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Alibaba Cloud discusses past and unveils ‘strategic upgrade’

By Ashton Young
Fri 22 Mar 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

This week Alibaba Cloud held its Beijing Summit to share its plans for the future.

More than 3,000 ecosystem partners and industry practitioners attending the Summit have shared the company’s development journey over the past decade.

Alibaba Group chief technology officer and Alibaba Cloud president Jeff Zhang spoke about the company’s aim to develop into a more technologically inclusive platform.

For the first time, Zhang spoke at length publically on the strategic upgrade of the business and how it is evolving to serve as a key component of the Alibaba Business Operating System, empowering customers and ecosystem partners to ‘win in the digital era’.

According to Zhang, cloud computing is becoming the main business focus of Alibaba Group and over the past decade, Alibaba Cloud has been the technology and public cloud platform underpinning the entire Alibaba economy from eCommerce and payment, to logistics and supply chain management.

The scalability, reliability, and security of Alibaba Cloud are paramount to the business and the platform has successfully sustained real-world tests on a daily basis, most notably during the Alibaba 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, the scale of which provides one of the biggest stress tests possible.

''Alibaba has championed cloud computing in China over the past 10 years and has been at the forefront of the rapid technology development. Today, Alibaba Cloud not only provides infrastructural support to the entire Alibaba economy but has also developed proven technologies to empower millions of customers in China and worldwide, significantly lowering cloud adoption barriers, ensuring inclusive access, and enabling collaboration throughout the ecosystem,'' says Zhang.

''In the future, our highly compatible and standards-based platform will allow SaaS partners to onboard easily and thrive. The offerings will also be enriched by our continued investment in research through the Damo Academy, that will align data science with the development of our products. To empower all participants in our ecosystem, we will boost the integrated development of technology, products and services on our open platform.”

Already the market IaaS market leader in China by a considerable margin, Alibaba Cloud expects cloud adoption to continue accelerating and become more immersive in the traditional sectors across China.

“The importance of digital intelligence will become more apparent as enterprises need to derive deeper business insights, make data-driven decisions, and take real-time actions,” the company says.

“Alibaba Cloud will continue to invest in technological research and development, ensuring that the company has the capability to offer powerful computing and Internet-based technology products for the further adoption of cloud and data intelligence.”

At the summit, Alibaba Cloud shared that over the past decade it has developed 162 products and activated 4,610 product features and functions – the company celebrated this fact by announcing a few more, with the highlights being a supercomputing product, a cloud-native database, and an accelerator to boost the SaaS ecosystem – more details are below:

  • X-dragon Super-Computing Cluster instance SCC-GN6: The most powerful super-computing bare-metal server instance launched by the company to date, with the capability to enhance the cluster performance by more than 100%. This new instance provides 50 Gbps of RDMA networking throughput, 96 custom Intel Skylake vCPUs, 8 NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core GPUs, providing a total of 1000 TFlops to computational throughput, and high-performance parallel file system CPFS with 1TB/s R/W throughput.
  • PolarDB: A cloud-native relational database service that is designed for enterprise-grade database applications. PolarDB is compatible with Oracle, MySQL and PostgreSQL and offers scalability with the architecture of hardware-software co-design. It can scale up to 88vCPUs and 710GB of memory and allows customers to pay for usage by the minute, enabling customers to handle a business peak traffic while minimising cost.
  • SaaS Accelerator: An efficient and agile platform where ecosystem partners can build and launch SaaS applications and leverage Alibaba's business and technology know-how. The accelerator helps SaaS customers quickly deploy and test their applications on the cloud, shorten the implementation lifecycle, and accelerate time-to-market. It features an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface and launch kit while remaining highly compatible with other application programming interfaces (APIs). Alibaba Cloud says that with the accelerator, a smart SaaS application can go live in as little as five days.
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