An official statement was released by Intel today announcing that the much-awaited ‘Acceleration-as-a-Service’ of Alibaba Cloud will be powered by Intel Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs).
‘Alibaba Cloud’ is the cloud computing system of Alibaba group. It will be providing this new service called ‘Acceleration-as-a-Service’. This is basically an acceleration service. Users will be able to launch this service directly from the Alibaba Cloud website. It will let the customers develop and deploy accelerator solutions in the cloud for AI inference, database acceleration, video streaming analytics & such other fields that require intense computing.
This service with Intel FPGAs will be known as Alibaba cloud’s F1 instance. The users will not require any kind of upfront hardware investments since the cloud acceleration will be accessible in a pay-as-you-go model.
Jin Li, the vice president of Alibaba cloud was quoted as, “Intel FPGAs offer us a more cost-effective way to accelerate cloud-based application performance for our customers who are running business applications and demanding data and scientific workloads. Another key value of FPGAs is that they provide high performance at low power, and the flexibility for managing diverse computing workloads”
John Sakamoto, the vice president of Communications & Data Center Solutions, Intel Programmable Solutions Group, quoted, “Our collaboration with Alibaba Cloud brings forward FPGA-based accelerator capabilities and tools that will be offered to developers and end users as they work on large and intense computing workloads. A public cloud environment offers developers a place to start the FPGA journey, with virtually no initial capital outlay and a low-risk environment to experiment, that can scale to meet growing capacity requirements.”
As a result of this collaboration, Alibaba Cloud users are going to get various facilities including access to the Acceleration Stack for Intel Xenon CPU with FPGAs. Here they’ll get a common developer interface, abstract hardware designs & development tools supporting the most familiar hardware or software development flows (OpenCL or RTL). The users will also get to access a rich ecosystem of IP for data analytics, financial computation, genomics, video transcoding, cyber security & machine learning.