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  • Leading Smart City Development to Build a Better Future with an Efficient, Secure, and Green Data Foundation

    Leading Smart City Development to Build a Better Future with an Efficient, Secure, and Green Data Foundation

From the emergence of e-government in the 1990s to today's digital government and Bank 4.0, numerous countries have always valued smart city development, launching systematic policies and regulations to promote digitalization across business, government, and entire nations. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digital transformation process and governments' response to changes.

From oracle bone script to papermaking, the progress of human civilization involves a history of data storage and inheritance. This is especially true in the digital era. The development of the digital economy is also a process where data production elements are efficiently stored and data value is tapped. Data resources are critical for building smart cities. As forecasted by Huawei's global industry vision report, humans will usher in the yottabyte data era by 2030.

A leading digital economy requires leading digital infrastructure, and data storage — as the data foundation of the digital world — is the key.

Efficient Data Storage Foundation Accelerates Smart City Transformation

Behind the digitalization of each city, various large enterprises are profoundly changing the digital world with their technological and connection capabilities.

In recent years, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies in the Middle East have been facing unprecedented challenges. Their market growth has been sluggish, while competition for market share is increasingly fierce. Moreover, due to the rising global prices of raw materials and transportation, and structural increases in operating costs, these FMCG companies are under great pressure to increase profit margins. At the same time, FMCG e-commerce in the Middle East has almost doubled in the past three years. Nearly 70% of consumers in Saudi Arabia have visited e-commerce websites in the past seven days, a significant increase compared to the pre-pandemic period. Therefore, FMCG companies need to urgently find ways of gaining market share and maintaining leading positions in the changing market landscape.

Founded in 1980, Cigalah Group in Saudi Arabia has developed from a FMCG reseller to a large company with pharmaceuticals, healthcare, watches, jewelry, textiles, and food products. To upgrade Cigalah's live network infrastructure for higher efficiency, Huawei customizes a solution that includes OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage and a centralized storage platform. The new OceanStor Dorado is innovatively optimized for emerging application scenarios such as containers, distributed databases, and cloudification. It can protect data and efficiently manage and control the resources of containerized applications. By integrating and controlling storage resources on the cloud, it significantly improves database performance and reliability, building an efficient data foundation for emerging applications. With this new solution, the performance of Cigalah's storage devices has significantly improved, and the report output time has shortened from 5 minutes to 20 seconds. This provides Cigalah's management team with almost real-time insights into service performance, helping it maintain its industry lead.

Secure and Reliable Data Storage Foundation Safeguards Smart Cities

In recent years, numerous enterprises have been suffering from significant economic losses and negative social impact due to data loss and service interruption. In 2018, a cloud service provider (CSP) lost all the platform data of an enterprise user due to silent data errors that occurred in the underlying disk and non-standard data migration operations. The data of an Internet service provider (ISP) was maliciously deleted, and seven days were needed to restore it. The ISP ultimately compensated its customer US$25 million for incurred losses. In the financial industry, where data is almost as important as life, losses caused by downtime can reach US$6.48 million per hour.

As the data volume increases, data becomes increasingly important, making data protection more urgent. Currently, ransomware is threatening enterprises worldwide. According to Gartner, 75% of enterprises will be under one or more attacks by 2025. The discussion about ransomware attacks on enterprises has shifted from "whether" to "when". Therefore, enterprises need to be well prepared. With the aim of ensuring enterprise services run securely, anti-ransomware measures for storage have been widely recognized across the industry. One of Singapore's top three banks collaborated with Huawei on the storage ransomware prevention solution. The Huawei storage anti-ransomware solution covers storage area network (SAN), network attached storage (NAS) (OceanStor all-flash storage), and backup storage (OceanProtect). Key technologies, such as storage encryption, Air Gap, security snapshot, and write once read many (WORM), are used to prevent data tampering, detect data security, and restore data, meeting the latest financial secure tertiary data backup (STDB) requirements.

Energy-Saving Data Storage Foundation Facilitates Green Economic Development

In the development of smart cities, the surge in data volume promotes data center construction, but also creates a series of issues such as high power consumption and environmental pollution. An important step toward achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement is to mobilize the entire financial system to address the threat of climate change. Currently, 113 banks — accounting for 40% of global bank assets — have joined the industry-led, UN-convened Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), promising to achieve net zero emissions in their investment and loan portfolios by 2050.

As the key infrastructure of the financial industry, most financial institutions focus on data centers in the process of promoting green finance. In this regard, many policy documents released globally specify the energy consumption standards of data centers.

In 2021, ICBC (Asia)'s cost-to-income ratio reached 28%, which was the lowest among all licensed banks in Hong Kong. With the rapid expansion of services and the emergence of new service scenarios, the explosive growth of unstructured data and supervision data security pose new challenges to the electronic settlement system. Huawei's distributed object storage adopts deduplication and compression algorithms, and high-ratio elastic erasure code (EC) algorithms, to improve space utilization and reduce data duplication. The dedicated 22 + 2 elastic EC algorithm can use 91% of resources, which is 1.75 times more than that used by the traditional three-copies of data mechanism. ICBC (Asia) uses Huawei's innovative distributed object storage solution to effectively improve its storage and query efficiency for electronic settlement bills, boosting its storage capacity usage and reducing power consumption by 47%.

Green finance is a long-term initiative that requires systematic transformation. With the next-generation data centers as the "capability foundation", banks worldwide will drive zero-carbon development with the goal of building green financial benchmarks, making due contributions to the achievement of carbon neutrality.

The new era poses new development requirements for cities. Huawei Storage will continue to engage in the smart city field, innovating hardware, software, medium, and architecture to pursue excellence in reliability, availability, and usability. Our goal is to make cities more intelligent with diverse digital applications, tap into more data value, and accelerate digital transformation across various industries.

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