China Unicom’s Growth Strategy Relies on Schneider Electric for Data Center Operations

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Colocation providers and cloud service providers are both experiencing rapid market growth and are exploring all options to keep up with demand. Critical facility operation services are integral to the decision process on whether to buy, lease or build new data centers to increase capacity as quickly as possible. The opportunity for hyperscale data centers where savings from economies of scale can lead to a competitive advantage is also being evaluated.

Under pressure to grow at an ever-increasing pace, colocation providers are seeking partners that can help them design, build and quickly deploy their new or expanded data centers. Equally important is a partner that can provide the people, processes and tools to operate them efficiently, ensuring availability while controlling costs.

Adopting a growth strategy that includes strategic partnerships is important due to astounding cloud market growth. Forrester puts the global 2018 cloud market at $178 billion and is predicting it to grow at a 22% annual compound growth rate. foresees the growth of cloud computing in China even faster, predicting at least 30% year over year on average in the next 5 years.

China Unicom: Capitalizing on APAC Data Center Demand

China Unicom, one of the world’s largest telcos is also the 5th largest data center vendor in the world, according to, and a leader in the booming Chinese cloud market.

China Unicom recently built two massive data centers, with a total area exceeding 600,000 square meters and more than 12,000 IT racks. These hyperscale data centers are intended to be high-availability facilities that provide high-end VIP data center services and cloud computing to enterprises, domestic government agencies, finance companies and top 50 Internet companies.

But that’s just the start. The company has immediate plans for a total of 12 super-scale cloud data centers and 335 regional data centers throughout China, totaling 2 million square meters and containing more than 320,000 IT racks.

Partnering for Data Center Efficiency and Reliability

As it started building its hyperscale data centers, China Unicom realized it needed to outsource data center facility operations to a partner with proven experience and expertise in operating critical facilities. The company chose Schneider Electric.

I recently met with Kang Nan, General Manager of the Operations and Services Department of China Unicom. I could see the passion for growth on his face and in his eyes. He took me through the company’s data center plans using virtual reality glasses, enabling me to “walk through” the company’s data center of the future. It’s the same tour they give to customers and it’s pretty powerful.

But Nan is under no illusions that his company can go it alone as it executes its expansion plans.

Critical Facility Operation Services Yield 100% Uptime

two men in colocation provider China UnicomChina Unicom liked the fact that Schneider has a proven methodology for critical facility operation services because it would apply well to their standardization across multiple facilities. Today, Schneider has more than 100 personnel onsite handling day-to-day data center operations in their two hyperscale data centers and has helped China Unicom document an internal Operations & Maintenance program.

Having this systematic program in place enables greater efficiency in data center operations, as well as improved reliability. “A hyperscale data center can only achieve its designed availability [of 99.999%] by efficient operation and maintenance management and continuous optimization as provided by Schneider’s established program,” Kang said.

As stated, China Unicom’s uptime for the electric power system and users’ workload for both data centers remains at 100%. Additionally, this approach has attributed to lower costs. Since working with Schneider Electric, China Unicom is realizing a 30% savings in its operations costs through reduced energy consumption. Furthermore, with Schneider Electric handling critical facility operations, China Unicom personnel are free to focus on other strategic endeavors.

“By handing over the operation and maintenance work of infrastructure to Schneider Electric, we are able to be more focused on core businesses such as cloud and data, thus laying a foundation for providing end users with high-quality data center and cloud computing services,” Kang said.

Learn More About China Unicom’s Growth Plans with Schneider Electric

I look forward to working with China Unicom in the future and enabling its ambitious growth plans. But, learn more about the solutions we offered to overcome challenges. Also, understand what goes into a standardized data center operations and maintenance plan, by downloading this eBook, 12 Essential Elements of Data Center Facility Operations.

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