From building a deep foundation to expose Alibaba Cloud, which is “hardening”

The value of a certain technology to an enterprise, an industry and even a country has been fully self-proven and other proofs from electricity, communications, etc. in the previous industrial revolutions.

So at the moment, which technologies can have the same power of thunder, and cloud computing that can be combined with thousands of industries, naturally should have a name.

In an industry discussion in 2008, only Jack Ma firmly stood on the side of “cloud computing”, thinking that “if we don’t do cloud computing, Ali will die.” Today, Alibaba Cloud is at the center of the intelligent industry revolution. In the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Global Databases, Alibaba Cloud has successfully entered the “Challenger” quadrant, and has been selected as the only Chinese company in this authoritative selection for two consecutive years.

The result is the best example. However, the past is a thing of the past, and the question that Alibaba Cloud should answer most at the moment is where it will take cloud computing next.

From building a deep foundation to expose Alibaba Cloud, which is “hardening”

At the 2020 Alibaba Cloud Summit just held, Zhang Jianfeng, President of Alibaba Cloud, answered this question-Alibaba Cloud will continue to be the foundation of Deep Cloud, and increase self-research efforts in the fields of databases, data centers, switches, chips, etc. The characteristics of the cloud to build a complete set of basic systems.

How determined is Alibaba Cloud? From the investment of more than 200 billion yuan in three years, the scale of betting on recruiting 5,000 top technology talents can be seen.

The giant ship Alibaba Cloud made a roaring sound to set off for the next sea area, but how should every living being standing under the “cloud” understand this grand proposition of the times? What kind of future treasure map is hidden behind the simple four words of “doing a deep foundation”.

Standing at the intersection of the times, national fortunes, and technological changes, we try to focus everyone’s perspectives from the supreme and far-reaching sea of ​​intelligent stars to the most succinct daily life in the market.

The “Alibaba Cloud” that is getting hard

How do you and I relate to cloud computing today?

When you wake up in the morning, the smart speaker has completed the cloud training, knowing that you were in a bad mood when you said “good morning” today, and shouted “come on, master” to send you out. The taxi software has completed countless calculations in the cloud, found the fastest car for you, and sent it to the gate of the community.

Sitting at work, you turn on the company computer, and suddenly you find that you didn’t have time to send the PPT you made last night, but it doesn’t matter, you log in to your account on the office software, and the files are quickly synced from the cloud.

When you get off work, the traffic brain updates the road congestion situation every second. You decide to work overtime until the taxi can be reimbursed. You can browse Taobao, swipe Weibo, and play games. These software are calling a lot of cloud computing resources for you all the time. .

It is not difficult to find that cloud services are making our lives easier and lighter than ever. For most enterprise managers, the number one attraction of “going to the cloud” is to hand over computing, storage, internal network, etc. to cloud servers, which has more advantages in operation and maintenance costs, business expansion, and performance management.

From building a deep foundation to expose Alibaba Cloud, which is “hardening”

Smart cloud is the premise of conquering the market. Why does Alibaba Cloud “make a deep foundation” and make it “hard”? After answering this question, we can understand what it means for Alibaba Cloud to continue to “reload” the cloud computing infrastructure.

The “cloud” needs to be hardened, or the core reason why cloud service providers need to work on infrastructure mainly comes from changes in three aspects:

Change 1, cloud computing is transforming into a social universal technology. Most of the enterprises that actively “going to the cloud” in the previous stage were the technical solutions chosen by digital enterprises such as Internet companies in order to reduce server costs.

However, with the increase of new infrastructure, more and more traditional organizations, such as government, electricity, oil, manufacturing, retail, etc., have extended an olive branch to cloud computing technology. These “heavy enterprises” need higher computing power and more Supported by highly reliable and more secure cloud services. This determines that cloud service providers must also gather more powerful cloud computing capabilities, and fully forge and strengthen the entire process from operating systems, security management, and data centers to access a wider range of application scenarios.

The second change is that intelligent transformation cannot be based on software alone. Why it is said that the expansion of cloud service scenarios must become “hard”, because to transform these traditional enterprises, in addition to the “soft power” empowerment of servers and SaaS, it is also inseparable from the hardware transformation of the edge side and the terminal side.

