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China developing mega data center for cloud computing

By Max Burkhalter
February 8, 2011
According to several recent reports, China has been developing a cloud computing and office complex the size of an entire city. The complex will also house a "mega" data center.

The office will cover nearly 6.2 million square feet, while the data center will account for approximately 646,000 square feet. By comparison, the center will be roughly the same size as the Pentagon, though this complex will span several buildings and will possibly include residents. IBM has been collaborating with a Chinese company to build the massive center. Reportedly, China will use IBM's data design services, among others, in the new building.

The mega complex is one of the country's many projects that is fueling its double-digit growth in IT spending during 2011. Currently, China's budget for IT spending is only one-fifth that of the United States. According to global market intelligence firm IDC, China's IT spending will total nearly $112 billion in 2011, a 15.6 percent increase from the $97 billion spent in 2010. By comparison, IDC anticipates the U.S. will spend nearly $564 billion during 2011, a 5.9 increase from 2010.

According to Dale Sartor, an engineer at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, China's IT industry isn't large because of the constant reliance on vendors to design and create data centers. However, Sartor anticipates an acceleration in such data center development soon, with many large centers focused on cloud computing coming to fruition.

"I got a sense that the cloud is going to be huge in China for both efficiency reasons as well as the ability to control," said Sartor. "If everything was cloud computing and the government owns it, it's much easier to keep your finger on the internet and other issues than [by using] a very distributed model."

IBM estimates the country's IT growth will continue to see marked improvements. In fact, the country was up 25 percent in 2010 over the previous year's results.

Completion of the massive data center is expected around 2016. When the center opens, it will be most likely be among the world's biggest. Currently, the largest center is a 1.1-million-square-foot center in Chicago.

In related news, Portugal recently announced it is building its own massive data center, which will immediately become one of the largest in Europe. Spanning more than 45,000 square meters, the two-level space will hold more than 50,000 servers, mainly focused on storage capabilities.


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