Alibaba Cloud slashes prices outside China

Domestic customers saw their fees cut last January

Alibaba Cloud is cutting prices for international users of its core compute, storage, and database services, using offers similar to those it dangled before Chinese customers earlier this year.

Those were revealed in January 2024 and saw Alibaba Cloud drop prices for users willing to commit to long-term deals.

The new offer for users outside China drops prices for pay-as-you-go use. Details provided to The Register by Alibaba were not comprehensive. We're told that discounts of between 30 and 59 percent have been applied to Alibaba's Elastic Compute Service, but without info on which instance types those offers cover.

A more specific cut was made to an Object Storage Service (OSS) resource plan – Alibaba's name for a long-term deal – with a one-year 500 GB package dropping from $63 to $16.99.

Commitments of between one and three years for MaxCompute, Hologres, DataWorks, Realtime Compute for Apache Flink, and Open Search have been cut by the same amount.

Alibaba Cloud has also increased its free data transfer allowance from 20 to 200 GB, which covers data moved within the cloud – not egress allowances.

The cloud giant also announced products aimed at assisting customers to implement AI.

The first among those is a service to manage the integration and operation of large language models (LLMs) across both the model architecture and cloud.

Also available is an AI computing platform for foundation model training and inference and other high-performance computing tasks called PAI-Lingjun Intelligent Computing Service.

The service, which Alibaba Cloud claimed provides "full-process AI engineering capabilities," is already available in Singapore and supports up to 100,000 cards in a single training cluster with a minimum latency of 1.5 microseconds and a maximum throughput of 20 TB.

The final AI product is an energy expert, which calculates carbon footprint and monitors and forecasts energy consumption.

Those new services will run on eighth-gen Elastic Compute Services (ECS) that Alibaba Cloud said provides a 60 percent increase in computing power per unit. The company claimed an upgraded eRDMA network dropped latency to 8 microseconds in some cases, and the use of NVMe SSDs further resulted in a 15 to 20 percent reduction in latency of IO.

Whether it is enough to tempt users remains to be seen. Alibaba Cloud is well regarded, but governments of many nations are not admirers of Chinese technology services, citing China's national security laws that make it feasible for Beijing to demand access to customer data.

China isn't alone with such demands. India tried to force cloud operators to reveal their tenants' activities, and the US Cloud Act means domestic tech companies must send data stored offshore to Washington under certain circumstances. ®

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