Showing posts with label Alibaba. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alibaba. Show all posts

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Alibaba Cloud builds an "Agricultural Brain" service

Alibaba Cloud is launching a proprietary ET Agricultural Brain service that taps into its AI technologies such as visual recognition, voice recognition and real-time environmental parameter monitoring.

The AI program has been adopted already by a number of pig farms, where the Agricultural Brain monitors each hog’s daily activity, growth indicators, pregnancy and other health conditions, bringing more insight throughout the pig farming industry chain.

Simon HU, Senior Vice President of Alibaba Group and President of Alibaba Cloud said: “Agriculture and animal husbandry industry is a strategic sector and matters to the lives of billions across China. At Alibaba Cloud, we are committed to using our world-class technology to resolve real-life problems. For this reason, we launched ET Agricultural Brain with a number of partners in the agriculture sector. We believe enhanced operating efficiency will help ensure pork supply and maintain a stable market price that will benefit enterprises and consumers alike in China. In the future, ET Agricultural Brain can be adopted across many other sectors, including forestry and fisheries, helping enterprises and individual farmers increase efficiency and improve quality of production and providing a greener and healthier option for consumers.”

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Alibaba's cloud revenue grew at 103% yoy pace in March quarter

Alibaba Group reported that its cloud division (Aliyun) generated revenue of RMB 4.385 billion (US$699 million) for its fiscal quarter ending 31-March-2018, representing 103% increase over the same period last year, and an 8% growth.

Aliyun currently represents 7% of Alibaba's overall revenue, which amounted to  RMB 61.932 billion (US$9.873 billion) for the quarter, an increase of 61% year-over-year.

The gross market value (GMV) transacted on Alibaba's China retail marketplaces for the full fiscal year ended 31-March-2018 was RMB 4,820 billion (US$768 billion), representing an accelerated year-over-year growth rate of 28% (compared to an annual growth rate of 22% in fiscal year 2017).

Some highlights of the Aliyun business

In the March 2018 quarter, Aliyun launched 316 new products and features, over 60 of which were
focused on artificial intelligence, data management and security.

Aliyun launched Link Edge, a proprietary edge computing software to enable the development of IoT applications in industries such as manufacturing, real estate and public facilities, such as airports and train stations.

Aliyun continues to expand its global footprint and customer base, most recently adding a new data
center in Indonesia, increasing the global footprint to 18 countries and regions worldwide.
Here are some selected large customers:

  • China National Petroleum Corporation, one of the largest petroleum companies in China, is building its procurement platform on Alibaba Cloud, leveraging private cloud, big data, and security products and services.
  • Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation is using the City Brain platform for traffic management in Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur. This platform leverages advanced technologies, including AI, big data analytics and computer vision to manage and optimize city traffic.
  • Cathay Pacific, a leading global airline headquartered in Hong Kong, adopted Alibaba's security and data protection consultancy services to protect its operations in China.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Alibaba Cloud expands to Turkey

Alibaba Cloud has established a partnership with Istanbul-based B2B services provider e-Glober to accelerate its entry into Turkey's cloud market.

e-Glober was already Turkey’s sole authorized agent and business partner of Alibaba's global wholesale platform. It will now deliver Alibaba Cloud’s suite of services to the exporters, small and medium-sized businesses and other local companies it Turkey.

“Alibaba Cloud has always been dedicated to making our future-proof technology inclusive within the markets in which we operate,” said Yeming Wang, deputy general manager of Alibaba Cloud Global. “We aim to become the preferred cloud service provider for all sizes of business in Turkey by providing a full range of cloud solutions and combining this with E-Glober’s local expertise.”

Alibaba acquires C-SKY Microsystems for embedded IoT CPUs

Alibaba has acquired Hangzhou Zhongtian Microsystem Co. (C-SKY Microsystems, a leading developer of embedded CPUs, for an undisclosed sum.

C-SKY, which was founded in 2001 and is based in Hangzhou's Hi-Tech Zone, offers a series of 32-bit "C-SKY" embedded CPU cores based on independent intellectual property rights. The chips are widely used in Internet of Things intelligent hardware, digital audio and video, information security, networking and communications, industrial control, and automotive electronics.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Cloud Foundry comes to Alibaba Cloud

Cloud Foundry will be available on Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group and the largest cloud infrastructure provider in China.

By creating a Cloud Provider Interface (CPI) for Cloud Foundry BOSH, Alibaba Cloud now has access to both Cloud Foundry Application Runtime (CFAR) and Cloud Foundry Container Runtime (CFCR) workloads. CFCR is a Kubernetes and BOSH-based technology housed within the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

Alibaba Cloud provides a suite of cloud computing services that covers elastic computing, object storage, relational database, big data analysis, and artificial intelligence in 43 availability zones around the globe.

