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Intel FPGAs power Alibaba Cloud

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Intel’s field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are now powering the acceleration-as-a-service of Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group.
The acceleration service, which can be launched from the Alibaba Cloud website, enables customers to develop and deploy accelerator solutions in the cloud for artificial intelligence (AI) inference, video streaming analytics, database acceleration and other fields where intense computing is required.
The acceleration-as-a-service with Intel FPGAs, also known as Alibaba Cloud’s F1 Instance, provides users access to cloud acceleration in a pay-as-you go model, with no need for upfront hardware investments.
“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,” says Jin Li, vice-president of Alibaba Cloud. “Another key value of FPGAs is that they provide high performance at low power, and the flexibility for managing diverse computing workloads.”
“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,” says John Sakamoto, vice-president: communications and data centre solutions at Intel Programmable Solutions Group. “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 part of the Intel deployment, Alibaba Cloud users will have access to the Acceleration Stack for Intel Xeon CPU with FPGAs, which offers a common developer interface, abstracted hardware design, and development tools that support hardware or software development flows (OpenCL or RTL) that the developer is most familiar with.
Users will also have access to a rich ecosystem of IP for genomics, machine learning, data analytics, cyber security, financial computation and video transcoding.