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Alibaba Puts Heat On AWS, Huawei With New Chips, Servers, Data Centers

The cloud computing giant is stepping up its rivalry against cloud competitors with the launch of new in-house processors, servers and new data centers outside China.

Alibaba is stepping up its game against cloud competitors including Amazon Web Services and Huawei by developing new in-house processors and a line of servers to boost its cloud computing data centers, while also unveiling plans to build new data centers outside China. The new server and semiconductor innovation is aimed at boosting the China-based cloud giant’s computing capabilities and global market reach against AWS and Huawei, which both have also released server chips of their own.

Alibaba’s new chip, dubbed the Yitian 710, is built on 5nm process technology and is powered by 128 Arm cores with a 3.2GHz top clock speed. Alibaba said the Yitian 710 is the first server processor that is compatible with the latest Armv9 architecture.

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“Customizing our own server chips is consistent with our ongoing efforts toward boosting our computing capabilities with better performance and improved energy efficiency,” said Jeff Zhang, president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, during Alibaba’s annual Apsara Conference this week. “We plan to use the chips to support current and future businesses across the Alibaba Group ecosystem. We will also offer our clients next-generation computing services powered by the new chip-powered servers in the near future.”

The Yitian 710 server chips aren’t commercially available and will run in proprietary, cloud-native servers. Alibaba is developing a new line of proprietary servers, dubbed Panjiu, which will be powered by its new Yitian 710 processors. The combination of new chips and servers is a move to boost Alibaba’s overall cloud services by optimizing energy efficiency and computing performance.

By separating computing from storage, Alibaba said its Panjiu servers are optimized for general-purpose and specialized artificial intelligence computing on Alibaba’s cloud, as well as high-performance storage.

The Panjiu servers have a modular design approach for large-scale data center deployment as well as for a wide variety of cloud-native workloads, such as containerized applications and compute-optimized workloads. The company did not provide a time frame as to when the new proprietary servers will be in production inside Alibaba’s data centers.

Alibaba is the leading cloud computing company in China but is now focusing on growing its footprint in other Asia geographies.

This week, the company unveiled its plan to open its first data centers in South Korea and Thailand. The new data centers will be opened sometime in 2022, according to Alibaba.

“We are committed to bringing our world-class, hyper-scale cloud infrastructure to Korea and Thailand, so that we can support local businesses to be at the forefront of digital transformation,” said Selina Yuan, general manager of international business, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, in a statement.

Earlier this year, Alibaba opened or unveiled plans to open several new data centers in the Philippines and Indonesia.

 

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