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Alibaba Cloud’s hyperscale data centres ideal for broadcast & streaming operators

Alibaba Cloud has added three more hyperscale data centres to its portfolio in China, bringing its total number of facilities in the region to five, with plans to add another 10 more in the coming years.

The new data centres are located in Hangzhou, Nantong and Ulanqab (in Inner Mongolia). 

The three new facilities have also deployed Alibaba Cloud’s self-developed technologies such as the X-Dragon architecture, the Hanguang 800 AI inference chip, and the Apsara Distributed Operating System. These technologies will deliver “hyperscale computing as well as robust and scalable application and intelligent services”.

Research analyst IDC defines a hyperscale data centre, used by many broadcasters and streaming companies to store data and to host their applications, as one that covers at least 5,000 servers and 10,000 sq ft of space. Hyperscale data centres are increasingly used for high-volume traffic or computing-intensive applications in the cloud, such as 3D rendering, virtual reality workloads and big data analytics.

Alibaba Cloud says the Hangzhou data centre is now “one of the world’s largest server clusters that are submerged in liquid coolant”. The coolant keeps IT hardware chilled and reduces energy consumption by more than 70%.

Moreover, the data centre’s power usage effectiveness (PUE) is almost equal to 1.0, which means that almost all energy is used for computing.

In the Nantong data centre, Alibaba Cloud uses intelligent robots to automate monitoring and maintenance tasks. The Ulanqab data centre, on the other hand, will leverage the free-air cooling system – particularly in winter when temperatures can drop to -22° Celsius. This means there is no requirement for additional machine-powered cooling for about 10 months during an entire year. 

Alibaba Cloud will invest 200 billion yuan (US$28 billion) in the next three years to continue developing a next-generation cloud infrastructure to support its global clients with their digital transformation needs. 

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