“Alibaba is a dominant force in China, and throughout Asia, the availability of Cloud Foundry now on Alibaba Cloud represents an opportunity to expand the availability of Cloud Foundry,” said Abby Kearns, Executive Director, Cloud Foundry Foundation. “Now China-based enterprises can experience the combined benefits of Cloud Foundry and Alibaba Cloud together.”

“Being the first open source PaaS offering, Cloud Foundry is designed for multi-cloud, multi-framework and multi-languages,” said Hong Tang, chief architect of Alibaba Cloud.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Alibaba Cloud Opens Indonesian Data Center

Alibaba Cloud commenced operations in its first data center in Indonesia.

The data center, which is described as the first global cloud hosting facility of its type in the country, will offer cloud products and services ranging from elastic computing, database service, networking, security and middleware to analytics and big data.

“As the only global cloud services provider originating from Asia, we are uniquely positioned with cultural and contextual advantages to provide innovative data intelligence solutions and computing capabilities to customers across this region,” said Alex Li, General Manager of Asia Pacific, Alibaba Cloud.

The launch of the data center is part of Alibaba Cloud’s ongoing commitment to support the Indonesian government’s initiative to create 1,000 startups by 2020. For SMEs and startups, access to scalable and affordable cloud services are essential to accelerate their growth. By migrating IT infrastructure to Alibaba Cloud, these growing firms can leverage the available powerful cloud services to scale rapidly, accelerate innovation and reduce cost. They can expand their geographic reach through Alibaba Cloud’s established global network to support international operations and better compete in global trade.

In order to incubate a local internet-related ecosystem, Alibaba Cloud also announced that it will bring the Alibaba Cloud Certified Professional (“ACP”) program to Indonesia. Within a year, the program aims to train 300 and certify 100 cloud-savvy professionals in Indonesia, providing both entrepreneurs and local talent with knowledge regarding the best-in-class technology in cloud computing, big data and security.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Alibaba Cloud launches services in Europe

Alibaba Cloud launched eight cloud services for European markets.

The services, which were introduced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, range from big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to infrastructure, security and private cloud solutions.

“Alibaba Cloud wants to be an enabler for technology innovation in Europe helping enterprises do business. The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is a great opportunity for us refresh our European strategy and consider how we can make an increasing contribution to the digital transformation of enterprises in this market from different sectors with our offerings and expertise,” said Yeming Wang, General Manager of Alibaba Cloud Europe.

Alibaba Cloud said it is committed to investing in cloud computing services and digital infrastructure in Europe. It opened its first availability zone in Frankfurt Germany in November 2016 and recently commenced operation of the second availability zone in the same region. To better serve its customers in Europe, Alibaba Cloud is establishing a technology ecosystem with European partners, such as Vodafone in Germany, the Met Office which is the national meteorological service for the UK, and Station F, an innovation hub in France.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Alibaba Cloud plugs into CoreSite Silicon Valley and No. Virginia

CoreSite is now offering private connectivity to Alibaba Cloud Open Cloud Exchange data centers in Silicon Valley and Northern Virginia.

Customers can now get direct connectivity to Alibaba Cloud, including enhanced security, optimal network performance, and compatibility with the full suite of Alibaba Cloud services including Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Elastic Compute Service and Object Storage Service.

As one of the largest global cloud services providers, we are pleased to partner with CoreSite to extend the reach of Alibaba Cloud services,” said Karen Lu, General Manager, Alibaba Cloud North America. “By leveraging the CoreSite ecosystem, we will be able to provide more customers access to our comprehensive worldwide suite of cloud computing services in order to help grow their businesses.”

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Alibaba to crank up its research activities

Alibaba expects to invest more than US$15 billion in research and development over the next three years. The expanded R&D efforts includes the launch of a new Alibaba Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook (DAMI) which will focus on cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning, network security, visual computing, Natural Language Processing. The academy plans to open seven research labs in China (Beijing and Hangzhou), the United States (San Mateo and Bellevue), Russia (Moscow), Israel (Tel Aviv) and Singapore.

Alibaba Group’s Chief Technology Officer, Jeff ZHANG will be the head of the Academy.

“The Alibaba DAMO Academy will be at the forefront of developing next-generation technology that will spur the growth of Alibaba and our partners. We aim to discover breakthrough technologies that will enable greater efficiency, network security and ecosystem synergy for end-users and businesses everywhere,” said Jeff ZHANG.