For example, if cloud service manufacturers want to allow AI capabilities to penetrate into every corner of the factory, they must deploy certain smart cameras, sensors, etc. in the factory to transmit data to the cloud brain for calculation. Autonomous driving, smart cities, smart parks, etc., are inseparable from the integrated transformation of such a close integration of software and hardware, in order to maximize the value of cloud computing.

This also requires cloud service providers to output systems, computing power, models, and terminal IoT deployment solutions to traditional organizations in the form of solutions. The multi-terminal and large-scale intelligent digital system also brings new challenges to cloud storage and computing efficiency. Therefore, only the cloud is far from enough at present, and the comprehensive strength of network capabilities and terminal intelligence is also needed to obtain greater opportunities.

From building a deep foundation to expose Alibaba Cloud, which is “hardening”

The third change is to move forward with the burden of the risk of getting stuck in the neck. Today, governments and large enterprises are all going to the cloud one after another. When AI is accompanied by cloud services, it penetrates into all areas of society, and such a large project will not only worry about “stuck necks” in the face of changes in the situation, but also cloud service providers need to change The traditional practice of building core technical capabilities based on open source frameworks and open source software.

It is obvious that long-term problems cannot be solved by taking it, and powerful cloud manufacturers in China have also begun to take the road of outspokenness. The most difficult part is the “infrastructure” at the bottom of cloud computing technology. The self-research of chips, storage, servers and other heavy weapons is the premise guarantee that AI + cloud can travel far.

After understanding these changes, you may not be surprised that Alibaba Cloud proposes to “build a deep foundation” at this time. From the fundamental capabilities, that is, the basic layer, the innovation of chips, computing architecture, big data and other aspects will realize the evolution of China’s cloud service industry and become a cloud that nourishes industrial intelligence and becomes more “heavy”. Alibaba Cloud will undoubtedly make the examination questions of the times, There is an opportunity to break the point.

Blowout self-research: how Alibaba Cloud solves problems philosophically

Thinking along this direction, why is Alibaba Cloud able to undertake the important task of industrial transformation of “self-developed cloud”, what premise will it set sail on, and where will it lead the cloud computing infrastructure to go? Passengers” will be curious topic.

It’s a bit like the most famous philosophical question: where did you come from and where are you going? So, let’s deduce it logically.

Why is Alibaba Cloud able to give people a feeling that “the time is not for me” in the wave of cloud change?

We should start from the premise of “doing a deep foundation”, which is enough to represent the product support of its self-research ability.

From building a deep foundation to expose Alibaba Cloud, which is “hardening”

For Alibaba Cloud, this important “self-certification” is the Feitianyun operating system.

Apsara, born in 2009, is an ultra-large-scale general-purpose computing operating system independently developed by Alibaba Cloud and serving the world. It provides computing power to society in the form of an online public service.

When developing Feitian, it was not that there was no “short and fast” open source code to use, but Alibaba Cloud chose “independent research and development”. In the internal ridicule of “You can take the high-speed rail, why do you have to ride a bicycle to Shanghai?” In 2013, Alibaba Cloud Feitian achieved stable scheduling of 5K scale, becoming the first domestic independent research and development company with a large-scale general computing platform. , and completely put an end to the doubts of the outside world.

Today, Feitian can connect millions of servers around the world into a supercomputer, with millisecond-level response, billion-level files, and EB-level storage space.

Just how good it is, just look at how DingTalk, which is used by primary school students and working parties around the world, has not been downtime, and you can see how strong Alibaba Cloud is behind it.

Alibaba Cloud, which has won “Flying Sky”, can naturally replicate its self-research capabilities and development experience to more cloud computing fields with an invincible attitude.

For example, the “Dragon” project launched in 2016 aims to solve the performance loss of virtualization, and independently developed a new cloud server architecture-Dragon Architecture.

From building a deep foundation to expose Alibaba Cloud, which is “hardening”

What is virtualization loss? Simply put, it is to virtualize server computing resources so that they can be allocated to different customers on the cloud. However, after virtualization, hardware performance will always be discounted, and it will not be able to play 100% of the effect. The scale is large, and the cost is a bit painful.

Alibaba Cloud has spent several years offloading resources such as external cloud disk storage and VPC network to dedicated hardware chips through self-developed hardware modules, completely eliminating the problem of virtualization performance loss. The created Dragon Cloud Server can not only play 100% of the performance of physical machines, but also have the elasticity and minute-level delivery capabilities of virtual machines.

