Alibaba and Intel: Forging the Future of the Data-Centric Enterprise

At the Intel Data-Centric Innovation Summit on August 8th, 2018, Intel Data Center Group leaders laid out Intel’s vision for the next generation of computing infrastructure. We are building solutions that can move data faster, store more, and process everything in order to meet the growing demand of our customers’ data-centric computing needs. We are deepening our technological collaboration with customers who are leading digital transformation and innovation powered by data and turning our shared vision into reality. One such collaboration will be highlighted this week at Alibaba’s Yunqi conference in Hangzhou, China.

Alibaba, Intel’s customer and strategic partner, started as an online trading platform for small businesses, but has grown into a global technology platform enabling data sharing and industry transformation. Like many other companies, Alibaba needed to evolve into a data-centric enterprise. This transformation has required three key elements:

  • Decentralization
    The broader distribution or decentralization of computing infrastructure is necessary to reduce time and costs associated with sending large amounts of data back to a centralized data center.
  • Depth of data processing
    With the help of advanced analytics, high performance computing, and artificial intelligence, applications are becoming increasingly data and compute intensive. This depth of data processing requires infrastructure to effectively and efficiently feed huge amounts of data into the processing unit.
  • Speed of innovation for data processing application development
    Organizations need to update their technology stack quickly and bring ideas to market in the shortest amount of time possible.

cloud data center

This week at the Yunqi conference, Alibaba and Intel launched several strategic initiatives to help enable these three key elements and make the future of computing ubiquitous and intelligent.

  1. Apsara*  Stack Industry Alliance: Alibaba and Intel are jointly extending Alibaba Cloud to enterprise private cloud through Apsara Stack, a full-stack cloud solution created by Alibaba Cloud and optimized to run on Intel® Xeon® Scalable platforms for medium- and large-size enterprise-class customers. This alliance will cover the full spectrum, from standardizing and pre-validating the technological stack, to building broad ecosystem support.
  2. Joint Edge Computing Platform: IoT is taking a leading role in digital transformation across a wide variety of business applications requiring near real-time monitoring of asset and product performance. These real-time insights can potentially be the source of new business opportunities and even new business models. Intel and Alibaba have launched the Joint Edge Computing Platform, an open architecture for IoT applications integrating AI and cloud technologies. The supported applications address specific IoT scenarios, including industrial manufacturing, smart buildings, smart community, and more. Intel’s contribution of processors, silicon acceleration technologies, and software optimizations are a solid foundation for this ‘win-win’ collaboration by delivering the highest computing capacity required at the edge, and enabling computer vision and deep learning capabilities through the OpenVino™ toolkit and developer ecosystem.
  3. Intelligent Transportation Initiative: Alibaba Cloud has announced that Intel officially became one of Alibaba AliOS’s* first strategic partners for its Intelligent Transportation initiative. This initiative aims to support the construction of an Intelligent Road Traffic network and build a digital and intelligent transportation system to realize vehicle-road synergy. Intel and Alibaba will jointly explore a Vehicle to Everything (v2x) usage model with respect to 5G communication and edge computing, based on Intel® Xeon® processor-based platforms and the Intel® Network Edge Virtualization SDK (Intel® NEV SDK).
  4. Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory Enhanced eCommerce: Online commerce is a key revenue driver for Alibaba and the extremely popular Single’s Day Shopping Festival has always been a stress test of Alibaba’s infrastructure. According to TechCrunch, the revenue from the Single’s Day Shopping Festival grew from 2014 to 2017 at a CAGR of 43% to over $25 billion. At its peak, the company’s processors handled 256,000 concurrent transactions per second. This is a key reason the Alibaba infrastructure services team continues to rely on Intel to deliver infrastructure optimization thereby ensuring performance efficiency for its eCommerce workload. This year, the technology that will face this test incorporates Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory. Alibaba has tested Intel’s new memory at smaller shopping festivals leading up to the large-scale Single’s Day shopping festival and partnered with Intel to jointly optimize some key software components. Tair*, one such component, is a memory intensive application, and, in a typical Tair cluster, memory is the bottleneck to deliver full performance in terms of queries per second. Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory significantly expands memory capacity compared to traditional DRAM, eliminating the memory bottleneck and fully unleashing Tair performance while significantly reducing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

This week at Yunqi 2018, the breadth and depth of collaboration between Alibaba and Intel will be featured in front of a live audience of over 60K and streaming to millions of viewers around the globe. From cloud to edge, our two companies are building highly efficient infrastructure to support data-centric computing and enabling digital transformation across a wide range of industries. For more information on these ground-breaking initiatives and Intel’s products and solutions for cloud service providers, please refer to the News Byte about the long-term strategic partnership, Intel’s IoT solutions, and www.intel.com/csp.