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  • Back when I was taking up my current role, Minister of Science and Technology

  • a number of journalists asked me:

  • "Mr.Chang, are you convinced that cloud computing will be successful in Taiwan?"

  • To be honest, the answer was no.

  • It wasn't that we had no hope for success at all,

  • but it was definitely very challenging.

  • Why is that so?

  • Actually Ben already touched on this topic.

  • Changing minds really isn't easy, right?

  • So many preconceptions.

  • So what I want to report today are the challenges that we encountered,

  • and what are the preconceptions that we need to change.

  • The first question:

  • Is it safe to store our data on the cloud?

  • Let's put the Cloud aside for a while.

  • Let's first talk about 50, 100 years ago, when banks first opened.

  • Our old folks who lived through that time

  • were taking money out from under the bed and depositing them into the banks.

  • They were faced with a similar question.

  • After putting money into the banks, some folks even commented on the fact that

  • the bills which they drew from the bank

  • weren't the exact same notes that they deposited!

  • We face the same problem today

  • Today, I can put a computer into a data center.

  • But when I'm accessing the data center, I may not be using the same computer.

  • Some may feel that they lost out because they don't get to use their own computer.

  • But when you deposit an old bill into the bank

  • and get a new bill in return, you wouldn't think of that as "losing out"

  • So let's come back to present day.

  • Today, people who have lots of gold and jewellery

  • wants to deposit them at the bank. Why?

  • Because the bank promises to give you a safer environment than your home, right?

  • It's the same thing today.

  • Today, when we put our data onto the cloud,

  • the operators have to be able to give you a safer environment than your home.

  • Then you might ask me: I can control everything at my own company

  • and make sure that my data is secure.

  • Can a cloud operator do the same?

  • Like Ben said just now, if he couldn't

  • then he wouldn't be doing this for a living. So of course he can.

  • Second myth: the utilities at cloud data centers are very expensive

  • The electric bill at Acer's data center is 400 million Taiwanese Dollars every year.

  • Our basement water tank holds 6000 tons of water.

  • Some people say that this is not environmentally friendly.

  • But let me ask you.

  • Why do we encourage people to take buses nowadays?

  • How far can a bus run on a liter of fuel?

  • 2 kilometers if you're lucky

  • With your own hybrid car you can probably go 10km on that same liter of fuel.

  • Then why are we encouraging you to take the bus instead of driving your car?

  • Because the bus has the economy of scale.

  • Likewise, today we are encouraging people to put their computers into data centers

  • and through the economy of scale in the data center

  • we can reduce the average amount of power and water used up by individual computers.

  • But some people like my previous boss, Chairman J.T. Wang says:

  • "But then all that carbon footprint becomes Acer's! That's unacceptable!"

  • It's true that we don't yet have a standardized way

  • of calculating carbon footprint.

  • But of course Acer alone can't bear the entire carbon footprint.

  • So who should bear it?

  • The carbon footprint should be apportioned

  • to the users of the data center based on how much electricity they use.

  • Similarly for Google's data center in Chang Hua County, which you mentioned.

  • That's the same thing.

  • Google's annual electric bill will be at least 2 billion for sure.

  • So whose carbon footprint is it? Google's? Or Taiwan's?

  • Google may be using this data center to serve other Asian countries

  • like Japan or Korea.

  • The carbon footprint should go to them, not Taiwan.

  • Taiwan is doing it's part for the environment by running this data center.

  • What about challenges?

  • We talked about software.

  • What's wrong with software?

  • If you read the papers, you'd know that

  • when we were selling tickets for A-Mei's concert,

  • the computer hanged before we could finish selling the tickets.

  • A few years ago, we were selling train tickets for the eve of Chinese New Year.

  • But the server hanged before we could finish selling.

  • These are not hardware problems. They are software issues.

  • We see a lot of apps being written by almost everyone nowadays and so we ask:

  • If you could write handphone apps, then why not software?

