On the new computing system

Today, the 2022 Hangzhou Yunqi Conference officially opened.

At the conference, Alibaba announced that the self-developed CPU Yitian 710 has been widely used, and that 20% of Alibaba Cloud's new computing power will use self-developed CPU in the next two years.

At present, Yitian 710 has been deployed on a large scale in Alibaba Cloud data center and served Alibaba and many Internet technology companies in the form of cloud. The cost performance ratio of computing power has been increased by more than 30%, and the power consumption per unit computing power has been reduced by 60%. This is China's first self-developed CPU for large-scale cloud applications.

Zhang Jianfeng, president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, believes that a new round of scientific and technological change is developing in depth, and a new computing system is coming, which will bring profound changes to the IT hardware system, software R&D paradigm and the terminal world.

Zhang Jianfeng believes that the new computing system with cloud computing as its core is bringing three major changes:

• First of all, the cloud has restructured the entire IT hardware system, and the industrial chain of data centers, chips, servers and so on has undergone profound changes;

• Secondly, the paradigm of software R&D has undergone profound changes, with the trend of Serverless, low code, AI big model open source, etc., which has greatly improved the software production efficiency;

• Finally, the integration of cloud and end is accelerated, and computing power is transferred from end to cloud. Everything in the future is computer.

01 Reconstruct the entire IT hardware system

Zhang Jianfeng reviewed the evolution of cloud computing. Over the past decade, cloud innovation has mainly focused on the software field. First, distributed virtualization has emerged, and then resource pooling has been realized, forming a wide range of applications.

Now, cloud computing has gone from software innovation to software and hardware collaborative innovation, and the cloud is used to define the entire IT hardware system.

CIPU brings new computing architecture

This year, Alibaba Cloud released a cloud data center dedicated processor CIPU to replace CPU to manage and accelerate computing, storage and network resources. This is a new way of architecture, which represents the systematic innovation of cloud computing in the data center.

CIPU realizes the high performance of comprehensive dedicated hardware acceleration, including the ability of high bandwidth, high throughput and elastic RDMA. The combined performance of "Feitian+CIPU" is generally better than that of similar products in the industry, and the performance can be improved by more than 20%.

On this basis, Alibaba Cloud infrastructure has been widely built based on the CIPU architecture, and has built a full stack of self-developed infrastructure, such as self-developed CPU chip Yitian 710, Panjiu server, EIC high-performance network card, Panjiu switch, Panjiu liquid-cooled all-in-one machine, Panjiu liquid-cooled container and other self-developed hardware.

Yitian 710 realizes large-scale application

Last year, Alibaba released its first chip, "Built for the Cloud", Yitian 710. At present, Yitian 710 has been deployed on a large scale in Alibaba Cloud data center and served Alibaba and many Internet technology companies in the form of cloud. The cost performance ratio of computing power has been increased by more than 30%, and the power consumption per unit computing power has been reduced by 60%. This is China's first self-developed CPU for large-scale cloud applications.

During the "Double 11" period in 2021, the core trading system of Tmall Global will be smoothly migrated to the "Yitian 710" instance. Some well-known Chinese enterprises in the fields of scientific computing, smart phone industry and the Internet have significantly improved their cost-effectiveness after migrating to the Yitian 710 instance.

Zhang Jianfeng said that Alibaba Cloud will continue to expand the deployment scale of self-developed CPU in the future. It is expected that 20% of the new computing power will use self-developed CPU chip Yitian 710 in the next two years.

He believes that in the past ten years, Apsaras has laid a solid technical foundation for Alibaba Cloud and made the cloud realize its first leap. The self-developed CPU chip Yitian 710 and the next-generation cloud computing architecture CIPU will build a second technology curve for Alibaba Cloud, which is the core competitiveness of cloud-based next-generation technology construction.

02 Software R&D paradigm has undergone profound changes

The transformation of computing system will not only take place in the IT hardware world, but also in the paradigm of software research and development. Zhang Jianfeng believes that the transformation of software R&D paradigm has three levels:

• The first is the rise of emerging software development methods, with a comprehensive serverless software architecture;

• The second is that software development is no longer the patent of programmers, and low code allows 80% of applications to be directly developed by business personnel in the future;

• The third is that all software will be AI in the future. Open source of large models will accelerate the true popularity of AI.

Comprehensive serverless software architecture

Serverless will turn cloud computing from a resource into a capability.

Zhang Jianfeng said that in the past, cloud computing replaced physical servers with cloud servers, but customers still purchased cloud resources in the mode of "several cores and several gigabytes of servers". In the future, cloud computing will be fully serverless, closer to the "grid" mode, and pay according to the number of calls.

This will bring about profound changes in software development methods. The software architecture will be migrated from the original mainframe architecture to the serverless architecture. Customers only need to develop business logic, and no longer need to care about operation and maintenance issues.

In addition, the Serverless architecture can reduce the threshold of software development, provide more prefabricated modules, and greatly improve software production efficiency. For example, a tobacco company only needs two developers to make a complete logistics system.

For emerging Internet applications, the Serverless architecture allows applications to easily resist traffic peaks. Take Pumpkin Movie as an example, the Serverless architecture allows this video app to cope with millions of traffic unattended, and the total cost is 40% lower than before.

Low code will further lower the threshold of application development

Zhang Jianfeng believes that in the future, 80% of applications will be developed by business personnel. If you do not understand low code, you will not use word 20 years ago.

The data shows that more than 5 million low-code applications have been added in the past two years, and more than 3.8 million low-code developers have been gathered.

• In Liugang, Guangxi: Zhang Liang, a worker in the exit train room of the cold rolling mill, developed a dangerous area management application on the nail in ten minutes. Only the operation task or equipment repair personnel can sweep their faces and enter.

• At FAW-VW: low code development for all employees has become the norm. FAW-Volkswagen has more than 9000 low-code developers, 90% of whom are front-line business personnel.

• In Huanghua Middle School, Gulin County, Sichuan Province: Peng Long, a rural math teacher, developed 43 software with low code on the nail, which can build an application in as soon as one hour, and build a digital campus at a very low cost.

Software AI

Finally, more and more software will be AI, and open source of large models will promote the true popularity of AI.

Zhang Jianfeng said that open source is the core driving force of software progress. In the past, open source has promoted the progress of software architecture. In the future, open source will also promote the progress and popularization of AI applications.

At present, Dharma Academy has opened more than 300 high-quality models on the new AI model community Magic Building ModelScope, which can help developers develop AI applications quickly using the basic model.

03 Accelerated integration of cloud, everything is computer

Today, cloud computing is creating more and more terminal forms. Decades ago, mobile phones could only be used to make phone calls. Now, mobile phones are a computer in hand. In the past, cars were not only about "horsepower", but now they need to compete for "computational power" to become a "four-wheel computer".

Zhang Jianfeng believes that cloud convergence is accelerating and computing power is constantly shifting from the terminal to the cloud, which makes the terminal break through the physical limit. Not only will mobile phones, computers, cars and speakers become computers, but everything in the future will be computers.

For example, Rokid connects Alibaba Cloud's shadowless architecture in its AR glasses. By using the computing power on the cloud, users can open glasses weighing only 85g, chat with people, work, and do 3D rendering, big data programming and other complex work in the virtual reality picture in front of them.

On the PC side, Alibaba Cloud will continue to combine RISC-V chips with shadowless architecture in the future to enable innovative terminals to have higher performance, lower energy consumption, and achieve full-stack self-development.

At present, Alibaba has become the leader of global RISC-V technology and ecological development, and has completed the adaptation of cloud operating system, taking an important step of end-to-end cloud integration.

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