Alibaba Cloud outlines ambitions to become a utility • The Register

Alibaba Cloud has opened its annual Apsara conference with aspirations to become a “computility” – a service that provides an endless stream of computing resources for users to consume like electricity.

Cloud Corporation keynote speakers described a future where clouds are not tied to boring old constructs like representations of various virtual or physical machines. Instead, prospective customers pay for computing services measured with metrics like kilowatts of power.

Executives talked about developing a metric to measure a data center’s efficiency so customers can understand what they’re buying — and suggested that processing power and latency could serve as a basis for such measurements.

Right now, Alibaba Cloud is expressing this idea of ​​making more of its current cloud SaaS products serverless. The cloudmaker said it has already made 20 of its services serverless and plans to transition more of its offerings to operate the same way.

Another example of its ambitions is the Wuying Cloudbook – a thin client that connects to Desktops-as-a-Service (DaaS) hosted on the Alibaba Cloud. An accompanying Wuying architecture routes your favorite apps and approved data into the DaaS rigs you rent. A demo of the architecture showed Microsoft and Adobe apps being accessed from a Cloudbook – Alibaba Cloud promised to speak to all major software vendors to ensure their wares are available as a service.

Wuying Cloudbook by Alibaba Cloud

Wuying Cloudbook by Alibaba Cloud – Click to enlarge

The demo video is also said to show a Cloudbook user tweaking settings in Alibaba Cloud to change the specs of the cloudy computer they accessed through the laptop. The video claimed the device could access Windows, Linux, and Android simultaneously.

The Wuying architecture is tied to Alibaba Cloud’s Elastic Desktop Service (EDS), available in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, UK, Philippines, Japan and the Middle East regions. The registry asked what the Cloudbook costs and where it’s sold, and Alibaba Cloud replied that pricing has yet to be determined — but didn’t answer the question of where.

So far, however, Alibaba Cloud has been slow to offer its DaaS client devices outside of China. For example, the palm-sized Wuying desktop device is only offered in the mainland and Singapore.

Alibaba Cloud also used its big day to unveil enhanced AI models. One named Tongyi does the DALL·E trick of converting text with five billion parameters into images. Another model, One-For-All, uses six billion parameters to do things like captioning. ® Alibaba Cloud outlines ambitions to become a utility • The Register

Rick Schindler

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