Huawei has established the world’s largest desktop cloud collaboration, with approximately 45 000 of the company’s engineers performing their daily work within this cloud.
Huawei began using desktop virtualisation in 2009 in its Shanghai research centre, and has since duplicated this cloud system in other research centres and branch offices all over the world.
In offices that have been equipped with cloud technology, PCs have been replaced by rows of LCD screens on desktops. On the back of each LCD screen is a black box called a thin client, roughly the size of a CD-ROM drive. Engineers can sit in front of any LCD screen and log in to their own virtual machines (VMs), enabling mobility, boosting productivity and streamlining power consumption.
Huawei’s IT system provides services to the company’s 140 000 employees around the world, as well as to its various global departments, such as marketing, customer support and supply chain. Over the years, the sheer size and scope of this IT system has exposed it to complex challenges regarding system reliability, security, resource utilisation and operating costs.
These challenges have included the following:
* Any tiny fault in the IT system had the potential to cause a service interruption that could result in financial loss for the company;
* IT resource utilisation was low and traditional data centre technologies failed to improve resource utilisation; and
* With information as Huawei’s core asset, the company was investing a large amount of resources every year to ensure information security.
In order to address these challenges, Huawei developed and deployed its desktop cloud.
The desktop cloud helps Huawei address information security and IT operation and maintenance (O&M) issues, and it brings obvious improvements in terms of staff productivity, energy efficiency and maintenance management.
Specific benefits include the following:
* Hardware purchasing and operating costs are greatly reduced. Assuming identical computing and storage demands in the desktop cloud environment, hardware configuration is 55% lower and power consumption is 73% lower than in a traditional IT environment.
* O&M costs are also significantly lowered. In the past, one system maintenance engineer was needed for every 100 employees, but in the desktop cloud environment, the proportion of system maintenance engineers to employees is 1:1 000.
* Employees’ files, including code files, are all stored in VMs, and these files are uniformly managed in the data centre. This approach dramatically improves information security because it eliminates the possibility of malicious attacks on individual computers and lowers the incidence of information security breaches.
* Cloud computing technology makes dynamic load balancing of IT application resources a reality. Most IT resources are allocated for office automation and R&D work during the day and for automated testing at night. This approach significantly improves resource utilisation.
In addition to its extensive use within the company, Huawei’s desktop cloud has been extended to external customers and is used by more than 100 000 users in 30 countries across an array of industries, including government, healthcare, education, telecommunications and finance.