The advancement of science and technology relies heavily on the sharing and free circulation of information and research to the entire scientific community worldwide.
So it was logical that Dr. Pang and his fellow researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) utilized their website to publish and share their research with the scientific community worldwide.
About Nanyang Technological University
Based in Singapore, NTU is a research-intensive public university with roughly 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Ranked amongst the world’s top universities by QS World University Rankings, NTU continues to be the top young university in the world according to the QS Top 50 Under 50, a table exclusively for the world’s younger academic institutions.
The Problem: NTU’s Website did not work in China
NTU established the Multi Media Laboratory (MMLab@NTU) in 2018 to focus research on computer vision and deep learning. Scientists in MMLab@NTU conduct research primarily in low-level vision, image and video understanding, creative content creation, 3D scene understanding, and reconstruction.
As with any other global renowned research team, Assistant Director Dr. Peng’s and the MMLab staff continuously publish cutting-edge research. NTU staff publishes the research to their website to share their discoveries with the science community and the public worldwide. However, they had a problem sharing their findings with their fellow scientists in China because their website would not load in China. Resulting in poor collaboration between Dr. Peng and his peers in China.
Dr. Chen, a research engineer, was tasked with finding a suitable solution to make their website available in China.
Research Team Need an Agile and Simple Hosting Solution
NTU lab researchers maintained and managed the website themselves without the help of an IT team. Therefore it was essential to continue using a hosting platform (PaaS) to simplify deployment and hosting for their static site.
Based in Singapore, it was difficult for Dr. Chen to observe the site’s performance in China. So he reached out to his colleagues in China. He learned that NTU’s research site would not load in most of the country. However, where the site did load, it took his colleagues 1-2 minutes to load a single page!
Popular Hosting Platforms don’t work in China.
NTU’s research website was originally hosted using Github pages. Dr. Chen learned that one of the reasons their site didn’t work in China was because their website was hosted on servers in America.
When he learned that Github pages didn’t work in China, Dr. Chen looked into similar PaaS solutions like Vercel and Netlify.
However, Dr. Chen painfully discovered that these two popular technologies would not work in China either. He also learned that many other well-known overseas SaaS and PaaS solutions are not usable or wholly blocked in China.
Here are a few other examples of everyday technologies that do not work in China:
Content Management Systems (CMS): Sanity, Contentful, DatoCMS, Airtable
Image Storage Services: Cloudinary, AWS S3
Video hosting services: Youtube, Vimeo
Hosting platforms: Netlify, Vercel, Gatsby Cloud, Github Pages, etc will be very slow or even inaccessible.
As Dr. Chen searched online for a solution to help get their website working in China, he stumbled upon 21YunBox’s website. Looking promising, he signed up for a free trial.
In just a few minutes, Dr. Chen connected their Github repository to 21YunBox. With just a few clicks, he successfully deployed NTU’s research site to China. He then sent the 21YunBox provided test URL to several of his contacts in mainland China, which confirmed that they could access the website and, more importantly, the research articles.
Over the next few days, Dr. Chen and Dr. Pang worked with the university to fully migrate their website to 21YunBox. Right away, they made great strides by leveraging several features of 21YunBox, including:
21YunBox CDN / Edge: this provides advanced functionality built on top of leading cloud providers in China. It’s built-in directly with 21YunBox Build to provide extremely fast content delivery network (CDN) nodes in China, providing access to NTU’s research to universities and researchers across China.
Automatic Routing and Forwarding: After the Git code is submitted, 21YunBox will automatically adapt the URL of the website, which can be done automatically without the manual help of NTU staff.
Analytics Dashboard: 21YunBox’s Analytic Dashboard provided NTU’s research team a fix for Google Analytics by providing more accurate data and a complete picture of their publications reach in China.
Successfully Deployed NTU’s Research to China
Using 21YunBox, NTU successfully launched its research website in China. Resulting in the ability to share and freely circulate their essential research to the scientific community worldwide.
These gains ensured that NTU’s critical research would be available to fill in knowledge gaps and help the progress of science and technology worldwide.
Maintained an Agile Workflow
With 21YunBox, NTU’s researchers maintained an agile workflow, enabling in-house staff to manage and to deploy their publications to the world in just minutes from their labs in Singapore, eliminating the dependency on an IT administrator or a DevOps engineer since there is no server or infrastructure to manage.
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