Technology

Alibaba unveils custom ARM-based server chip for cloud computing data centers

People wearing face masks walk past the offices of Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba in Beijing on August 10, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said on Tuesday it has developed a processor that will be used to power servers in its data centers.

(Sign up to our Technology newsletter, Today's Cache, for insights on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, business and policy. Click here to subscribe for free.)

The development marks the latest foray into semiconductors for the company, mirroring moves from other global cloud computing players while also dovetailing with Chinese government's priorities to boost the nation's chip sector.

Developed by Alibaba's in-house semiconductor unit T-Head, the chip — the Yitian 710 — is based on architecture from UK-based Arm Ltd, and will not be available for commercial use outside of Alibaba.

Alibaba is the largest cloud computing provider in China by market share and the third-largest globally, according to research firm Gartner.

Its rivals in the sector have also released server chips of their own. Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Amazon.com Inc rely on their respective Kunpeng and Graviton chips to power their cloud computing infrastructure.

Also Read: China slaps $2.8 bn fine on Ma’s Alibaba

Alibaba also said it has a developed proprietary line of servers, called Panjiu, and added that it will make the source code for its Xuantie series of IP cores — based on the RISC-Vopen source architecture — available to the public. Alibaba unveiled the Xuantie in 2019.

China's government has long urged industry to invest in the domestic chip sector, which remains behind that of global counterparts.

The country remains reliant on overseas companies for much of its advanced semiconductors, a vulnerability brought forth when U.S. sanctions against Huawei crippled that company's booming smartphone business.

In addition to Alibaba, search giant Baidu Inc, phone maker Xiaomi Corp, and a number of Chinese automotive and appliance companies have begun investing in chips.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 9:11:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/alibaba-unveils-custom-arm-based-server-chip-for-cloud-computing-data-centers/article37065563.ece

Next Story