Today in China, we were honored to host 1,280 developers, customers and partners at XDF Beijing – the second Xilinx Developer Forum (XDF) for 2018. At the event, our CEO, Victor Peng, gave a keynote where we officially launched Versal and Alveo in China, but in addition, executives from three of China’s most influential companies – Huawei, Alibaba and Inspur, took to the stage to disclose how they are leveraging Xilinx technology to improve and accelerate key data center workloads, like AI inference.
Huawei’s Xiaohua Zhang, vice president of IT Intelligent Computing Business, followed Victor’s keynote to discuss Huawei’s broad business scope – from phones to cloud computing to servers. Zhang explained that Huawei has a strategy to harmonize its online and offline platforms across its technologies by working with partners such as Xilinx to develop an ecosystem. As such, Huawei announced that they will now be integrating and deploying the Xilinx Alveo accelerator card as part of its product portfolio. The goal is to create even more value for its expanding data center and AI business. And with 20 years of working together, Zhang said that he looks to Xilinx and Huawei to jointly help enable its unified ecosystem and provide comprehensive support to customers and partners in China.
Xiaohua Zhang, Huawei
Next to the stage was Jeff Zhang, FPGA research and development director at Aliyun, an Alibaba company. Zhang said that Aliyun believes that as cloud computing and AI move forward, FPGAs are uniquely positioned to enable greater capabilities and deliver greater performance and value than CPUs and GPUs. Aliyun then announced that based on their own conservative estimates, they believe that FPGAs have delivered a 40 percent improvement in total cost of ownership. Zhang repeated that this is a conservative number – 40 percent! He said that as far as he is concerned, there is no need to prove further the value of FPGAs. He then encouraged the audience to leverage the power of FPGAs as-a-service (FaaS) so that they can benefit from the capabilities of FPGAs like greater functionality, as well as application security that Aliyun has uniquely enabled, and see for themselves.
Jeff Zhang, Aliyun, an Alibaba company
Li Jin, vice president of Inspur Group, was the last to come to the stage. With 57 percent of the server market, Inspur is the largest server vendor in China. The company saw its sales increase by a whopping 600 percent in 2017 – the largest growth of any server vendor in the world. Jin noted that Inspur servers running Xilinx FPGAs provide the agility and efficiency that is uniquely suited for its AI customers. He stated that the industry needs better AI frameworks, performance and data pathways, and that Inspur sees the value in enabling migration to FPGAs to meet the AI challenge of the future. As such, Inspur announced that it is qualifying the Alveo U200 and U250 accelerator cards for key server platforms, including the Inspur NF5280M5 general purpose server, the Inspur NF5468M5 AI server and GX4 supercomputer extension box to deliver the performance and agility that is needed for its customers.
Li Jin, Inspur Group
All in all, it was a fascinating series of presentations and a peek into how some of the largest data center companies and luminaries in China are taking advantage of the power of Xilinx. The materials from XDF Beijing are available on our Xilinx.cn website.