The Academy will set up an advisory board of globally renowned educators and researchers, including:

  • Avi Wigderson, Professor of Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
  • George Church, Professor of Harvard University and Professor of Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Henry M. Levy, Professor and Director of the School of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington
  • Hong MEI, Professor and Vice President of Beijing Institute of Technology
  • Jeannette Wing, Director of the Data Science Institute, Professor of Computer Science, Columbia University
  • Kai LI, Professor of Princeton University
  • Michael I. Jordan, Professor of University of California, Berkeley
  • Ru HUANG, Professor and Dean of School of Electronics Engineering and Computer Science, Peking University
  • Wen GAO, Professor and Dean of Faculty of Information and Engineering Sciences, Peking University
  • Zhaohui WU, President, Zhejiang University

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mellanox Supplies Network Adapters for Alibaba's 25G RoCE Ethernet Cloud

Mellanox Technologies confirmed that its 25GbE and 100GbE ConnectX®-4 EN family of Ethernet adapters has been deployed in Alibaba's data centers.

Key capabilities of the Mellanox ConnectX-4 Network Interface Cards (NICs):

  • RoCE - RDMA over Converged Ethernet - RDMA (Remote Direct Memory Access) technology is designed to solve the delay of server-side data processing in network transmission, as it enables network adapters to access the application buffer directly, bypassing the kernel, the CPU, and the protocol stack, so the CPU can perform more useful tasks during the I/O transport. 
  • RDMA (RoCE), based on converged Ethernet, can be implemented on an existing open Ethernet network. With RoCE, there is no need to convert data centers legacy infrastructures, which allows companies to save on capital spending
  • DPDK - Data Path Development Kit - provides a framework for fast packet processing in data plane applications. The tool set allows developers to rapidly build new prototypes. The Mellanox open source DPDK software enables industry standard servers and provides the best performance to support large-scale, efficient production deployments of Network Function Virtualization (NFV) solutions such as gateways, load balancers, and enhanced security solutions that help prevent denial of service attacks in the data center.


http://www.mellanox.com

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Alibaba's Q2 cloud revenue rises 96% to US$359 million

Alibaba Group reported that Q2 2017 revenue from cloud computing reach RMB2,431 million (US$359 million), up 96% year-over-year.

Alibaba said the number of paying customers of its cloud computing business grew to 1,011,000 from 874,000 in the previous quarter. Operating loss from cloud computing was RMB532 million (US$78 million) and adjusted EBITA loss was RMB103 million (US$15 million).

Alibaba Cloud is seeing improved revenue mix of higher valued-added services, as reflected by ongoing ARPU expansion.

The company says market expansion is its top priority. Some highlights for Q2:

  • Alibaba Cloud launched several new products that lower the barrier of migrating large-scale data to cloud services for traditional companies. For example, Cloud Storage Gateway allows customers to seamlessly connect their on-premise storage with Alibaba Cloud storage. Lightning Cube, a petabyte-scale data transport solution, helps enterprises to transfer large amounts of data at high speed between their data centers and Alibaba Cloud through portable storage appliances. 
  • Alibaba Cloud is expanding its Elastic Computing Service product portfolio. As of mid-August 2017, Alibaba Cloud is providing 19 types of Elastic Computing Service products that can be applied to 173 application scenarios, such as artificial intelligence, healthcare, video streaming, finance, e-commerce, and IoT.
  • Selected enterprise customers in China include: CITIC Group, a major state-owned multinational diversified company in China; China Huaneng Group, a fortune 500 company; PICC Finance, a subsidiary of PICC, one of the largest insurance companies in Asia.
  • Alibaba Cloud announced plans to build two new data centers in Malaysia and Indonesia, adding to its presence in over 14 countries and regions.


http://www.alibabagroup.com/en/ir/earnings

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Keeping an eye on Alibaba Cloud, Aliyun – Part 3

In the days before President Trump's inauguration in January, Alibaba's Jack Ma was among the parade of billionaires and other dignitaries appearing at Trump Tower in New York City. At an impromptu press conference with Trump following the meeting, Jack Ma promised to create 1 million jobs in the U.S. within five years.  This week, Jack Ma is back on U.S. soil to host the Alibaba Gateway 17 conference in Detroit, Michigan, where the central proposition is that Alibaba's e-commerce platform is the gateway for small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. to access the booming Chinese economy. The Alibaba Cloud platform is a key enabler of this gateway.

Ma argues that the figure of one million new U.S. jobs is not implausible. After all, Alibaba claims to be responsible for the creation of 30 million new jobs in China already and current growth rates for the main Alibaba are impressive:

•   Core commerce business units (Taobao, Alibaba.com TMALL) - 45% YoY, 62% EBITA margin.

•   Alibaba Cloud - 121% YoY, -7% EBITA margin.

•   Digital Media and Entertainment (Youku) - 271% YoY, -44% EBITA margin.

