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Cloud Hardware IT

China Building City For Cloud Computing 142

Posted by Soulskill
from the lando-for-mayor dept.
CWmike writes "First it was China's 'big hole' sighting that brought us the supercomputing race. Now China is building a city-sized cloud computing and office complex that will include a mega data center, one of the projects fueling that country's double-digit growth in IT spending. The entire complex will cover some 6.2 million square feet, with the initial data center space accounting for approximately 646,000 square feet, says IBM, which is collaborating with a Chinese company to build it. A Sputnik moment? Patrick Thibodeau reports that these big projects, whether supercomputers or sprawling software development office parks, can garner a lot of attention. But China's overall level of IT spending, while growing rapidly, is only one-fifth that of the US."
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China Building City For Cloud Computing

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  • How convient (Score:5, Interesting)

    by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @02:12AM (#35134924) Homepage Journal
    Hey look, I can store all my data on Chinese government owned computing equipment where they can read it at will and the government can then threaten to cut me off from said data unless I pay them a bribe! I can get all this for slightly less than I'm paying now! I'd be a fool not to!
    • Re:How convient (Score:4, Interesting)

      by arivanov (12034) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @02:25AM (#35134980) Homepage

      Almost spot on.

      You forgot the regular bribe to the party official in charge of the facility so he does not sell access to your data to your competitor as well as bribes for everyone and everything under him for this same reason.

      It is quite funny when people call China communist. It is capitalism taken to the ultimate limit where anything and everything is for sale with very few of the moral restrictions which the West has inherited from the 20 centuries of its "Sunday school" upbringing.

      • You forgot the regular bribe to the party official

        It's not a bribe. Consider it a "facilitation fee." My father worked for a company that was looking to win a big contract in Southeast Asia. It is illegal for US companies to pay bribes abroad. So they hired a local "consultant" to help them win the contract. He got paid $1 million for his "services." What he did with the money, was his business. The company won the contract. How much of the money stayed in the "consultant's" pocket, and how much landed in the pockets of other folks, nobody wanted t

        • It is illegal for US companies to pay bribes abroad.

          I wasn't aware that it was O.K. for US companies to be involved in bribery locally.

          • by coolmadsi (823103)

            It is illegal for US companies to pay bribes abroad.

            I wasn't aware that it was O.K. for US companies to be involved in bribery locally.

            I thought that was called a "campaign contribution" in the USA (or at least thats the gist I get from reading this site).

      • Yes, how fortunate we are to have churchy people to show us how to behave....~

        • by arivanov (12034)

          Do you like churchy people or not is irrelevant.

          The morals and the law code of western society is distinctly Christian till this day (with some medieval legal code thrown into the mix). A lot of dos and don'ts in Western culture originate from Christian religion and societies which have developed in a different religious context have a very different set of dos and don'ts. We may find some of their dos and don'ts abhorent, others disgusting. They do not. Similarly they do not understand some of our obsessio

    • someone will make a retarded joke about data owning you or something ...

      in 3

      2

      1

    • Or a Dubai Tower moment?

      • Seriously.

        "Q: How can you tell when it is a real Sputnik moment?
        A: Because everyone knows it without being told"

        China building a datacenter is not really that exciting. They have a lot of net users, I would expect them to need a lot of infrastructure. What's next, 'China has more miles of paved roads than the US, it is a Sputnik moment for the paving industry.' I doubt it.
    • Re:How convient (Score:5, Insightful)

      by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@@@project-retrograde...com> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @03:14AM (#35135180)

      Hey look, I can store all my data on Chinese government owned computing equipment where they can read it at will and...

      ...my encrypted data still won't make a lick of sense to anyone but me!
      "I'd be a fool not to" use encryption.

      • Except for the fact that they still own the physical hardware, a lot of papers have been published that pretty much state that it's actually not very difficult to get the encryption keys to a running system if you have control of the hardware. So yeah, encryption isn't nearly as useful in this situation as you would think.
        • by Lazareth (1756336)

          Depends really on how you're handling the encryption. If the encrypted data at all times is stored in an encrypted state on site and a remote computer only ever requests encrypted parts of the data, only decrypting and handling it locally, it suddenly becomes a whole lot harder for the owner of the datacenter to fuck you over.

