Alibaba Cloud turns on new hyperscale data centres in China

The three new facilities are part of the Chinese tech giant's three-year $28 billion investment to modernise its cloud infrastructure and support customers' digital transformation needs.

Alibaba Cloud has added three hyperscale data centres in China and plans to build more over the next few years. The move is part of the Chinese tech giant's $28 billion investment to modernise its cloud infrastructure and support customers' digital transformation needs. 

Located in Hangzhou, the Jiangsu Province's Nantong, and Inner Mongolia's Ulangab, the three new sites run on Alibaba's own technologies including its Apsara Distributed OS, Hanguang 800 AI chip, and X-dragon architecture. The launch was part of its previous announcement to park another $28 billion over three years to build out its cloud infrastructure, the company said in a statement Tuesday. 

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The new facilities also tapped various green technologies such as wind energy and liquid cooling, with its Hangzhou site touted to be one of the world's largest server clusters to be submerged in liquid coolant -- used to quickly cool hardware equipment. This, Alibaba said, helped slash power consumption by at least 70%. It added that its power usage effectiveness (PUE) was nearing the targeted 1.0, which meant almost all of its energy was used for computing.

It Ulanqab site used natural air as a cooling system, since temperatures in the Inner Mongolia city would drop to as low as -22 degrees Celsius during winter and no additional machine-powered cooling system was needed for 10 months in the year. Alibaba further noted that its Nantong data centre tapped intelligent robots to carry out automated monitoring and maintenance tasks. 

The three new sites were an additional two existing hyperscale data centres in Zhangbei and Heyuan, both of which had supported workload spikes during Alibaba's November 11 online shopping festival.

The Chinese tech vendor said it was planning to build at least 10 more hyperscale data centres in China over "the coming years", as it looked to facilitate enterprises' move towards digital in the post-pandemic era.

Alibaba Cloud operates data centres in 63 availability zones across 21 regions, including Singapore and Indonesia. The business unit contributed $1.725 billion in revenue in the group's latest quarter, up 58% year-on-year with increases in its public and hybrid cloud services.