Sep 21, 2020

US government approves new TikTok deal

Cloud
Cybersecurity
Harry Menear
2 min
TikTok owner ByteDance averts ban with the creation of TikTok Global. Oracle will provide secure cloud services.
TikTok owner ByteDance averts ban with the creation of TikTok Global. Oracle will provide secure cloud services...

Chinese software firm ByteDance, which owns popular social media app TikTok, has averted a ban on its US operations. The threat of being blacklisted in the US market has been hanging over the company for months, as the Trump administration has pressured TikTok to cut ties with ByteDance, due to the company's ties to the Chinese government. 

Now, a new arrangement will see ByteDance spin off TikTok into a new subsidiary, TikTok Global. The company will be responsible for all TikTok services provided to the US, where the app has more than 100mn monthly users, as well as a high portion of the app’s subscriber base in the rest of the world. 

TikTok Global will be headquartered in the US, and majority-owned by US investors, including Oracle and Walmart, which have acquired a 20% stake in the business. Four out of five members of the company board will be American, and the company is expected to pay in excess of $5bn in taxes to the US government this year. The creation of TikTok Global is also predicted to create 25,000 new jobs in the US. 

As part of the deal, Oracle will provide secure cloud services to TikTok Global’s US operations through its portfolio of Generation 2 cloud data centres. The intent of the deal is to prevent US user data from falling into the hands of the Chinese government. 

“We're pleased that today we've confirmed a proposal that resolves the Administration's security concerns and settles questions around TikTok's future in the US. Our plan is extensive and consistent with previous CFIUS resolutions, including working with Oracle, who will be our trusted cloud and technology provider responsible for fully securing our users' data,” wrote Vanessa Pappas, Interim Head of TikTok, in a statement released on Sunday.

However, some top executives in the industry remain unconvinced. 

"The interactions with the Chinese government, and the ability of the Chinese government to put pressure on the ByteDance company, is still substantial," said Chris Kelly, former chief privacy officer at Facebook in an interview with NPR. 

"It won't be strange to have interaction between the two companies on a number of different issues, including algorithmic operations, so that could stretch into personal data pretty easily."

TikTok Global has said that it intends to launch an IPO within the next near and be listed on a US stock exchange. 

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May 26, 2021

DUG Technology planning carbon-free HPC data centre 

DUG
hpc
Sustainability
cooling
2 min
DUG claims the facility, which will have an initial compute capacity of more than 200 petaflops, is the world’s first carbon-free HPC data centre. 

On Tuesday, DUG Technology (formerly known as DownUnder GeoSolutions) announced plans to build another high performance computing (HPC) data centre in the town of Geraldton, Western Australia. 

The new data centre will not only be DUG’s largest data centre project to date (the company already owns and operate supercomputers in Perth, London, Houston and Kuala Lumpur, with its Texas facility winning the top prize at the Data Centre Design Awards in 2019) but will also, according to the company, be the world’s first carbon-free data centre designed for HPC use. 

The site will be one of the world’s largest HPC installations, with an initial compute capacity of more than 200 petaflops, and plans in place for expansion to “multi-exaflop scale” once the proposed ten data halls are commissioned. DUG’s board has budgeted AUD5mn for the project.  

Carbon-free HPC

Most-interestingly, the site will be the first HPC data centre in the world to be entirely powered by renewable energy. The town of Geraldton was reportedly chosen by DUG due to its ideal climate for wind and solar power generation, a fact which is “rapidly” transforming the area into “one of the world’s premier renewable energy regions.”

In addition to using renewable energy, the site is designed to be hyper efficient - using DUG’s own in-house liquid immersion cooling technology and an onsite hydrogen battery system. 

“The goal for the campus is to be completely powered by renewables – to accelerate science while simultaneously helping clients achieve their carbon-reduction goals and meet environmental, social, and governance (ESG) requirements,” said a DUG spokesperson on Tuesday.  

Giving back in the Outback 

The facility, which is being built on land scheduled to pass into the ownership of the Yamatji Nation Trust later this year as part of the Yamatji Nation Indigenous Land Use Agreement, reportedly has the “full support” of the indiginous nation’s board. Part of the project also involves the provision of opportunities and training for Yamatji people. 

“As demand for HPC continues to grow exponentially around the world we must invest in world-leading, carbon-free, cost-effective HPC solutions for our clients,” said Matt Lamont, CEO and founder of DUG. “We developed our award-winning DUG Cool immersion system to reduce the energy footprint of our data centres. Having the ability to utilise this technology at scale would solidify the Geraldton campus as the world standard in environmentally-friendly HPC.

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