          Sure, if you're just doing a l33t SSH tunnel to a linux based remote system, log into and decrypt your protected home folder, then you're pretty much decrypting it for those who has ac

          • by WATist (902972)
            Of course this this would negate allot of or more than the advantages because of higher bandwidth usages and decryption and encryption times and hardware usage.
        • by Dunbal (464142) *
          Not if he encrypts the data before sending it to them. Then they don't have the key. They just have a random series of bytes.
          • by slim (1652)

            Not if he encrypts the data before sending it to them. Then they don't have the key. They just have a random series of bytes.

            The argument goes, they have the "random" series of bytes right there, where they can do all the cryptanalysis and brute-forcing they like.

            This as opposed to having it somewhere you can physically secure yourself, behind mechanisms that detect suspicious access patterns.

            • by Dunbal (464142) *
              If you encrypted properly with, say, a one time pad, then no amount of brute forcing will ever help them. It cannot be broken. Of course you would have to keep your several megabyte/gigabyte key somewhere safe if you every want to see your data again.
      • Funny, and you think the Chinese government will let you use any encryption you like. Sorry, but only dissidents use strong encryption...
    • by xnpu (963139)

      Until Goldman Sachs takes over the Chinese government like it has the US government, yes, stuff will be owned by the Chinese government directly. What's your point?

    • by andre1s (1688402)
      Y this is So different from US were service providers will not provide access to my data without warrant (oh wait they will) :)
    • Why do you think that this new cloud system has anything to do with you, or that they would try to appeal to you? Chinese networks and Chinese websites rarely have English equivalents, or attempt to provide them. It seems a bit self-centered and presumptuous to think that this "cloud" is an overblown trap aimed squarely at you. We don't even know if its services will be open to the Chinese public, much less foreigners.
    • by erroneus (253617)

      Unfortunately, that is EXACTLY how some business people will see it.

      For me, it would be a matter of trust. Today's business people do not care about that -- just the short-term bottom line. We will need to see more egregious acts by the Chinese government before anyone will sit up and take notice. And I predict there will be and the victims will be the customers of the business that trusts China with too much data. The decision makers will get away with it as they always have until there is a law which

    • Anyone entertaining cloud computing without having some way of doing end-to-end encryption AND having a way to guarantee you have physical control over your backups is putting a huge amount of trust in their provider, regardless of who it is.

    • by LS (57954)

      Hey look, I can store all my data on Chinese government owned computing equipment where they can read it at will and the government can then threaten to cut me off from said data unless I pay them a bribe! I can get all this for slightly less than I'm paying now! I'd be a fool not to!

      Do you seriously think that other data centers in China are not directly accessible by the government?

    • by jandersen (462034)

      Hey look, I can store all my data on Chinese government owned computing equipment where they can read it at will and the government can then threaten to cut me off from said data unless I pay them a bribe! I can get all this for slightly less than I'm paying now! I'd be a fool not to!

      Did anybody say it will be available for foreigners at all?

      Apart from that, why would a Chinese business be more or less likely than, say, an American business to look into your data? Or do as you suggest: blackmail you? If they make this available to people outside China, it will be because they want to make business, and you can't run a business that way.

      And why would they want to look at anybody's data? I mean, would anybody seriously consider putting highly sensitive business secrets out in a cloud?

      Bein

  • by dmomo (256005) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @02:35AM (#35135016) Homepage

    Who needs one when you can build a City-sized DOS cannon.

    • Or take out the entire "cloud" (condensed maybe?) by just taking out this one city. I thought the cloud was supposed to be diffuse, not centralized.
      • In today's world of curated computing, "cloud" computing is centralized, and empowers the vendor instead of you.

  • 1/5 of spending? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @02:36AM (#35135024) Journal

    Who cares about the absolute figure, anyway, it's the bang for the buck that's important. Soviet space program was cheaper than US one as well.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Who cares about the absolute figure, anyway, it's the bang for the buck that's important. Soviet space program was cheaper than US one as well.

      That's right. Not the cost is important, but the profit.

    • It might be "only one-fifth that of the US" right now but I would imagine that is going to grow pretty quickly as China develops.

      Investment for the future and all that...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Plus the cost of programmers in China is way cheaper than in US and that is part of the overall IT spending.

    • by arisvega (1414195)

      it's the bang for the buck that's important. Soviet space program was cheaper than US one as well.

