Alibaba unveiled a series of performance upgrades to its cloud platform this week in a bid to compete more effectively for big data workloads with other large cloud incumbents, and clarified its position on data protection.
The company said it is adding solid state drive (SSD) backed cloud storage, which will massively improve read-write performance over its existing HDD-based offerings, and virtual private cloud services (VPC) for high performance compute and analytics workloads. It’s also boosting performance with virtualised GPU-based technology.
“The huge amount of data and advanced computing capacity has brought great business opportunities to the industry,” said Wensong Zhang, chief technology officer of Aliyun, Alibaba’s cloud division.
“Deep learning and high-performance computing have been widely adopted in Alibaba Group for internal use. Aliyun will roll out high-performance computing services and accelerators based on GPU technology that could be applied in image recognition and deep learning to expand the boundaries of business,” Zhang said.
The company also released what it is calling a data protection pact. In its proposal Alibaba said customers will have “absolute ownership” over all of the data generated or sent to the company’s cloud services, and the “right to select whatever services they choose to securely process their data.”
It also said it would strengthen its threat protection and disaster recovery capabilities in order to reassure customers of its ability to guard their data – and the data of their clients. The company did not, however, cite any specific standards or internationally recognised guidelines on data protection in its plans.
“Without the self-discipline exercised by the banking industry, the financial and economic prosperity that exists in modern-day society would not have ensued. Similarly, without common consensus and concrete action dedicated to data protection, the future for the [data technology] economy would be dim,” the company said in a statement.
“We hereby promise to strictly abide by this pledge, and encourage the entire industry to collectively exercise the self-regulation that is vital in promoting the sustainable development of this data technology economy.”