IBM Building 'Smarter City' Cloud In China

The center will be built with IBM's CloudBurst hardware and will be used to modernize a municipal administration and economy.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

September 25, 2009

3 Min Read

IBM announced said Thursday that it will build a cloud computing platform in the city of Dongying as a model for how local government and businesses can modernize in China. Chinese economic stimulus funds are fueling the project, which is expected to be duplicated in other cities.

The move was hailed by Li Jinkun, vice mayor of Dongying, as the first step in expanding Dongying's economy from oil production and manufacturing to technology services as well. Dongying sits at the center of a Chinese oil drilling region.

Dongying is in the Yellow River Delta, and The Yellow River Delta Cloud Computing Center will serve as a central platform for developing software that automates the petroleum production supply chain. It will be used to expand e-government services in Dongying and will serve as a technology center through which Chinese software engineers will supply outsourcing services.

The center will be built with IBM's CloudBurst hardware in October and will be up and running within 30 days of the hardware being completed, said Willy Chiu, VP of IBM Cloud Labs and high performance on-demand solutions, in an interview Friday.

CloudBurst is the name of an IBM HS22 blade appliance announced in June. It is designed to allow end users to provision VMware virtual machines, which are managed from a central location.

Chinese engineers will use Rational tooling built into the platform to build software for Sanyo and Dupont, which produce products from the petroleum sourced in the region, he said.

In a second phase of IBM's "Smarter City" proposal, the city government will use cloud software to supply government services and administer "a smart airport, smart parks, and smart railroads." Health care services will be administered through the cloud in a third phase of the project, Chiu said.

IBM builds self-provisioning into its Blue Cloud platform by installing Tivoli Services Automation, Tivoli Provisioning Manager, and Tivoli Monitoring. The HS22 blades that make up the CloudBurst hardware are based on Intel's Xeon 5500 or Nehalem chips with eight cores.

The Chinese government in Beijing "has a vision. It wants to use this technology to bring in outsourcing services business," said Chiu, an observation echoed by the vice mayor in the IBM announcement. "The Yellow River Delta Cloud Computing Center marks new opportunities for Dongying. [It] is Dongying's positive attempt to transform towards a service-oriented government and promote harmonious development between economy and ecology," said Jinkun in the announcement.

IBM is conducting several cloud computing experiments in China and expects them to yield lessons that will be applied to a cloud-as-infrastructure and cloud-as-a-platform set of products next year. It previously established a software development platform for small business in the city of Wuxi on China's coast. Thousands of small businesses are expected to use it to develop software for their own operation and to offer new services.

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About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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