For this year, Alibaba expects to generate $10.0 billion in free cash flow, growing at 37% CAGR. The guidance for FY 2018 calls for revenue growth in the 45-49% range, among the best in the world for companies of its size. As previously mentioned in this series, Alibaba's gross merchandise value (GMV) is expected to hit $547 billion this year and the target is $1 trillion for FY 2020. Since Alibaba already accounts for 11% of all retail sales in China, the company is seeking much of its future growth to come from overseas. Hence, this week's Alibaba Gateway 17 conference in Detroit hopes American SMBs will jump on board, lured by the 500 million active Chinese consumers on the platform.

Given the size of its operations in China, it is no exaggeration to say that Alibaba is built on data. During its November 11th selfie shopping festival last autumn, online ordering reached a peak of 175,000 transactions per second for a total of 657 million delivery orders that data. With data centres capable of handling such a load, it is clear that Aliyun's cloud capacity is highly scalable. Its data centre architecture, while not as publicly transparent as that of Facebook, Microsoft or Google, evidently have succeeded in overcoming the technical challenges involved in moving so much data so quickly across data centres and national network.

Among the technical skills required to operate at such scale is the search engine and personalisation algorithms to ensure that each user can find the product, services and entertainment that best matches their unique profile. Alibaba says it has 507 million mobile active users and over 1 billion active listings in its database of products and content. As AWS and Google, Alibaba is moving swiftly to implement speech recognition as a new customer input for generating system requests. Ultimately this requires a knowledge graph matched to an evolving user profile. Millions of customer inputs or even customer support inquiries must be processed for the 100,000+ merchants on the Alibaba platform already.

As noted previously, Aliyun's major domestic data centres are in Beijing, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Zhangbei and Shenzhen. Other active data centres are located in Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Silicon Valley. The company has announced plans to expand this fleet to 17 data centres, including many in neighbouring Asian countries.

Intel, ARM, Nvidia and Barefoot

One of Alibaba's high-profile partnerships to solve the scalability challenge is with Intel.  Earlier this year, Aliyun kicked off a pilot program with Intel for a cloud-based FPGA acceleration service. Specifically, Aliyun will use Intel Arria 10 FPGAs, Intel Xeon processor-based servers and software development tools for application acceleration as a ready-to-go pre-configured infrastructure. The Aliyun service offers systems designers cloud-based workload acceleration as an alternative to investing in on-premises FPGA infrastructure. It might not be all Intel inside for future Aliyun data centres. In April 2016, a China-based Green Computing Consortium (GCC) was formed with the goal of establishing a deep ecosystem in China for big data, enterprise and cloud computing platforms based on the ARM architecture. Under this consortium, ARM is working with Alibaba, Baidu, China National Software and Service, Dell. Guizhou Huaxintong, the joint venture company of Guizhou and Qualcomm Hewlett Packard Enterprise/H3C (HPE), Lenovo and Phytium. Alibaba has also been working with Nvidia to develop its AI processing performance. In 2016, Aliyun stated that it would use Nvidia Tesla K40 GPUs to power a range of HPC, AI and deep learning applications.

Meanwhile, earlier this month Barefoot Networks, which is developing high-speed switching silicon, announced that Aliyun had adopted its 6.5 Tbit/s Tofino switch, claimed to be the fastest and P4-programmable switch chip. Although the size of this order was not disclosed, the deal suggests that Aliyun might be developing its own networking gear, much like Google and Facebook, rather than buying brand-name equipment from the traditional vendors.

Clean power for Aliyun?

In its mid-2017 investor presentations, Alibaba noted green data centres as an area of focus for Aliyun infrastructure. However, the Greenpeace Clicking Clean report from January 2017 criticised Alibaba for not committing to a timeline for 100% renewable energy for its data centre operations and for a lack of basic transparency about the energy efficiency of its existing facilities.

Will Alibaba and Aliyun catch on in the U.S.?

For Chinese multi-nationals already in the U.S. market, the opening of local Aliyun data centres is good news.  A seamless service on one hyperscale public cloud is easier to manage than having to host some in Aliyun China and some in AWS U.S. There is a good chance that Aliyun U.S. can capture many of the Chinese companies abroad. But are those customers enough to challenge AWS or Microsoft? Probably not.

Jack Ma's vision is decisively in favour of the little guy, the SMBs. His outreach to the U.S. gives entrepreneurs and independent farmers easy access to Chinese buyers. One criticism of Alibaba's global expansion plan, as noted in a recent Bloomberg perspective is that the company lacks the distribution logistics and warehouses in China that Amazon possesses in the U.S. Moving goods from the US to the Chinese market will never be as easy as domestic operations. There are other bi-lateral trade issues between the nations that stand in the way, such as tariffs and quotas on many types of products.

