Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd announced its strategic conception of building five self-designed, self-built cloud data centers in Hebei Province last September. According to the latest news unveiled, two cloud data centers will go into operation on Sept 12, while other three are still under construction and are expected to begin to operate in 2018.
In order to enhance its cloud computing capability to deliver better service to online shoppers as well as entrepreneurs in northern China, Alibaba decided to locate all five new cloud data centers in Zhangbei County in Zhangjiakou, a city of Hebei Province in northern China. The newly launched cloud data centers will also become the key computing infrastructure of the company to support its core businesses in big data, e-commerce, and cloud computing.
With a coverage of 13.3 hectares, the Zhangbei cloud data center clustering began construction in June 2015 and are expected to cost 6 billion yuan (US$89.93bn) and hold 1 million servers.
As a response to its “going North” strategy, Alibaba hopes the Zhangbei data center clustering can help gain an increased market share in northern China regions, strengthening its competitiveness in the intense competition with JD.com Inc., who is currently the biggest online shopping rival of Alibaba. Serving as the North China settlement center of Alibaba Group, Zhangbei data center clustering will be responsible for hosting 80 percent of its cloud and big data in North China.
As with Alibaba rapidly growing up into a world’s leading big data company, it has been looking to independently build high available and robust cloud data centers that perfectly match its scalability needs and make use of a reproducible IT infrastructure. Therefore, this is the first time that Aliabab doesn’t team up with telecom operators in building data centers.
Though the cloud business only contributes to 1 percent of Alibaba’s total income, the group has bet its future on cloud. It entered the cloud computing business in 2009 and has ambitiously made its goal to overtake Amazon in technology, customers, and worldwide scale after the launch of Alibaba Cloud in 2011. And there is plenty of evidence that Alibaba is getting closer and closer to the final objective.
First, it proactively takes advantage of the scale of its e-commerce services, ranging from a marketplace and branded mall to payment services and digital banking, bringing around 500 million users to its cloud business in China.
Meanwhile, it is aggressively expanding its cloud data center footprint to other regions and countries worldwide, such as Silicon Valley, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Dubai, and Frankfurt, etc., successfully ranking No.4 in world’s cloud infrastructure market.