Simon Hu, president of Aliyun, Alibaba Group’s cloud-computing subsidiary, recently said that the company would need help from local partners to make progress in international markets.
China’s largest cloud computing company, which recently opened its first overseas data center in Silicon Valley and has a joint venture in Dubai, has made Hu’s pronouncement official. The company today announced it has formed a global partnership program that already includes some big I.T. and telecommunications players, among them Intel and Singtel.
Through its Marketplace Alliance Program (MAP), Aliyun hopes to collaborate with partners in targeted regions, leveraging their local expertise to provide cloud solutions tailored to the needs of business customers in international markets, the company said.
MAP “is designed to bring our customers the best cloud computing solutions by partnering some of the most respected technology brands in the world,” said Aliyun Vice President Ethan Yu in a statement. “We will continue to bring more partners online to grow our cloud computing ecosystem.” While Aliyun seeks to gain traction more quickly in foreign markets through partnerships, its partners in turn are looking to Aliyun for more business China and Asia.
In addition to Intel and Singtel, initial MAP partners include Equinix, a U.S.-based global provider of data centers and Internet exchanges; Hong Kong telco and information technology company PCCW; Hong Kong public utility Towngas; French website hosting and cloud services provider LINKBYNET; Dubai holding company Meraas Holdings.
Aliyun, which supplies the I.T. infrastructure powering Alibaba Group’s giant e-commerce marketplaces and other businesses, has been working with Intel for several years. In 2008, Aliyun decided to replace its IBM servers with less-expensive PC servers based on Intel’s X86 line of microprocessors.
As a MAP partner, Intel plans to promote joint Aliyun/Intel technology solutions “based on Intel architecture specifically tailored to the rapidly growing market of international public cloud consumers,“ said Raejeanne Skillern, general manager of Intel’s cloud service provider business, in a statement. Skillern noted Intel’s longstanding work with Aliyun in “optimizing hardware and software technology across the datacenter for Alibaba’s unique workloads.”
According to a story in Forbes, MAP launch partner Equinix supplies cloud vendors including Amazon Web Service and Microsoft Azure with high-speed interconnection points, which it calls Cloud Exchanges, between the public cloud and private infrastructure. Equinix has Cloud Exchanges in 21 markets, Forbes reported. Through MAP, cloud customers—including Chinese and North American companies—can obtain direct access to Aliyun’s platform via the Equinix Cloud Exchange in either Hong Kong or Silicon Valley.
“Our goal at Equinix is to provide on-demand and direct access to multiple clouds and multiple networks seamlessly around the globe,” said Chris Sharp, Equinix vice president for cloud innovation. “By joining MAP and offering access to its cloud services on Cloud Exchange, we are one step closer to fulfilling this goal, enabling our multinational customers the ability to expand their cloud-based applications across Asia, in a secure, direct manner,” he said.
Lim Seng Kong, managing director for Singtel’s global enterprise business, said MAP would allow the company to offer more choices in cloud infrastructure platforms to customers in China and globally. Through the parnership, "we can also provide the springboard for Aliyun to grow its footprint in the Asia-Pacific, which is one of the fastest growing markets for cloud services.”