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October 14, 2016updated 13 Jan 2017 11:48am

AMD makes data centre play with Alibaba cloud computing deal

Intel is coming under increasing pressure from rivals looking to grab a share of the data ceetre market.

By Ellie Burns

In what may signal the start of a revival of its data centre chip business, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has announced a collaboration with Alibaba which will see the cloud giant use AMD’s technology to help expand its cloud offering.

Announced at the Alibaba Computing Conference, the two companies will work together to strengthen research and cooperation related to the use of AMD Radeon Pro GPU technology in Alibaba Cloud’s global data centres.

Simon Hu, Alibaba

Simon Hu, President, Alibaba Cloud Computing.

“The partnership between AMD and Alibaba Cloud will bring both of our customers more diversified, cloud-based graphic processing solutions. It is our vision to work together with leading technology firms like AMD to empower businesses in every industry with cutting-edge technologies and computing capabilities,” said Simon Hu, president of Alibaba Cloud.

The deal signals a golden opportunity for AMD to rival Intel in the lucrative data centre market. Graphics chips are emerging in the data centre space as an integral component, one which has the ability to process information in parallel.

In recent times, the US chip maker has been overtaken by competitor Nvidia in the graphics chip segment, while also struggling to compete with Intel in general purpose processors.  However, the deal with Alibaba may continue the company’s upward sales trajectory and aid in its attempt to return to profitability.

“The collaboration between AMD and Alibaba Cloud leverages the world-class technology and software engineering capabilities of both companies to meet the growing demand for standards-based GPU computing solutions capable of enabling more immersive and intuitive cloud services,” said AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su.

“Working closely with industry leaders like Alibaba Cloud helps ensure the investments AMD is making in our high-performance graphics and computing data centre products continue to align with the needs of the broader cloud market.”

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AMD is not the only company looking to take on Intel in the data centre space, with several of the largest tech companies in the world having come together to boost data centre server performance.

The creation of a new standard, called Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (OpenCAPI), has been undertaken by Google, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Micron Technologies, Mellanox Technologies, NVIDIA, Advanced Micro Devices, and Xilinx. Read more about the new standard here.

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