tianjin's Binhai New Area seems to have seized the initiative by setting up a cloud-computing park. The National Supercomputer Center - which currently houses the Tianhe-1A, the world's fifth-fastest computing device - is also located in the park.
"Other areas may regard cloud computing as an industry, but we view it as a tool that helps promote other industries," says Li Tao, director of cloud-computing industry promotion with the Tianjin TEDA Science & Technology Development Group Co. The TEDA Group is in charge of the park's management.
"By setting up the cloud-computing park, we are looking for a new growth engine for the Binhai New Area in the coming five to 10 years," Li adds. "It will help upgrade the industrial structure and support more emerging industries."
Founded in May 2009, the park is spread over an area of 890,000 square meters. The initial investment on basic infrastructure was more than 700 million yuan ($110 million, 88 million euros). The park's basic construction phase has been completed, and cooperation agreements with 42 companies have been signed. The second phase will be completed in September.
"The first objective of the park is to enhance the efficiency of government services," Li says. "We expect that more than 90 percent of e-government services will be based on the cloud-computing concept."
It also aims to provide cloud-computing solutions for local enterprises, more than 50 percent of which are eager for industrial upgrades. As for personal users, some 70 percent are seeking such solutions.
"For startups, they do not have to purchase their own servers and IT infrastructure," Li says. "Cloud computing can also help cut costs."
The park has attracted many companies, including one of the leading players in cloud computing, Hewlett-Packard Co.
HP opened its first HP Cloud Executive Briefing Center in Tianjin in June last year to provide customers in China and the region with hands-on experience in building, enabling and operating HP-led cloud environments.
Huang Qiang, general manager of cloud-solutions sales with HP China, says that Tianjin is among the most competitive cities in China, and the Binhai New Area is becoming a national hub for innovation and industrial development.
"HP has maintained a presence in Tianjin since 2010 and considers its vibrant economy, skilled workforce, and strategic location to be reasons for further investment," Huang says.
Beijing is also building its own cloud-computing center. According to a KPMG report on the sector, Beijing has received a $75 million investment from the local government and China Broadband Capital to create a complete industrial chain.
The cloud-computing park in Binhai has also established connections with many foreign institutions and local companies to bring new business to this region.
For example, in April the National Supercomputer Center signed an memorandum of understanding with Germany's Juelich Research Center, one of the largest interdisciplinary research centers in Europe.
In July last year, 39 companies in Beijing and Tianjin, including HP and Tencent, formed a cloud-computing industry alliance that aims to promote more business opportunities by combining their resources.
Liu Guangming, director of the NSCC, says that the Tianhe supercomputer plays an important role in terms of helping Binhai to develop the cloud-computing industry.
"The center helps attract similar industries in this area. Its aim is to increase the innovation level of the whole country," says Liu.
The NSCC features more than 300 major clients, including local enterprises and public institutions in China and abroad, as well as some local governments.
In March, the center launched a joint bioinformatics and computing laboratory with BGI, the large genetic-research group based in Shenzhen, to promote interdisciplinary cooperation in the fields of supercomputing and biological science.
Liu says that the collaboration aims to predict possible diseases for each individual by examining their DNA.
"We will try to lower the cost to less than $1,000 within two years. If these services are ready to be put into market, the number of users will grow by tens of thousands."
He says that in the future, the center will develop more industrialized applications and platforms for bio-agriculture, new medicine and healthcare.
There are also opportunities for other industries. Tianjin Primecloud Technology Co Ltd, a company controlled by Beijing-based cloud-computing service provider Primemobi, is using the technology to develop digital publishing.
"Digital publishing is now the core business for us, as there are actual market demand for such services as digital production and video rendering," says Wang Tao, the general manager of Primecloud Technology.
Established in 2008 with fewer than 20 employees, Primemobi has more than 200 staff and recorded revenue of more than 100 million yuan in 2011.
Wang says that cloud computing can integrate the entire publishing-industry chain, from content production and publishing to distribution. The company also provides editing tools and data-processing tools and solutions from SaaS platforms.
SaaS (software as a service) means that software and data are hosted in the remote server and delivered on users' demand. In the future, there will be a cloud-computing platform for copyright exchange.
Besides the mobility and convenient access, the major advantage of cloud computing is that it reduces the time and capital spent in animation rendering, server purchases and maintenance, Wang says.
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(China Daily 08/31/2012 page11)