Alibaba Cloud going to develop your own server chip. It will be compatible with the latest Armv9 architecture and will use it to develop its own servers for its data centers, which it intends to use for general purposes, storage and specialized Artificial Intelligence computing. The company thus joins the growing trend in many technologies for the development of their own chips for different purposes, which we have just seen in the presentation of the new Apple equipment and SoCs. But above all, for its integration into company servers. Huawei already has them, Microsoft is working on them and Facebook is considering its design.
The company has developed the custom chip, which has been commissioned by its chip development division, T-Head. It has been created using 5 nanometer technology, has 128 ARM cores and a top speed of 3.2 GHz. It is called Yitian 710, and each has 60 billion built-in transistors, as well as eight 96-track DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 channels.
Alibaba has also mentioned, in the framework of its conference Alibaba Apsara, which is going to develop a range of its own servers, which it has named Panjiu, based on the new chip. There is no scheduled release date yet, and no clues as to when they will be operational. However, this does not mean that it will stop collaborating with its hardware partners, which include Intel, Nvidia, AMD and ARM. It will continue to have its chips and equipment in several of its systems.
It has been confirmed that Alibaba has plans to deploy these servers in modules for large-scale data centers, and prepare them for the management of native cloud workloads, among which are containerized applications. But without even an approximate date for the systems to be operational.
On the other hand, Alibaba has announced the step to open source the core of your XuanTie CPU, with chips based on the RISC-V architecture and launched in 2019. In this way, developers who want to will be able to create their own chips based on Alibaba’s CPU core. In addition, XuanTie-based software stacks will also go open source, including support for various operating systems, such as Linux, Android and AliOS, from Alibaba. The company has ensured that more services, development tools and SDKs will be available soon.
Yitian 710 is not Alibaba’s first chip, since since 2019 it has had its own Artificial Intelligence chip: the Hanguang 800, which has since been deployed in its cloud data centers to support various services, including search, recommendation and live streaming.