Alibaba Takes On AWS In India With Data Centre


AliCloud eyes Indian data centre build to compete with Western cloud expansion

Alibaba is set to open a data centre region in India, a move that would bolster its AliCloud public cloud services in the country against the expansion of western cloud rivals such as AWS and Microsoft.

AliCloud, the public cloud computing division of Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba, could even launch the data centre before Amazon Web Services (AWS) does, according to Indian newspaper The Hindu.

Amazon’s Indian data centre was announced in 2015, but is not set to launch until sometime this year.

Microsoft has already launched three data centre regions in the subcontinent – Chennai, Mumbai, and Pune – as public cloud services revenue in the country surpassed $700 million in 2015, according to Gartner.

TechWeekEurope has contacted Alibaba, but has yet to receive a response.


Last month, Alibaba’s AliCloud posted a revenue increase of 175 percent, reaching revenues of $165 million (£113m) in the quarter ending March 31. AWS revenues for its latest quarter hit $2.56 billion (£1.75bn).

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India outsourcing rupeeBut Alibaba is growing fast. The cloud division claims to have launched 612 new features and services bundled with 22 new products already this year. AliCloud has also worked to focus on Big Data, and new features from the cloud vendor include Big Data computing engines and data analysis tools.

Alibaba’s cloud is currently operational in six regions. However, five of them are in China. Its latest expansion move saw AliCloud head to Silicon Valley, where one data centre is already up and running and another is in the works.

In Alibaba’s native China, the cloud vendor offers a range of infrastructure and cloud features, ranging from networking solutions to big data analytics, but its US efforts are limited to compute, storage, relational database services and load balancing. There is a seventh region currently being built in Dubai, where AliCloud also stepped up its partner program last year. India would mark an eighth region globally.

But John Dinsdale, head analyst at Synergy Research Group, told TechWeekEurope earlier this year that it is unlikely Alibaba can pose a significant threat to AWS.

“AliCloud is growing like crazy (more than 100 percent per year) and it is now opening data centres outside of mainland China (US, Hong Kong & Singapore opened; more planned in Japan, Germany and Dubai) and it is now a top ten player in cloud infrastructure services; but all that being said its current revenues are barely 5 percent the size of AWS and AWS itself is growing its revenues by more than 60 percent per year,” he said.

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