Huawei launches AI-powered cloud database

By Chen Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/15 19:33:40

Move fires up competition with US companies

Huawei's FusionStorage 8.0, distributed storage to support enterprise applications Photo: Chen Qingqing/GT

Chinese technology giant Huawei Technologies unveiled a new cloud database powered by artificial intelligence (AI) on Wednesday, a move set to accelerate its full-scenario AI strategy and fire up competition with US rivals including Amazon, Microsoft and Oracle, industry representatives said. 

Huawei launched the world's first AI-native database called GaussDB in Beijing, which supports diversified scenarios such as private and public clouds and data services in sectors including finance, the internet, logistics and vehicles. The company also unveiled FusionStorage 8.0, which is the world's first highest-performing distributed storage to support enterprise applications. 

The database storage market has been dominated by foreign players, particularly US companies including Oracle and Microsoft. By joining the battlefield, Huawei is challenging the monopoly of foreign players and shown its "crisis awareness" toward developing core technologies in case the US blocks high-technology exports, analysts said. 

"Huawei is well-positioned to scale its cloud business outside the telecom world into enterprise…it's already gaining traction in China and it can scale in other markets outside China, such as India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa," Neil Shah, research director of global industry consultancy Counterpoint Research, told the Global Times. This will put it front and center to compete against established cloud players such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and others, he said. 

Data security is crucial to the database storage business. A Huawei executive said the company is strictly following higher industry standards, compared with its counterparts, in protecting data. 

"Our database products have been widely used in many countries and by various customers in many industries," David Wang, executive director and chairman of the company's investment review board, said at the launch event in Huawei's research and development (R&D) center in Beijing on Wednesday. 

In terms of data security, Huawei has been following stricter rules in protecting user data. "We only provide technology to support data processing and transmission, and we do not own the data," Wang said. 

Huawei's GaussDB and FusionInsight big data solutions have been used in 60 countries and regions, serving more than 1,500 customers. 

Huawei's participation in the database market also provides new choices for other companies, setting a positive example for the whole cloud data storage industry in China, as the cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) sectors grow rapidly and generate tremendous demand for data processing and management. 

"From chipsets to operating systems to servers, Huawei has been widely investing in core technologies which helps strengthen its competitiveness. The wave also lowers the risk that it will face obstacles if the US blocks technology exports," said Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance.

However, one of the company's executives emphasized that Huawei joining the database market is not intended to replace other companies. 

"The cloud and data industry needs joint effort and broader collaboration. We're not going to replace Oracle or SAP as the industry needs cooperation for future prosperity," Wang told the Global Times. 

Oracle recently announced it would shut down its research and development (R&D) center in China as market competition rises, laying off nearly 1,000 employees. "It's just a coincidence that Huawei announced this cloud database strategy," he said, noting that the move has nothing to do with Oracle's failure in China. 

However, the Chinese company has a long way to go to compete with global cloud database providers, analysts said.

 "They need to work hard to compete with Amazon or Microsoft in terms of business scale and partner networks," Zhang Xiaoqiang, assistant research director of IDC China, told the Global Times. 

Newspaper headline: Huawei offers AI-powered cloud


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