Then there is the question of capex investment needed to keep pace with Amazon, Microsoft and Google in the U.S. cloud market. Some of these players are investing multiple billions per quarter in the cloud infrastructure. While Alibaba did not provide capex guidance during its Investor presentations, the figures do not appear to be close to the levels of the U.S. players. Each of the U.S. public cloud giants has also made significant investments in network infrastructure.  For instance, Facebook and Google are teaming up to build the highest capacity, trans-Pacific cable system to date. The Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), which will stretch 12,800 km between Los Angeles and Hong Kong, will have an estimated cable capacity of 120 Tbit/s when it enters service in the summer of 2018. Both players are betting that their platforms will be super-heavy of trans-Pacific bandwidth. This level of commitment from Alibaba has not been evident, at least not yet.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Keeping an eye on Alibaba Cloud, Aliyun – Part 2

At its investor conference last week in Hangzhou, China, Alibaba's Aliyun cloud business unit disclosed plans to build out new data centres in lock step with the parent company's global e-commerce initiatives. The Asian economies are an area of focus. Another key principle in this overseas expansion is to form strategic partnerships, often the kind that the big U.S. public cloud players have been reluctant to pursue. By leveraging its core business-to-business ecommerce platform, Alibaba believes its cloud operations could attract many small to medium sized enterprises across Asia, particularly those seeking opportunities in China. Like with AWS, there is a focus on getting start-ups to move their operations into the cloud from the outset. For instance, Alibaba is looking to support Indonesia's 1,000 Start-ups Movement initiative, which was launched last year with the aim of nurturing 1,000 ventures by the year 2020.

Simon Hu, SVP of Alibaba Group and president of Alibaba Cloud, commented, "I believe Alibaba Cloud, as the only global cloud services provider originating from Asia, is uniquely positioned with cultural and contextual advantages to provide innovative data intelligence and computing capabilities to customers in this region. Establishing data centres in India and Indonesia will further strengthen our position in the region and across the globe".

Equinix accelerates connectivity into Aliyun

Earlier this month. Aliyun and Equinix, the global interconnection and data centre company, announced a collaboration to provide enterprises with direct, scalable access to Alibaba Cloud via the Equinix Cloud Exchange at its Hong Kong, Silicon Valley, Sydney and Washington DC International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres, with Frankfurt and London due to be added shortly. With the addition of direct access to Alibaba Cloud on Equinix Cloud Exchange in markets across Asia Pacific, EMEA and the Americas, Equinix can offer private access to Alibaba Cloud in five markets. Equinix noted that it previously offered access in its Singapore IBX. Alibaba Cloud is also a colocation customer in Dubai with Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (known as du). The deal could expand to other locations. Equinix operates 179 data centres in 44 markets worldwide.

India, Indonesia and Malaysia

Also this month, Aliyun announced plans to establish new data centres in Mumbai, India and Jakarta, Indonesia. Both facilities are expected to open during the current fiscal year, ending March 2018. Aliyun recently announced a data centre in Malaysia. The company said each of the new Asian data centres will offer a full suite of services, providing the flexibility for enterprises and organisations to build their entire IT infrastructure for business on Alibaba Cloud or run mission-critical and core applications on it. This brings the total number of Alibaba Cloud data centres to 17 worldwide, including mainland China, Australia, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S.

In India, Alibaba Cloud is working with Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), a subsidiary of Reliance Communications, to directly access Alibaba Cloud Express Connect via GCX's CLOUD X Fusion. In addition, Alibaba Cloud has established a global partnership with Tata Communications to provide direct access to Alibaba Cloud Express Connect via Tata Communications' IZO Private Connect service. In Malaysia, Alibaba signed an MoU with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia's digital economy development agency and the Hangzhou Municipal Government to connect the first e-hubs in the two countries under its Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP). The MoU seeks to build infrastructure for seamless cross-border e-commerce trade between Malaysia and China. In addition, Aliyun will take part in the Malaysia Multimedia Super Corridor initiatives, with a planned data centre in Malaysia later this year and certification program for local tech talents, to help local SMEs to succeed in the digital age through technology such as big data and Internet of Things (IoT). Aliyun has also been operating a data centre in Singapore since August 2015.

Big plans for Pakistan

In May, Alibaba signed a memorandum with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan to support ecommerce development of SMEs and financial services. The goal here is for Alibaba and Ant Financial to foster growth of worldwide exports of products by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Pakistan through ecommerce. The project is supported at the highest levels of the Pakistan government, with Alibaba Group's executive chairman, Jack Ma and prime minister Nawaz Sharif witnessed the signing of the MoU. Aliyun has not built or even announced plans for a data centre in Pakistan, but this would be a logical next step. The nearest already announced Aliyun data centre would be in Mumbai, which is not a viable option for political reasons.

