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Jeff Zhang, president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.
Alibaba Cloud delivers new server chips to optimise cloud computing services
Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

Alibaba Cloud, the digital tech and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, has developed an in-house processor design for use in its data centres. 

The server chips, named Yitian 710, are custom-built by Alibaba Group’s chip development business, T-Head. Powered by these chips, Alibaba Cloud also announced the development of its proprietary servers, called Panjiu. The combination is set to enhance the company’s leading cloud services by optimising computing performance and energy efficiency.

Jeff Zhang, president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, said: “Customising our own server chips is consistent with our ongoing efforts toward boosting our computing capabilities with better performance and improved energy efficiency.

“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.

“Together with our global partners including Intel, Nvidia, AMD and Arm, we will continue to innovate our compute infrastructure and offer diverse computing services for our global customers.”

Built upon advanced 5nm process technology, Yitian 710 is powered by 128 Arm cores with 3.2GHz top clock speed to deliver exceptional performance and excellent energy efficiency. Each processor chip has 60 billion integrated transistors. Yitian 710 is the first server processor that is compatible with the latest Armv9 architecture and includes 8 DDR5 channels and 96-lane PCIe 5.0, providing high memory and I/O bandwidth.

Yitian 710 achieved a score of 440 in SPECint2017 (a standard benchmark to measure CPU integer processing power), surpassing that of the current state-of-the-art Arm server processor by 20% in performance and 50% in energy efficiency, according to Alibaba..

Panjiu was developed for the next-generation of cloud-native infrastructure. By separating computing from storage, the servers are optimised for both general-purpose and specialised AI computing, as well as high-performance storage. With a modular design approach for large-scale data center deployment, these servers are expected to deliver exceptional economic value for a wide variety of cloud-native workloads, such as containerised applications and computed optimised workloads.

Find out more about Digital Transformation Week North America, taking place on November 9-10 2021, a virtual event and conference exploring advanced DTX strategies for a ‘digital everything’ world. 

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