      Very good point- I'm pretty sure that this "one fifth" buys a whole lot more that fivefold in China that it does in the US of A

  • Awesome (Score:3, Funny)

    by ZirconCode (1477363) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @02:39AM (#35135038)
    And in two years it will be just as obsolete as square feet.
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      And in two years it will be just as obsolete as square feet.

      Does it mean "never"?

  • ... at Cloud City.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Oblig. to try and see if they will agree to call it Bespin.

    • No, they will call it Stratos. It predates Bespin, and it's residents are clearly outnumbered by the billions of Troglytes doing all the real work.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @03:13AM (#35135174)

    Software is more important than hardware today. The whole cloud computing movement shows that in many cases hardware is just a cheap commodity. This datacenter is some politicians building themselves a monument and pretending to be ahead or at least on the same level with the west. This is just a lot of hot air, but otherwise quite irrelevant. Building a large datacenter is pretty easy, once you have the cash, and does not show any level of technological sophistication.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Your post shows perfectly why iPhone app developers shouldn't be consulted with for advice on commercial infrastructure.

      • by gweihir (88907)

        Are you suggesting I am an iPhone app developer? You are pretty far from the truth. In fact my interest in the hype that is the iPhone is exactly zero.

        You are right however that what they are building is commercial infrastructure. In fact it is generic commercial infrastructure and as such not impressive at all.

        • by Clsid (564627)
          So if somebody builds thousands of miles of highways it's not impressive either, since it's just infrastructure? The Chinese have done exactly that and for a fraction of the cost here in the US. Dude, wake up, building facilities like this allows a myriad of services available for business, government, etc. Judging by your comment about the iPhone, you seem to be either a smartass or in total disconnect of reality. An iPhone represents smartphones as whole and that along cloud computing, is driving most of
          • by gweihir (88907)

            You mistake my statement. It is not impressive as an advanced technological feat. It is impressive as a business achievement. What is wrong in the evaluation of this data-center in the press, is that it is interpreted as a sign the builders are at the forefront of technology. It does not signify that at all.

            The iPhone is a nice gadget, with almost zero technological value. In fact the current generation is not even a good phone. Its main selling-point is design, not engineering, although Apple tries hard to

    • Software is more important than hardware today. The whole cloud computing movement shows that in many cases hardware is just a cheap commodity. This datacenter is some politicians building themselves a monument and pretending to be ahead or at least on the same level with the west. This is just a lot of hot air, but otherwise quite irrelevant. Building a large datacenter is pretty easy, once you have the cash, and does not show any level of technological sophistication.

      You have ah, interesting, definitions of 'cheap' and 'easy'. Are you, by some chance, in management?

      • by gweihir (88907)

        I am a PhD-Level engineer. And, yes, I know what I am talking about.

        This is a political stunt. It is expensive, but easy to do, which is why the Chinese are doing it. They currently have a lot of money, but money does not come with sophistication. Having a large data-center is nothing special today and does not show that you are on the forefront of any technology.

        • by Clsid (564627)
          This is the reason why most people won't hire PhD's for engineering jobs. They have spent way too much time in academia to understand the market. Step down from that position you put yourself into and understand that cloud computing is not about the hardware per se, but the software that can be build on top of it. We are witnessing the promise of a Beowulf cluster and you say that building the largest facility in the planet is irrelevant?
          • by gweihir (88907)

            I stand by my statement. Incidentally your Ad Hominem argument (attacking my qualification instead of my statement, as sign of a weak mind) goes completely amiss. Engineering PhDs are highly sought after for evaluation, architectural and design work. Hiring a non-engineering PhD for engineering work is a mistake, though.

            Incidentally, nobody that follows the technology calls them Beowulf clusters anymore, as that tool-set is way outdated and only rarely seen in practice today.

  • by ikejam (821818) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @03:21AM (#35135214)
    One fifth of the US IT spending may buy a lot more in China.... both in labour and in material...
    • One fifth of the US IT spending may buy a lot more in China.... both in labour and in material...

      Agreed, but the problem with that argument is that an hour later you're hungry for ... and you wind spending ... ah, nevermind.

  • Looks like a massive project. But the question is... is it going to benefit us at all...
  • But China's overall level of IT spending, while growing rapidly, is only one-fifth that of the US.

