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Interview with Shanghai Athub: How New Policies in China Influence the Future Development of Data Center Industry

XU Jun (徐军), Senior Vice President of Shanghai Athub Co., Ltd.


At the beginning of 2022, with the official start of construction of 8 major nodes and 10 major clusters, the "Eastern Data and Western Computing" project was officially launched. In the context of this national project, where is the direction for the development of data center industry? What new requirements do the corresponding policies of the "14th Five-Year Plan", the goals of "Eastern Data and Western Computing" and "Dual Carbon" put forward to the data center industry?


A few days ago, , in the 17th China IDC Industry with the theme of "Building a Computing Highland and Empowering Thousands of Industries" At the annual Yangtze River Delta Forum (IDCC2022 Yangtze River Delta Forum) hosted by the Organizing Committee of the China IDC Industry Annual Ceremony and undertaken by the China IDC Quan and the Yangtze River Delta Information Intelligence Innovation Research Institute, China IDC Quan interviewed XU Jun (徐军), Senior Vice President of Shanghai Dataport Co., Ltd,for the above questions.


West and East China Cooperate Together for a New Layout of Data Center Industry

Introduce the warm data and cold data "spilled" from the east to the west for computing, relieve the pressure on land, computing power and energy in the east, and make full use of the abundant renewable energy in the west to promote the economic development of the west, so as to realize the east and west coordinated development of the region. This is the core purpose of "Eastern Data and Western Computing".


In this context, many IDC service providers actively responded to the state policies and arranged data centers in an orderly and rational manner across the country, and promoted the implementation of the "Eastern Data and Western Computing" project. As a state-owned IDC enterprise controlled by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), Athub (数据港) is obliged to promote the orderly implementation of the national project. According to XU Jun (徐军), as early as 2015, Athub (数据港) has expanded its vision beyond East China and started its industrial layout across the country. At present, Athub has made achievements in several major hubs nodes of computing power in the country, including 34 data centers in operation, with a total IT load of about 366.82 megawatts (MW), which is converted into about 73,365 standard cabinets of 5 kilowatts (kW). " XU Jun (徐军) said.


The construction of Athub (数据港) has not stopped. Athub cooperated with China Unicom built China Unicom (Huailai) Big Data Innovation Industrial Park project,  is about to be put into use.


Not only that, in addition to building data centers in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao, Yangtze River Delta and other "eastern" regions to meet the low-latency requirements of many Internet companies including cloud computing for data centers, after a long period of investigation and evaluation , Athub has also built a data center in Ulanqab as early as 2018. "At this stage, many customers will pay more attention to energy efficiency and cost, so factors such as regional climate, energy efficiency, and energy cost should also be considered in the overall layout. Athub has data centers in the east and west. On the other hand, it can provide differentiated and diversified services according to the needs of different customers.” XU Jun (徐军) pointed out.


It is this targeted layout in different regions of the country that has formed a trend of echoing between the east and the west, allowing Athub (数据港) to take a leading position in the market at the beginning of the "Eastern Data and Western Computing", with revenue of 712 million yuan in the first half of 2022, a year-on-year increase of 29.53%.


Cost Reduction and Efficiency Increase


As Xu Jun said, "many customers are now paying more attention to energy efficiency and cost." Indeed, at a time when the digital transformation process of enterprises is accelerating, although the data center industry has ushered in a golden age of development, when enterprises have more and more demands for data centers and computing power, cost is a problem that cannot be ignored. How to reduce costs and increase efficiency has become one of the important means for IDC service providers to enhance their competitiveness.


One of the core purposes of "Eastern Data and West Computing" is to help enterprises reduce costs and increase efficiency, direct computing power-intensive services with low latency requirements to the western region, and only retain real-time services with high latency requirements strong business. There are still many challenges on the road to reduce costs and increase efficiency and promote the construction of the "Eastern Data and Western Computing" project.


In XU Jun's view, IDC service providers should consider several factors in the regional layout of data centers - local application prospects, local infrastructure facilities, energy availability, climate and other geographical conditions.


In terms of application, due to economic development and other reasons, the current western region is still dominated by the storage, backup, and computing of warm and cold data. "This hybrid architecture or cold data part may be more important in the west in the short term, and can be used on a large scale." The amount of products will affect the development direction of the local data center." XU Jun (徐军) said.


In terms of supporting facilities, in XU Jun's view, the current infrastructure construction conditions vary widely, and data centers have higher requirements for infrastructure, especially network infrastructure, which is one of the main reasons that restrict the development of the western region.


XU Jun (徐军) said that although factors of geographic conditions such as energy and climate are important for the development of data centers, their priority is also after application and infrastructure. It is conceivable that Athub (数据港) plans to build green data centers in Zhangbei, Ulanqab and other places to help users achieve "cost reduction and efficiency increase". .


For the future, cost reduction and efficiency increase has also become a major "pain point" that IDC service providers need to face in the process of site selection, construction, and layout of data centers.


Innovative Development


Technological innovation, as one of the important means to promote the development of the industry, under the policy of "Eastern Data and Western Computing" and "Dual Carbon", the data center industry has also ushered in another round of technological innovation.


Several policy documents including the "Three-Year Action Plan for the Development of New Data Centers (2021-2023)" released last year pointed out that new data centers should focus on four aspects: high technology, high computing power, high energy efficiency and high security for achieving high-quality development. Innovation drives development, and new technologies are increasingly used in data centers.


After a year, when talking about the impact of the "four highs" on the development of data centers, XU Jun (徐军) said that, based on the existing policies and technological development trends, high energy efficiency and high security have brought more new requirements to the data center industry, and there need to be more technology. "It turned out that more consideration was given to the way of security redundancy to meet the high security requirements of the data center, and relatively speaking, the concern on energy efficiency was not as high as today.  Now the balance between safety and energy efficiency needs to be considered. This is also a major problem facing IDC service providers today. " XU Jun pointed out, "Nowadays, the 'desire' for the attempt, application and promotion of new technologies is more urgent."


At the same time, under the requirement of high computing power, the focus of the industry has gradually shifted from the infrastructure + network level to the server and computing power level. "After high computing power was proposed, how to combine computing power with infrastructure to achieve high efficiency has become a new challenge in the current IDC industry." XU Jun (徐军) emphasized.


Under the new requirements for high technology, high computing power, high energy efficiency and high security, Athub (数据港) has its own unique industrial layout in the IDC industry. According to XU Jun (徐军), Athub (数据港) combines the new requirements of new data centers with the "Eastern Data and Western Computing", "Carbon Neutrality" and other policies, and make arrangements in advance, no matter in the aspects of data center location, design, construction, operation and maintenance, or technological innovation, new technology application and other aspects, from the perspective of the whole life cycle of the data center, closely follow the industry development trend.


Athub has also summed up its own experience in the process of expanding to other cities, carrying out the layout of "Eastern Data and Western Computing", and applying new technologies, "The transfer of the entire data center industry is closely related to the degree of digitization of the whole society, and from a medium and long-term perspective , technology will continue to iterate and innovate. An enterprise can only succeed if it keeps pace with the industry and avoids being fast and slow.” XU Jun (徐军) pointed out. It is true that this is the key to the rapid development of Athub (数据港) in recent years.

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