As Taiwanese players have proven strength in the IT hardware manufacturing field, they should come up with innovative services and content to ensure the nation secures a strong foothold in exporting cloud computing solutions to the world, industry analysts told the first meeting of the Taiwan Cloud Computing Consortium (TCCC) yesterday.
Taiwanese know-how in hardware manufacturing, which spans PCs and servers to handsets, offers the nation an edge when setting up cloud computing data centers, said Lee Chih-kung (李世光), executive vice president of the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院).
“This is our ‘sustaining innovation’ [that sets us apart from the competition], but cloud computing applications are what we have been lacking if we want to have ‘destructive innovation,’” he said.
Taiwanese companies and research institutions, including ITRI and the Institute for Information Industry (III, 資策會), have embarked on aggressive development of cloud computing content using open source software.
ITRI has started a project to devise an operating system to manage cloud computing data centers. If it is successful, it would save local firms from purchasing or licensing operating systems from overseas firms, such as IBM Corp or Microsoft Corp, as companies could turn to a “Made in Taiwan” operating system that is more affordable and caters to local needs, said Penny Chu (朱培秀), a project manager at ITRI.
III, meanwhile, is dedicating more attention to the development of cloud computing services and content, such as applications for use in the education sector, she added.
Teachers and students could use electronic readers to read textbooks or teaching material via the cloud, saving them the hassle of lugging books to schools — one of the many benefits of an education cloud, she said.
Inventec Co (英業達), the nation’s largest contract server maker, has injected more than NT$2 billion (US$61 million) into setting up a trial data center for TCCC members to test run their cloud computing hardware and software.
The data center can accommodate up to 576 servers and 1,200 hard drives.
“R&D [research and development] costs for servers are always substantially higher than those of handsets or PCs, but investment in the trial data center isn’t an issue for us,” Inventec chairman Richard Lee (李詩欽) said
What matters more is that when solutions are ready, Taiwan can export them to overseas markets such as China, said Lee, who doubles as TCCC’s deputy head.
TCCC was established in April and more than 50 IT and services companies have joined as they attempt to grab a share of the growing cloud computing market.
Cloud computing allows users to access or store data remotely, without storing the content locally on their own PC. The consortium aims to promote three aspects of cloud computing — infrastructure, platform and software — and it also plans to develop a platform to incorporate energy-saving technologies.
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