Under its One Belt, One Road initiative, the government of China is heavily involved in building critical infrastructure in Pakistan. For instance, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which was announced in 2015, includes the construction of a new deep-water international commercial port at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea in the Pakistan Province of Baluchistan. There are also upgrades to the electrical grid, highway system and airports. If Aliyun were to build a hyperscale cloud data centre in Pakistan, we would expect further upgrades to the telecom infrastructure, including perhaps large capacity terrestrial fibre cables serving the length of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The full-service cloud pitch

While Aliyun continues to add to its portfolio of cloud services, often at a cadence remarkably similar to AWS, the parent company sees a bigger picture. Aliyun's mission is to move from Infrastructure-as-a-Service to Application-enhanced Cloud as a Service as rapidly as possible. There are a lot of Alibaba services under this umbrella, including:


  • Retail Cloud – Alibaba's Taobao.com and TMall application; Aliyun customers will list their products here.
  • Digital Marketing Cloud - Alimama.com, the online marketing service powered by data from Alibaba's core operations, providing customers visibility amongst Alibaba's base of buyers.
  • Logistics Cloud - Cai Niao for moving products to customers across China.
  • Digital Media Cloud - YouKu, the so-called YouTube of China, a video sharing platform and CDN that would be of interest to Aliyun customers as well.
  • Financial Services Cloud - Ant Financial, formerly known as AliPay, services include online payment processing, credit reporting, private banking and wealth management.
  • Customer Service Cloud – TIMI.
  • CityBrain – the company's SmartCity initiative, which aims to leverage AI and cloud scale to municipal traffic management, online utility management and city hall services.
  • Tailored Industry Solutions - Aliyun is working on pre-packaged and customised services for manufacturers, financial companies and hospitals.
Aliyun’s global data centres are also expected to play a role in the delivery of products sold on the Alibaba marketplaces to consumers in local markets. For instance, Alibaba is launching an AliExpress service for cross-border, direct-to-consumer retail from select Chinese manufacturers. AliExpress initially is focusing on buyers in the U.S., Russia, Spain, France, Brazil and the UK. The company claims 60 million active buyers over the past year. A similar Lazada shopping service is launching in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. All this activity is to meet company goal of growing the gross merchandise volume (GMV) transacted across Alibaba from an estimated $ 547 billion in 2017 to $1 trillion in 2020.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Keeping an eye on Alibaba Cloud, Aliyun – Part 1

Alibaba's Jack Ma made headlines across the world last week by laying out a plan for rapid global expansion of China's e-commerce behemoth. In an Investor Conference held at the company's Xixi headquarters in Hangzhou, China, Ma made the bold claim that Alibaba could reach $1 trillion in gross merchandise value by 2021 by becoming the primary online store for 2 billion people, as well as by expanding into new areas, one of which is the international public cloud services business. While Alibaba's investor event was overshadowed somewhat by the news that Amazon will spend $13.7 billion in cash to acquire Whole Foods, the premium U.S. grocery store chain, Jack Ma unveiled a strategy with clear potential to disrupt the cloud market.

Meanwhile, business at Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) is 'fantastic' and is only going to get better this year, according to the company CFO. For the most recent fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2017, the company reported revenue of RMB 38,579 million ($5,605 million), an increase of 60% year-over-year, including:

•   Revenue from core commerce of RMB31,570 million ($4,587 million), up 47% year-over-year.

•   Revenue from cloud computing of RMB 2,163 million ($314 million), up 103% year-over-year.

•   Revenue from digital media and entertainment of RMB 3,927 million ($571 million), up 234% year-over-year.

Growth at the parent company is primarily being driven by the steady increase in active buyers on its ecommerce platforms, both in numbers and in the value of goods and services being transacted. Annual active buyers reached 454 million, an increase of 31 million from the 12-month period ended on March 31, 2016. Mobile monthly active users (MAUs) on Alibaba Group’s China retail marketplaces reached 507 million in March, up 97 million over March 2016. Gross merchandise volume (GMV) transacted on Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces in fiscal year 2017 was RMB 3,767 billion ($547 billion), up 22% compared to RMB 3,092 billion in fiscal year 2016.

Alibaba Cloud, or Aliyun as it is known in Chinese, is firmly established as the leading infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud in mainland China and is moving rapidly to become a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider and a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) retailer. Some important Aliyun metrics emerged from the Investor presentation, including (with additional commentary):

·         Public cloud is growing: based on Gartner's figures from March 2017, Aliyun estimates the global public cloud market will amount to $245 billion in 2017, growing to $436 billion in 2021, a 15.9% CAGR.

·         China’s public cloud market is growing even faster, with Gartner figures showing China’s public cloud market, valued at $14 billion this year, growing to $25 billion in 2021, a 17.2% CAGR; by 2021, China’s share of the global public cloud market would still be under 6%, which seems odd given the country's share of global GDP is much higher and that ecommerce, social media and mobile technologies are booming in China - why so low versus the U.S. market?

