Alibaba Cloud Reveals Billion-Dollar 'Ecosystem Upgrade'

Alibaba Cloud Reveals Billion-Dollar ‘Ecosystem Upgrade’

Alibaba Cloud held its annual gabfest last week and unveiled some tasty new cloud services, as well as a billion-dollar “ecosystem upgrade” aimed at finding more customers outside of China.

Products include an upgrade to Alibaba Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN), which in version 2.0 scales to allow 5,000 routes on a global network, or more than 1,000 virtual private cloud attachments per router from transit. Alibaba Cloud says version 2.0 enables networks 1,000 times larger than was possible with its predecessor, all driven from a cloud interface.

Networks can span on-premises platforms around the world or resources in Alibaba Cloud regions.

Those consuming cloud storage can now consider ESSD Auto PL – a block storage service, according to Alibaba Cloud, that can deliver up to one million IOPS per disk and reach 4GB/sec. Alibaba Cloud touted the service as enabling “automatic scaling in seconds to…handle sudden surges in traffic.” However, the product documentation reveals that “on-demand performance configuration is primarily intended for predictable periodic I/O traffic scenarios.”

So maybe not quite auto-scaling for every occasion.

The centerpiece of the Alibaba Cloud launch was a “revamped ecosystem strategy” which, over three years, will disburse $1 billion “to support partners’ technology innovation and market expansion.”

The $1 billion includes “financial and non-financial incentives, such as funding, rebates, and go-to-market initiatives.”

Which sounds like a vanilla channel program.

But Alibaba Cloud is not a vanilla cloud. The company is said to have built an infrastructure that could be more efficient than Google’s and innovated with a cloud desktop appliance, Kubernetes-based cloud-native database, and proprietary server architecture.

These efforts are impressive and help it stand out from other clouds that have developed different specialties.

Alibaba Cloud also has its roots in China. Therefore, it is subject to laws that, in theory, allow Beijing to demand access to information about its customers and the disposition of its infrastructure, for national security reasons.

This possibility has been repeatedly cited by governments outside of China as an extraordinary risk to users. The United States, for example, took a “Clean Cloud” position under the Trump administration. The Biden administration continued with this policy, which seeks to “prevent America’s most sensitive personal information and our companies’ most valuable intellectual property, including COVID-19 vaccine research, from being stored and processed on cloud-based systems built or operated by untrusted vendors, such as Alibaba, Baidu, China Mobile, China Telecom and Tencent. »

This is not language that encourages customers to shop with Alibaba Cloud!

Which brings us to the billion dollars that Alibaba Cloud will spend on its “ecosystem upgrade”. It is unclear whether this is all new money, and some whether they will go to service and advisory centers in Malaysia, Portugal and Mexico City.

But much of it will be for partners — a community that typically revolves around technology vendors who can either generate mass market interest or allow them to tap into lucrative niches. While Alibaba Cloud is very strong in China and doing well in Southeast Asia, there is little evidence of huge customer enthusiasm in Europe or the Americas.

Maybe a billion dollars can change that. But so do the lingering trade tensions between China and the rest of the world. ®

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