    How much does the US spend on software (Which the chinese will get for free) and labour (which is much cheaper in china)?
    Spending is not an absolute guide, the chinese have significantly lower costs in some areas than the US does.

    • by Noughmad (1044096)

      How much does the US spend on software (Which the chinese will get for free)

      Now, if only there was such a thing as free software in America.

  • by jpapon (1877296) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @03:57AM (#35135360) Journal
    My buddy is a commercial real estate agent in the Palo Alto/Menlo Park/Sunnyvale (so, Silicon Valley) area, and let me tell you, there's ALOT more than 6 million square feet of office space available to rent. The number may sound impressive, but it's nothing compared to what they have in Northern California alone. I mean, the Oracle campus in Redwood City is over 4 million square feet all by itself.

    Of course, it's not about the space, but what you do with it...

  • "The term “cloud computing” is a marketing buzzword with no clear meaning. It is used for a range of different activities whose only common characteristic is that they use the Internet for something beyond transmitting files. Thus, the term is a nexus of confusion. If you base your thinking on it, your thinking will be vague.

    When thinking about or responding to a statement someone else has made using this term, the first step is to clarify the topic. Which kind of activity is the statement reall

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Let me get this right, we're panicking that China might be taking over us technologically because they're planning to build a humongous data-center using...chips from American companies like IBM, Intel, AMD and Nvidia. Despite being multinational companies, these companies are all headquartered in the US, with a substantial portion of their staff (especially the execs and higher-skilled ones) based in the US.

    A Sputnik moment would be if China build a world-class data-center using its own chips, designed and

  • This is going to be even better than when Nigeria got internet connectivity. I can't wait for even fasters ways of getting Google Translate'd business proposals.

  • The data-alien is touching down all over the planet! Oh what fun! Data and computation and evolutionary principles grow into conscious-like clouds of swirling people posts and product purchases. There really are no countries anymore; just money looking for fine places to grow. Who would have thought that money has a mind of its own? Luckily we humans need our money plants and the data-alien just like we need our laws and list of friends. Oh the poetry of our modern times. There is no east versus west, only
  • IBM just complaining that China was over taking the US in the computer arms race and that the US would be behind when something is not done right away.
    I guess, by something needs to be done, they meant that they should build a giant Chinese data center to dwarf anything else in the world. USA! USA! USA!

    I have no doubt that IBM's rationale was, hey, if we don't do it, another company will. We may as well get the cash.
    Of course, China walks away with the unearned know-how.

    • It would appear that IBM's actual message was "The US would fall behind if a large contract with IBM were not signed right away"...

      It's not as though multinational corporations deliver press release warnings out of patriotic sentiment and an undying love of their natal land; but purely as a tactical or strategic measure for advancing their interests.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    In my RSS feed, my eyes read "China Building Cloud City." What a let down.

    • by ddd0004 (1984672)
      Yeah, that was the original plan, but Billy Dee Williams was busy with a Colt 45 commercial so they went with plan B
  • Would not these huge data centers get obsolete if hard disks grow in capacity and processors in power 1000 times once again?

    I mean couldn't the whole data-center then be placed on one server? Imagine a hard disk of 1000 TB and in addition - solid state, no energy for spinning.

    Employees certainly could use all the space for fancy offices and the real data center would be somewhere in a corner.

    • All of Bletchley Park was less than a thousandth as powerful as the PDA I had 7 years ago (and certainly the one I have now), yet you couldn't host Facebook, or Amazon, or Slashdot, or run a modern climate simulation on any PDA. Can you see why there will always be data centers?

      • by Max_W (812974)

        I still remember how I had to change lamps in the computer. I can quite well see how a device of a PDA size with a new generation 3d processor and SSHD inside can comprise a data center.

        • You totally missed the point, by that time we'll need more space, more processing power and more bandwidth. Same reason that from WW2 to today we've always needed data centers. Unless software suddenly stagnates that's not going to happen.

          • by Max_W (812974)

            My point was that a growing demand for computing power can be saturated completely. Say, a PDA size device with an optical cable connection can cover the whole demand for computing of the planet for decades to come.

            Software can also be a part of it. For example, when a human see a photo of another human, the brain can compute in a fraction of a second if this face is known or not. It is obvious that some sort of an undiscovered yet parallel computing is going on.