·         Aliyun cited figures from IDC Tracker 2016 H1/H2 Global Cloud Market (IaaS), indicating it currently is the No.4 player in public cloud services worldwide, but with only a 3.2% share; No.1 was AWS, $8.4 billion, 46.1% share; No. 2 Microsoft, $1.4 billion, 7.6% share; No.3 IBM, $1.0 billion, 5.8% share; No.4 Alibaba, $0.57 billion, 3.2% share; No.5 Google, $0.519 billion, 2.9% share.

Clearly, AWS is dominating the public cloud market, especially in the U.S. The other U.S. public cloud players are investing aggressively to catch up and they too seem to have ambitions that reach to the sky. Alibaba's Jack Ma has previously been quoted in the press as saying that Alibaba would catch and surpass Amazon. When it comes to cloud services at least, this will be extremely difficult given its current 3.2% share versus AWS’ 46.1% share, and a capex budget that appears decisively smaller.

In its home market of China, Aliyun's IaaS revenue is equivalent to the next seven players combined. The numbers cited in IDC Tracker 2016 H1/H2 Global Cloud Market are as follows:

·         No.1 – Alibaba Group, $587 million, 40.7% market share

·         No.2 - China Telecom, $123 million, 8.5%

·         No.3 – Tencent, $106 million, 7.3%

·         No.4 – Kingsoft, $87 million, 6.0%

·         No.5 – Ucloud, $79 million, 5.5%

·         No.6 – Microsoft, $72 million, 5.0%

·         No.7 – China Unicom, $67 million, 4.6%

·         No.8 – AWS, $55 million, 3.8%

In addition, as of March 31, 2017 Aliyun had 874,000 paying customers, had 15 data centres worldwide and had 186 cloud service offers. It also claims a 96.7% retention rate amongst its top paying customers in Q1 2017 compared to a year earlier.

Over one-third of China’s Top 500 companies are on Alibaba Cloud, including China's Public Safety Bureau (PSB), CCTV, Sinopec, Sina Weibo, Xinhua News Agency,Toutiao, Geely, Mango TV, CEA, Quanmin Live, Panda TV and DJI, while two-thirds of Chinese Unicorn companies are on Alibaba Cloud. Global Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) now available on Aliyun include Accenture, SAP, Docker, here, SUSE, Haivision, Wowza, AppScale, AppEX, Hillstone, Checkpoint Software Technologies, Hitachi Data Systems and Red Hat.


Aliyun’s Computing Conference 2016 was attended by over 40,000 developers in person, with more than 7 million viewers online. At its investor conference, Aliyun also disclosed a number of major international brands that are now using its services, including Schneider Electric, Shisheido, Philips, Nestle and Vodafone, which is a good start. Nevertheless, attracting international companies will be harder, first, because Alibaba has only just recently begun building data centres outside of China, and two, they will be much less known and trusted than established brands such as IBM.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Equinix partners with China's Alibaba Cloud to expand cloud connectivity

Equinix, the global interconnection and data centre company, announced a collaboration with Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of China's Alibaba Group, to provide enterprises with direct, scalable access to Alibaba Cloud via the Equinix Cloud Exchange at its Hong Kong, Silicon Valley, Sydney and Washington DC International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres, with Frankfurt and London due to be added shortly.

Equinix noted that according to the U.S. International Trade Administration, the Chinese cloud market is forecast to grow 40% per year to 2020. Access to Alibaba Cloud is key for multinational customers seeking to expand cloud-based applications into the region. By offering multinationals secure, direct access to Alibaba Cloud, Equinix can provide connectivity to the suite of Alibaba cloud services, while Alibaba Cloud Express Connect provides access to its cloud network in mainland China.

With the addition of direct access to Alibaba Cloud on Equinix Cloud Exchange in markets across Asia Pacific, EMEA and the Americas, Equinix is able to offer private access to Alibaba Cloud in five markets. Equinix noted that it previously offered access in its Singapore IBX. Alibaba Cloud is also a colocation customer in Dubai with Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (known as du).

Alibaba Cloud provides a suite of global cloud computing services to support international customers' online businesses as well as Alibaba Group's own e-commerce ecosystem. Its international operations are headquartered in Singapore, with international teams based in Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, San Mateo, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.


Equinix operates 179 data centres in 44 markets worldwide. The Equinix Cloud Exchange offers direct private access to multiple cloud service providers and is available in 21 markets including: Amsterdam, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York, Osaka, Paris, Sao Paulo, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Washington DC and Zurich.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Alibaba Looks to Intel FPGAs for Cloud Acceleration Service

Alibaba Cloud (Aliyun), is kicking off a pilot program with Intel for a cloud-based FPGA (field programmable gate array) acceleration service.