The actual combat confirmed that the Alibaba Cloud container service based on the Dragon architecture has a performance advantage of 10%-30% compared to physical machines. Not only does the cloud have the advantage of flexibility, but all the inconveniences have been eliminated, and many enterprises have quickly turned to the cloud. of choice.

Of course, if Alibaba Cloud wants to “harden”, it needs to gnaw far more than that.

For example, digital storage, how to solve practical problems such as the increase of heterogeneous data and the skyrocketing data increment, Alibaba Cloud engineers have developed the distributed storage system “Pangu”, which has carried out in-depth software and hardware collaborative optimization for the new generation of storage media and network architecture. , making data services such as finance and government affairs more reliable and easier to manage.

From building a deep foundation to expose Alibaba Cloud, which is “hardening”

The new challenge “network platform” for cloud service vendors mentioned earlier is also one of the “hard battles” that Alibaba Cloud is fighting. In order to ensure that enterprise users can efficiently connect to the cloud, Alibaba Cloud’s self-developed network platform “Luoshen” built AVS (Apsara vSwitch) based on Shenlong, which improved the performance by 4 times and the throughput by 20 times. Cloud” no longer struggles with bandwidth limitations.

In addition, Alibaba Cloud’s self-research also includes the PolarDB cloud-native database that can meet large-scale business scenarios, the Hanguang 800 chip based on Pingtou Ge’s self-developed architecture, and the Kirin liquid cooling that creatively soaks the server in coolant. Data center solutions and a series of product technologies.

It can be said that on the basis of Feitian, Alibaba Cloud’s “blowout self-research” is not only its own technological evolution roadmap, but also a guide to the evolution of cloud computing infrastructure.

Alibaba Cloud, which has completed the accumulation of self-research capabilities in the integration of software and hardware, and established its cloud technology moat, is also more confident to anchor in the unknown seas.

Breaking the dimensional wall: how the hardened Alibaba Cloud pierces the future

Seeing this, you may be curious, what is the journey and destination of this giant ship Alibaba Cloud?

Maybe we can’t predict every storm in our voyage, but with Aliyun holding a nautical chart, I think its route is clear:

1. A Chinese-style breakthrough in the underlying technology.

The boundaries of technical capabilities determine the size of the market for cloud service providers, as well as the cloud security and cloud potential of a country or an enterprise. Therefore, aiming at the most important underlying innovation of cloud computing is not only the business value of Alibaba Cloud, but also the social responsibility that Alibaba Cloud must undertake as a leading enterprise.

Facts have proved that Alibaba Cloud has created many feats that have never been broken by peers. For example, on Double 11 in 2019, Alibaba Cloud used its self-developed public cloud to support the world’s largest online transaction, and 100% of its core transaction system runs on the public cloud. Arrived.

From building a deep foundation to expose Alibaba Cloud, which is “hardening”

And Alibaba Cloud, which has fully proved itself, naturally has to march into the “no man’s land” of new technologies to ensure the autonomy and control of the cloud industry.

2. Industrialization dividends of infrastructure.

After the full cloud, Alibaba Cloud’s technical dividends began to extend to the hardware field. On the one hand, this will establish and improve a more controllable and reliable cloud ecosystem, thereby allowing Alibaba Cloud to reap greater business potential;

More importantly, with the increasing enrichment of self-developed cloud technology formations, the Alibaba Cloud aircraft carrier will also gain stronger maneuvering combat capabilities. This potential energy collides with the intelligent wave of new infrastructure, and the splash will nourish thousands of people. The transformation and growth of the industry will bring the value that will be far-reaching.

3. The technical commanding heights of the industry ecology.

On the Apsara system, Alibaba Cloud fully supports open source software such as Hadoop, Docker, and Spark, and provides rich APIs for equal use by developers.

With the explosion and release of self-developed technologies in the hardware field, Alibaba Cloud will open up new imaginations for developer support as an open and compatible ecosystem enabler.

The voyage sails of “cloud” are put into the hands of thousands of developers, and the creativity and innovation stimulated by this will enable countless people to stand on the commanding heights of Alibaba Cloud’s technology and accelerate their journey to the future.

Leading the whole society to cross the “invisible barriers” of infrastructure in the cloud era, Alibaba Cloud’s “hardening” is a starting gun pointing to the future.

Alibaba Cloud’s “giant ship”, which has taken the initiative to undertake the task of self-research and breakthrough innovation, is highly compatible with the wave of China’s industrial intelligent revolution.

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