Hubei Provincial Department of Water Resources was eager to use such innovative thoughts and technologies as Cloud Computing and Big Data to accelerate the reform of water conservancy, and to drive a shift ofHubei Province from a big province of water resources to a powerful one. Therefore, it renovated its data center architecture, migrated its business system to a cloud platform constructed by Tiansuo TS850 and Yunhai OS3.0, and thus smoothly solved the problems concerning business resiliency, usability, operations management and cost.
Hubei Province is a big province of water resources in China, which is located at middle reaches of the Yangtze River. Surrounded by mountains, lying low in the middle, having numerous lakes and rivers and falling into the plum rain belt, it often has continuous torrential rains when the plum-rain season comes and thus has flash floods. The flooding from outside and the heavy rainfall from inside lead to the rise of river level in the lake area, and cause the flooding and water logging. Partial flooding happens almost every year, and mass flooding also happens several times in recent 40 years.
Disaster prevention and mitigation is one of the important functions of Hubei Provincial Department of Water Resources. Director Luo, head of information division in information center of Hubei Provincial Department of Water Resources, said, once predicting the happening of disasters, Hubei Provincial Department of Water Resources should get water regime information in no time, analyze it accordingly, forecast the emergencies and direct flood control and drought relief work. Floods are concerned with precipitation as well as many factors such as geology and river capacity. A scientific prediction requires modern information technology to automatically collect data and forecast. What’s more, Hubei Provincial Department of Water Resources is responsible not only for predicting floods and droughts but also for solving the problems of water supply. Now, it bears an increasing responsibility for public service. Those mentioned above all call for a higher demand for information technology capabilities.
Obviously, Hubei Provincial Department of Water Resources needs an information system to play well its role of “warning light” of disasters. This system consists of hardware and software levels, and recently, problems left over in the hardware level have brought challenges.
“Warning light” Platform Needs Urgent Renovation
To meet the strict needs of data collection efficiency, data standardization and data security, the basic IT architecture is undoubtedly of great significance. Like many traditional companies, the former system of the department adopted the traditional application deployment methods: one application is deployed on one or 2 servers and there are many physical servers and their according disk arrays in the data center.
The advantage of this method is that the architecture is simple, and the servers correspond with the practical applications. But with the increasing number of operation businesses and servers, along with the subsequent requirements of backups and disaster recovery, the data center is now facing many problems.
First, hardware costs are too high. Considering its security, each application system needs 2 servers as hot standby, and also needs shared storage. The increase of application systems will bring about more procurement costs. Meanwhile, this sets a higher demand on the storage, expansibility and security. What’s more, the increase of application systems and servers lead to the increase of costs concerning data center space, equipment cabinets, cables, power consumption, air conditioning and labors.
Second, in terms of usability, computing and story system run independently and are isolated from each other. So their computing power and storage space cannot be fully utilized. When it comes to system maintenance, upgrading, and expansion, we often need to shut down the system, which causes application interruption.
Luo said that the inconvenience of management and the lack of business resiliency are the biggest problem. Now the department business is quickly developing, which brings about many new systems. According to the present procedure, from planning, procurement to the arrival of equipment, OS installation and application deployment, it takes weeks even months to deploy servers and applications. With the development of new businesses, server data will increase and thus cause the inconvenience of management.
Cloud Computing and Data Center Constructed by Tiansuo TS850 and Yunhai OS3.0
In Luo’s opinion, a fundamental renovation for the basic architecture is needed. The key for the department to play its role lies in data. He held that information is of great significance, so information should first be collected as the basis of decision and then be analyzed so as to yield results. In this sense, the major task of information center is to offer the accurate information, the accomplishment of which requires a highly flexible and reliable platform.
“We are responsible for disaster warning in the whole Hubei Province. Take torrent disasters for example. We need to give early warnings as to how much precipitation will cause disasters like debris flow or barrier lake, and release timely the information to the possible affected people.” Luo added.
Due to the new situation, the department also hopes to use such innovative thoughts and technologies as Cloud Computing and Big Data to accelerate the reform of water conservancy, and to drive a shift of Hubei Province from a big province of water resources to a powerful one.
In terms of procedure, the department has long focused on how to timely collect disaster warning information and quickly release it to the government and people. Luo told the reporters that the department now can finish the data collection in 30 minutes.
In view of the decentralized and isolated design of traditional physical data center, Hubei Provincial Department of Water Resources is now attempting to integrate the data center. Last December, the information center of the department purchased Inspur TS850 8-way servers to establish its cloud platform of data center.
At present, the cloud computing platform is still under test, and Luo is on the whole satisfied with the results.
“We are now trying some cloud computing. We use virtualization technologies to produce application and service. This is mainly tested on the intranet sites because the frequency of those applications is low and we can control the risks even when problems occur.” Luo said. Based on the 2 TS850, the department has successfully debugged virtualization software and has got it online. Now the platform is under internal application tests.
The platform is still on its beginning stage and the department has not officially put it into commercial application. Luo held that the tests will last a whole year, including the four seasons and end till the next year. “For now, it is just used inside the department. Public use sets a higher demand for security and stability. So we need time to test its stability. Only After confirming everything is OK will we put it online.” Luo added.
The First to Eat Crabs, Domestic Crabs
It is worth mentioning that Hubei Provincial Department of Water Resources is the first public utility to eat crabs in terms of cloud computing. Though it is still under tests, the benefits cloud computing has brought to the department are rather obvious. Luo held that the major advantage is its fast installation speed and easy maintenance. Using virtualization technologies has greatly reduced computer lab management cost and operation cost, improved the utilizing ratio of hardware resources, solved the bottleneck problems of hardware brought by high concurrency of water conservancy business system, and offered good experience to the cloud data center.
Next, the information center will gradually migrate applications to the cloud platform, and further expand cloud computing resource pools in future plans so as to guarantee the support and application of business system with high performance.
More Willing to Use Domestic Products
As more and more enterprise and public institutions have realized the importance of security and controllability, homemade systems have been widely accepted and recognized by numerous industries.
When talking about the application of homemade systems, Luo held that if the products are good enough, he will undoubtedly use and support them. Besides, he also called on them to value proprietary intellectual property rights.
“We are willing to try any technology just like we use Inspur servers to do the virtualization. And we will continue to do so. We will keep trying new technologies and use them to serve us in order to improve our work efficiency.” Luo said.
Luo revealed that in future plans, the department will cooperate with the municipal or provincial intelligent city platforms about the construction of information system. “There is a saying that we should protect our water ecology even at the cost of economy, from which we can see that water resources protection and water ecology restoration have been highly valued by the country. Next, we will focus on the protection and reasonable use of water resources, and use new technologies to make some changes about service concepts.”
In the near future, Hubei Provincial Department of Water Resources will introduce some bonus programs. For example, it will give some policy rewards to those who have the highest utilizing ratio to encourage companies to save water. Besides, the department will ask them to share their water-saving methods in order to serve the society with more information technologies.