Specifically, Aliyun will use Intel Arria 10 FPGAs, Intel Xeon processor-based servers and software development tools for application acceleration as a ready-to-go preconfigured infrastructure.  The Aliyun service offers systems designers cloud-based workload acceleration as an alternative to investing in on-premises FPGA infrastructure.

“At Alibaba Cloud, we offer customers access to a number of services in the cloud, and adding an FPGA-based acceleration offering means they can access that powerful computing without the cost or requirement of building out their own infrastructure,” said Jin Li, senior director, Alibaba Cloud. “This service greatly adds to our value as a leading provider of highly scalable cloud computing and data management services that provide businesses with flexible, reliable connectivity.”

“Intel FPGAs are enabling exciting new business models such as Alibaba’s approach of using FPGAs to accelerate diverse workloads via cloud services,” said Dan McNamara, corporate vice president and general manager, Intel Programmable Solutions Group. “In addition, Intel offers customers scalable solutions for accelerated computing with its data center leadership in Intel Xeon processors, FPGAs, optimized tools and software, and a global partner ecosystem across the spectrum of deployment models.”

http://www.intel.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Alibaba Cloud for Japan Ready for Launch

Alibaba Cloud for Japan is ready for commercial launch on December 15, 2016.

The service is provided by SB Cloud Corporation, which is a joint venture between SoftBank Corp. and Alibaba Group Holding Limited.

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, has the largest share of the Chinese market with its services. Its services provide the critical infrastructure that supports the Alibaba Group’s e-commerce sites, which recently processed a maximum 175,000 orders per second during this year’s Singles’ Day, a large-scale sale that takes place in China on November 11.

With Alibaba Cloud, customers can use Alibaba Group hosted data centers in China, the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore and other locations in addition to those hosted by SB Cloud in Japan.

https://www.sbcloud.co.jp/

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Alibaba Invests in Israel's InfinityAR Start-up

Infinity Augmented Reality, a start-up based in Israel, announced US$18 million in Series C funding for its software-based Augmented Reality engine.

The round was led by the Alibaba Group, the largest online and mobile commerce company in the world in terms of gross merchandise volume, with participation from InfinityAR’s existing Series B investor, SUN CORPORATION, a large Japanese public company.

“This is about so much more than the funds raised - it is about the strategic partnership,” said Motti Kushnir, CEO of InfinityAR. “With Alibaba’s endorsement, InfinityAR will further cement itself as a leading developer in the augmented reality space. We are very excited to partner with one of the world’s leading companies.”

InfinityAR has pioneered its solution for augmented reality headsets by using standard, off the shelf, mobile cameras and IMU to efficiently map the environment while also enabling Inside-Out Marker-less Orientation and Positional Tracking (SLAM) for the augmented reality world.

http://www.infinityar.com/

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Docker Signs Aliyun Cloud for Container Service

Aliyun, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, and Docker announced a commercial agreement to provide a Docker image store and distribution for Docker Hub on Alibaba Cloud. In addition, Alibaba Cloud will resell Commercially Supported (CS) Docker Engine and Docker Datacenter, enabling enterprises to manage their production workloads across the entire application lifecycle.

The companies said that because Docker Hub will be hosted locally in mainland China on Aliyun, users will experience faster downloads and UI response rates, enabling them to ship applications more frequently than before. Backed by Docker, Inc., Alibaba Cloud will also provide enterprise support options for CS Docker Engine and Docker Datacenter. Through the partnership, enterprises across China will be able to innovate more rapidly, accelerating time to value when building, shipping and running distributed applications.

“As enterprises in China and throughout the world begin to modernize their application environments, there has been an increasing demand for an easy solution to deploy Docker on Alibaba Cloud,” said Sicheng Yu, Vice President of Alibaba Group and General Manager of Alibaba Cloud Global. “Our partnership with Docker will bring enterprises the full lifecycle management needed to scale existing implementations into production. We look forward to working with Docker to help organizations with their journey as they move their workloads to Alibaba Cloud.”

http://www.docker.com
https://intl.aliyun.com/

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Alibaba Rack Up 156% Revenue Growth for AliCloud

Alibaba cited 156% YoY revenue for Aliyun, its cloud division, where the segment adjusted EBITA narrowed to $(24) million.  The figure puts Aliyun on a faster growth trajectory than AWS or Azure, which also reported strong growth numbers during the first half of 2016. However, Aliyun remains much smaller, with Q2 revenue of US$187 million.

Cloud computing paying customers increased 119% YoY to 577k.  Aliyun launched 319 new products and features during the quarter.

The company said Aliyun's adjusted EBITA margin significantly improved YoY due to robust revenue growth and economies of scale.

http://www.alibabagroup.com/en/ir/presentations/pre160811.pdf

See also