Intel and Alibaba launched an edge computing platform and a hybrid cloud partnership — along with a slew of other announcements — at the Alibaba Yunqi Conference in Hangzhou, China.
The edge platform is an open architecture for IoT applications that integrates artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud technologies for edge computing. It combines Intel’s processors, silicon acceleration technologies, and software with Alibaba Cloud IoT products such as its operating system for IoT applications.
The companies say it allows enterprises to develop customizable device-to-cloud IoT solutions for different edge computing scenarios such as industrial manufacturing and smart building.
An aluminum alloy die-casting company, Chongqing Refine-Yumei Die Casting Co. (YuMei), is the first enterprise to deploy the platform in its factories. YuMei says the product’s automatic detection capabilities, which integrate defect detection within the machine, allow it to identify defects five times faster compared to manual detection.
The partners also established the Apsara Stack Industry Alliance to promote Alibaba Cloud’s Apsara software — this is the cloud provider’s on-premises hybrid cloud stack. It will focus on original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and channel partners such as value-added resellers (VARs) that will build, sell, and support private cloud products running Apsara Stack.
While it will target China and the Asia-Pacific region, it is a global alliance and will announce other member companies in the future, according to an Intel spokesperson. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) isn’t a member — at least not yet — but it did recently announce that it will sell Alibaba Cloud’s hybrid stack on HPE infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region.
Intel and Alibaba say the alliance will also help small and medium-sized businesses access technologies and security on par with that of large organizations.
“Apsara Stack has more than one version,” an Intel spokesperson explained. “The first version focuses on large enterprise, which require more nodes. Alibaba just released the Apsara Stack Agility version that has been optimized for smaller deployments for small-to-medium sized businesses. Down the road, there will be more versions for various target audiences.”
Olympics and Beyond
In addition to teaming up on edge and hybrid cloud, the two companies announced a partnership to deliver volumetric content over the OBS Cloud for the first time at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Intel also officially became one of Alibaba AliOS’ strategic partners. AliOS is a transportation initiative that aims to build an intelligent road traffic network and transportation system. This effort will use 5G communication and edge computing based on Intel Xeon Scalable processors and the Intel Network Edge Virtualization Software Development Kit.
And in preparation for the Nov. 11 “Singles Day” — the Chinese shopping day that’s bigger than Black Friday — Alibaba says it will trial the next-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors and upcoming Intel Optane DC persistent memory with Alibaba’s Tair workload.