China readies cloud computing city -

China is employing IBM to help it build a city-sized cloud computing centre based in the Hebei Province, which is expected to be opened by 2016.

The complex will be comparable in size to the Pentagon, but will have multiple buildings spread out over four blocks, similar to traditional business parks. It will span 6.2 million square feet, with the primary data centre accounting for 646,000 square feet.

IBM will be supplying its data design services, while Range Technology Development will also be working on the project. They will initially build seven low-slung data centres, spanning up to one million square feet, with room for three additional units on either side.

There are also reports that it might include a residential area, most likely for the staff working at the nearby data centres.

Despite such large-scale projects, China's IT budget is five times lower than the US', but it is growing at a significantly higher pace according to IDC. China's full year growth for 2011 is expected to come in at $112 billion, up 15.6 percent, while the US is expected to bring in $564 billion, up only 5.9 percent.

While China's reliance on cloud computing and data centres isn't particularly high at the moment, if it continues its current growth it will need the services offered by the Hebei complex and other data centres over the next six years.

Below is a Google Maps satellite image of Hebei, while beneath it is an artist's rendition of the new complex, courtesy of IBM.

Hebei

Hebei 2