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China is a promising cloud market, growing at 50 percent a year, according to the Research Center of Zero2IPO Group, and estimated to reach 13.669bn CNY by the end of 2015. That is creating opportunities for different kinds of company.

Apart from the three state-owned telecommunication players - China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom - large internet service providers such as Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba, and third party service providers like GDS and 21 Vianet, China’s cloud market is now having a new entrant from a totally different background.

Raycom Real Estate, a property developer with both commercial and residential sites, is now building a large cloud data center in Northeast China.

Science Park gets 50,000 server space
Located in the National Hi-tech Industry Development Zone of Daqing in Helongjiang Province, the Daqing Lenovo Science Park Cloud Data Center covers an area of about 6.8 acres and will have a floor space of 30,000 sq m. It will be built in two phases and up to 50,000 servers will be brought online upon full completion.

The cloud facility is part of Raycom Real Estate’s Daqing Lenovo Science Park. The Park, built with a planned investment of 11.45bn CNY, focuses on developing centers for cloud computing, internet of things, and mobile internet centers, as well as incubators for start-ups.

The cloud data center will mainly provide cloud hosting services to large public cloud providers, large internet companies, financial companies, government bodies, among others.

Raycom said Phase 1 is expected to be online by the end of this year, and is now busy with attracting clients.

“Currently, we have signed cooperation agreements with Daqing Municipal Government and the governments of various districts. We have also reached consensus for cooperation with several telecommunication operators, and are now negotiating with several large internet players in China,” said Bin Ni, the CEO of Raycom.

Cloud rolls into Daqing HelingjangWhy Cloud?
It may seem strange for a real estate developer to enter the cloud market, a high-tech sector which requires technology-intensive input, but Raycom is a wholly owned subsidiary of Legend Holdings Corporation, which cultivated industry leaders including Lenovo and service provider Digital China, and cleary has an IT heritage.

As early as 1994, the predecessor of Raycom Real Estate - Lenovo Industrial Entity - constructed the Dayawan Campus for the Lenovo Science Park.

“We have attracted many world-class IT companies to our office buildings. Data centers, as the convergence point of both the real estate and the IT industry, will be our further offerings for IT companies. At present, we are developing properties for the IT industry in both Daqing and Kunming, and plans to develop more across the country in the future,” Bin told Datacenter Dynamics.

China’s cloud market seems to be heated by the rollout of large cloud projects one after another by telcos, large internet companies and even some real estate developers. However, Bin believed such projects are driven by market demand and not an investment bubble.

“When the cloud concept first appeared, there was some speculation, as some companies may buy land of large size for building cloud data centers, which may result in supply exceeding demand for a short time. However, from a long-term perspective, with the rapid development of the mobile internet, progress of the whole IT industry, and the increasing maturity of the market, data center construction will still lag behind the development of the IT industry,” he added.

Bin said for the Daqing cloud data center, Raycom Real Estate will firstly accommodate current market demand, and plan future capacity expansion in accordance with the development of the cloud industry. “We aim to provide better cost/performance ratio to our users without compromising reliability, by taking advantage of our strength as an infrastructure constructor.”

Build reliably
At the concept design stage, the cloud data center involves AlfaTech, the US-based design company focusing on sustainable development, and S.Y.C, an engineering and construction company under China Electronics Engineering Design Institute helped to prepare for the construction drawings. “The two leading design companies from both home and abroad will ensure the data center is constructed in an energy efficient and reliable manner,” he said.

It is a three-floor independent purpose-built facility with a floor height of more than 5 meters. The main data center is enveloped by enclosed walls which serve as a building shell. It is designed to resist earthquakes of magnitude 8, and adopts a modular design concept which allows flexible expansion and customization.

In terms of connectivity, it has access to networks of major telecommunication players including China Unicom, China Mobile and China Telecom. “For long-distance and low-latency connectivity requirement, we, apart from cooperating with both traditional and emerging telecommunication operators, will take advantage of new transmission technologies to overcome transmission issues between Daqing (non-backbone node) and Harbin (backbone node).”

The facility is also connected with three independent power systems, which include two independent power grid systems and one set of diesel generators for backup. “The site is located in the downtown area, and is a key project at both the Provincial and Municipal level. Therefore, it can get adequate support for power,” Bin told us.

The data center boasts an advantage in energy efficiency as it can make use of free cooling most of the year. Located in Daqing, a city with an annual average temperature of 4.2Ôäâ and having more than 350 days of good quality atmosphere, the facility can be cooled wholly by outside air for up to 5,000 hours throughout the year, according to Bin.

Apart from using water-side economizers and special outdoor cooling equipment, the facility is deployed with energy efficient power supply and distribution systems, and energy-saving LED lighting system. It combines data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software and a building automation system for managing the whole site.

“The application of such technologies and offerings will help us to enhance the energy efficiency and reliability of the facility while reducing operation and maintenance complexity and cost. According to our calculation, we can ensure a PUE below 1.35 for the data center,” he said.