  • Let me ask you, when you're running Angry Birds on your handphone,

  • how many people are using that software? Just you, right?

  • But when we are selling train tickets on the eve of Chinese New year

  • how many people are trying to buy those tickets?

  • At least thousands if not tens of thousands.

  • A software meant for thousands of simultaneous users

  • is very different from a software written for just one user.

  • Does Taiwan have this capability then?

  • That's a good question. No one knows the answer.

  • So should Taiwan do it?

  • Let's talk about Google's Gmail first.

  • Is email software programming easy?

  • It's a very basic function and writing it seems to be pretty easy.

  • But if you see how many people in Google are working on Gmail

  • you wouldn't want to try and create a competing email software.

  • You and I may have never been to Gmail.

  • The Gmail department by itself pretty much takes up an entire building.

  • So this tells us that developing software isn't so easy.

  • Most importantly, transactional behavior is a problem without a technical solution.

  • What is transactional behavior?

  • Let's go back to the train tickets. On the eve of Chinese New Year

  • the most popular Taroko Express has 8 cars, 400 seats.

  • Ten thousand people are fighting for these 400 tickets.

  • Every seat was snatched up in an instant.

  • The data in the database is changing constantly.

  • At the same time you want me to make 10, 20 copies of the data for multiple users?

  • Sorry, can't be done.

  • Within an instant all the seats are sold out.

  • The database must be updated immediately so the same ticket isn't sold twice.

  • How can you, at the same time, make so many copies of the data?

  • This technical bottleneck has no solution in the short term.

  • So it's actually not that simple, not simple at all.

  • Lastly, where is Taiwan's opportunity?

  • We know that the Cloud has infrastructure, platform and application software.

  • Each of these links on the value chain has different characteristics.

  • You can sell a lot of servers so your main aim is to increase volume.

  • But when you talk about software, that's a high value product.

  • For example our healthcare system. How many copies can you sell?

  • Just one.

  • Because only Taiwan is using this software.

  • The healthcare of mainland China and USA are completely different.

  • We are switching to our second generation healthcare system soon.

  • You think you can sell a second copy of this system?

  • No way. There won't be a second sale.

  • But is this healthcare software valuable?

  • Certainly.

  • The whole of Taiwan is relying on this software when we go to the doctor's.

  • The value is very obvious. But what about volume?

  • I don't know which company the project was awarded to

  • or how much they were paid, but there's no volume to speak of.

  • On the other hand, we were speaking of servers.

  • We've sold hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of servers around the world.

  • But there's basically no difference between brand A and brand B.

  • That's why we put the emphasis on production volume.

  • As for developing application softwares

  • many people ask me: Does Taiwan stand a chance?

  • Maybe.

  • Maybe not.

  • We must develop software to benefit those who use healthcare

  • to help those who take electronic receipts.

  • At this time, I'd like to quote Deng Xiao Ping

  • "Be it a black cat or a white cat, a cat that can catch mice is a good cat".

  • Whether a product is domestic or imported doesn't matter

  • as long as it gives us good healthcare

  • and allows us to see the doctor with no fuss, then it is valuable to us.

  • It doesn't matter who made the software,

  • first we must ensure that we deliver on welfare

  • and then one day when we figure out how the imported software is made

  • we can clone it domestically and replace it.

  • But our final goal is to implement Cloud technology

  • so that when you have to visit the doctor

  • your visit is a smooth one, with no data issues.

  • When you buy your train tickets it won't matter how popular the date is

  • you can still buy your ticket within a second.

  • Instead of always seeing messages like

  • "Sorry, the server is busy right now, please try again in five minutes."

  • Let's hope never to see such messages again.

  • Thank you. (Applause)

Back when I was taking up my current role, Minister of Science and Technology

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A2 US software data data center taiwan carbon footprint cloud

【TEDx】台灣雲端計算的迷思與挑戰: Simon Chang (張善政) at TEDxTaipeiChange 2012

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    Amy.Lin posted on 2017/01/05
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