    • by fishbowl (7759)

      I/O is a much bigger problem than processor power or storage.

    • I believe 1000 TB is 1 Petabyte, and 1000 Petabytes is 1 Exabyte. With solid state hard drives emerging, the Exabyte data drive could be very useful for day to day processing while I eek out a living selling Hot Dogs on a corner.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe they spend one-fifth because they aren't paying Microsoft the other four-fifths?

  • I thought that the whole point of "cloud" was to (within the limitations of bandwidth and latency) abstract away the details of location and configuration of the server iron so that the specialist datacenter guys could do their thing as efficiently as possible, and everybody else could be served up idealized abstractions corresponding to their requirements, whether that be idealized VMs that migrate around ugly physical hardware failures, or idealized email hosts that don't involve looking at the dirty deta
    • Exactly. I'm surprised this hasn't been modded up. Building a city to host a cloud entirely misses the point - especially the resilient and decentralised parts of the point.

      • by bjk002 (757977)

        They want the biggest cloud in the sky. That's all. Feel free to float about on your mini-clouds hoping it does not rain.

  • Although it was inferred in another post (and I didn't look through the hidden ones), am I really the first person to ask if they are going to call this new cloud city "Bespin"?
  • double-digit growth

    What is that supposed to mean? You are talking like an economist! Firstly, you're making something of a dimensionality error by not specifying the time during which this growth is taking place. Secondly, you are not specifying the base in which this growth rate becomes "double-digit". Furthermore, even if the reader can guess your choice of base correctly, it conveys a rather arbitrary piece of information about the growth rate of China. I expect better from a technically-minded person. If it was actually c

  • Is China not a place that like...has a lot of earthquakes, or not?
    I thought there was enough earthquakes to not build with too heavy materials or avoid too many sky scrapers....or maybe it was
    just lack of money to do so, until government stepped up....any input would be welcomed.

    • by fishbowl (7759)

      >Is China not a place that like...has a lot of earthquakes, or not?

      China is a very big place. Some parts of it are more geologically stable than others.
      The US has a lot of earthquakes but North Dakota doesn't.

    • by MtViewGuy (197597)

      It's more than a disaster issue: if that city is where a larger part of the cloud computing services are located, it would be a VERY inviting target for a first strike by a single nuclear warhead if general war breaks out between China and the USA. Don't be surprised that the Chinese military puts in a lot of defensive missile positions using the licensed version of the Russian S-300PMU-1 missile so it could even defend this complex even against ICBM attack.

      • It's more than a disaster issue: if that city is where a larger part of the cloud computing services are located, it would be a VERY inviting target for a first strike by a single nuclear warhead if general war breaks out between China and the USA. Don't be surprised that the Chinese military puts in a lot of defensive missile positions using the licensed version of the Russian S-300PMU-1 missile so it could even defend this complex even against ICBM attack.

        Why bother with an expensive missile and nuke warhead? USB drives are cheap. Just sprinkle them around the parking lot. Use Chinese USB drives for the ironic win. Less mess to clean up later.

  • by jbarr (2233) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @09:05AM (#35137006) Homepage

    Obviously off-topic, but interesting and wonderful fodder for the tin-foil hat crowd

    It appears that China has built several cities meant to house millions of people, yet they remain completely empty:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1339536/Ghost-towns-China-Satellite-images-cities-lying-completely-deserted.html [dailymail.co.uk]
    http://www.libertynewsonline.com/article_340_30137.php [libertynewsonline.com]

  • The current political atmosphere in America is so virulently anti-intellectual that of the relatively small proportion of the population that can even understand the original article, most of them will just scoff at the Chinese and their "pointy-headed academics", step on the gas in their SUVs, and go back to plotting against foodstamp recipients. There are no "Sputnik moments" for a country where the majority of the population actively rejects the foundations of both the physical and biological sciences be

  • Okay, let's say that I am enemy of organization X which host everything in that big-fat-oversized datacenter, just do something really stupid like [set/fly/throw] a [bomb/explosive/ddos/plane] [in/on/into/over] the datacenter and everything is gone... What? I hear someone yelling "DR and backups"? Nah!! the bad publicity will make the rest. The thing is that as bigger the datacenter is, the complex to manage will be and could be easy target because it is OVERSIZED.

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