The new story of the alliance between chip companies and data center enterprises.
Data center (Internet Data Center, referred to as IDC) is one of the main landing scenarios of chips, chip companies need to sell products to IDC enterprises, but recently, chip companies have become the target customers of IDC enterprises.
In August this year, the well-known GPU start-up Bishi Technology and the leading IDC supplier Wanguo data reached a cooperation to build a computing platform. The former provides GPU chips for the latter, while the latter provides IDC services for chip, video, games and other industries including the former. Teng Feng, vice president of Universal data Solutions, told Zhidong that, in fact, the company has provided IDC services for many chip companies.
With the scale of China’s chip market reaching trillion yuan, the computing power demand of chip enterprises is also growing rapidly, and the development speed of the industry is even faster than that of finance, Internet and other major IDC demand.
At present, the domestic chip independent innovation tide is flourishing, what kind of computing power demand does the chip start-up enterprise have? What kind of IDC is suitable for chip enterprises with specific needs? For chip R & D innovation and landing, what kind of computing cooperation is the most valuable? Following Teng Feng, we discussed these issues in depth.
Founded in 2001, Wanguo data is the leading third-party data center operator and service provider in China. so far, it has built and operated nearly 100 data centers, serving more than 780 head cloud manufacturers, large Internet and financial customers. Teng Feng is an expert in the field of IDC for 18 years and has personally experienced the development of China’s IDC industry.
01. The new story of changing suppliers into customer chips and data centers
In recent years, with the change of the international situation, the independent innovation of domestic chips has given birth to a trillion-level market. According to data from the State Council, China’s chip self-sufficiency rate should reach 70% by 2025. IC Insights, a well-known industry and research institution, predicts that the market size of Chinese mainland semiconductor chips will reach US $223 billion (about 1.6 trillion yuan) by 2025.
The trend of independent innovation of chips has given birth to a new market of upstream materials, equipment and design software, as well as a large number of data computing and storage requirements.
Teng Feng told Zhidong that the latter is also a fast-growing market, especially represented by the AI chip with the largest data demand, which is expected to reach tens of billions of dollars. At present, many domestic mobile phone chip, GPU chip and autopilot chip enterprises have adopted the IDC service of Universal data.
Specifically, chip enterprises that need data center hosting services cover many types, such as CPU, GPU, ASIC and SoC, and the requirements involved are mainly divided into the following three categories:
The main contents are as follows:
- The chip design stage involves the IDC hosting service of special equipment links such as simulation platform, all-in-one machine and so on.
- AI chip enterprises do AI training and reasoning, and have a greater demand for data centers.
- The IT requirements of the internal business of the chip enterprise, including the computing requirements of office, mail, OA and other systems.
It is worth mentioning that different types of customers require different amounts of computing power. “in the domestic chip enterprise market, the volume of cabinets of head chip enterprises may reach hundreds, and there are also some customers whose cabinets are between dozens and hundreds. In fact, there are differences among these chip companies in terms of IDC application scenarios, hosting requirements and so on. ” Teng Feng said.
Take an autopilot chip customer as an example, the company needs a large scale of IDC, probably equipped with a cluster of hundreds of cabinets for chip design, and a cluster of hundreds of cabinets for running AI training and reasoning algorithm models. Compared with another well-known global mobile phone chip customer, the company’s R & D centers in Chengdu and Shenzhen use the underlying data center services of Universal data, and realize the data exchange between the two places through the cloud network platform of Universal data. At the same time, through the local line, R & D personnel can access the R & D platform hosted in the data center with low delay.
In the latest cooperation between Bili Technology and Wanguo data, the two sides have cooperated to create a computing platform, in which Bishi provides computing devices and boards, while WG provides underlying network infrastructure and hybrid cloud architecture. The computing platform will provide computing services to video, rendering, games and other industries, as well as chip companies such as Bishu itself.
It can be seen that rather than saying that chip companies are becoming customers of IDC enterprises, IDC enterprises are telling a “new story” together with chip enterprises. The relationship between the two is no longer the relationship between Party An and Party B, but has become a partner of the computing power sharing platform, which is a new trend in the computing industry.
02. What kind of computing services do chip enterprises need? Dig deep into the five major needs
Many people know that enterprises in finance, Internet, cloud computing and other fields are the major demand for IDC. Relatively speaking, the chip industry is a more fragmented but large “long tail market”.
“many chip customers have been established for less than three years and are relatively small in scale. However, according to the’28 effect’, this market converges to a larger order of magnitude, and many start-ups are in the stage of rapid development, and the demand for computing power is growing fast. ” Teng Feng said. In recent years, he has participated in the contact and cooperation of dozens of chip companies, and knows very well that the demand of these chip companies for IDC has industry characteristics, which has both similarities and differences with the financial and Internet industries.
Looking back around 2000, the growth of data in the financial industry gave birth to the demand for disaster preparedness services. Teng Feng’s universal data was born under this background. The financial industry gives top priority to the security and stability of data and equipment, while the demand for audit compliance is prominent. With the rise of cloud computing around 2010, Internet track enterprises such as social media, e-commerce, video and cloud computing companies and cloud computing companies have become major new demand for IDC. Unlike financial customers, Internet and cloud customers place more emphasis on fast, low latency, flexible deployment, and more cost-effective.
Teng Feng told Zhidong that compared with finance and the Internet, the specific pain points of the emerging chip industry for data centers are shown in the following aspects:
- Elastic power density is required. Chip companies need to use high-precision simulation platform, all-in-one and other special equipment, so they need a larger span of power density, higher upper limit, and higher requirements for flexible deployment and upper limit of density. Compared with the standard of single cabinet power 4kW~10kW for financial and Internet enterprises, the power density required by chip enterprises can cover the range from 4kW to 50kW.
- Lower network delay is needed. From the experience of serving dozens of chip customers, we can see that R & D personnel are one of the main bodies using tools such as simulation platforms and special equipment, and faster data transmission and processing speed is very important for people to use data more quickly and conveniently. and to achieve faster R & D output is very important, so enterprises often require the best millisecond delay.
- Pay more attention to safety and reliability. The design and use of the chip will produce a large amount of sensitive data, which is a core asset for many chip enterprises, so data security is very important, while equipment security and network security are also very important. This has a lot in common with the financial industry, which often requires independent modules or closed VIP cages to ensure data security.
- High performance-to-price ratio. As many chip enterprises have been founded for only two or three years, they are still in the stage of chip design and chip production, and have not yet been commercialized and profitable on a large scale, so they have high requirements for performance-to-price ratio, which is similar to Internet customers.
- Consider scalability. Many chip start-ups are founded in recent years, and the future growth rate of business will be visible to the naked eye, so when designing the resource pool, we need to consider at least the next 3-5 years’ planning.
It is worth mentioning that, as mentioned earlier, chip companies with different subdivision tracks have differences in application scenarios, scale and hosting requirements, so IDC suppliers are also required to have rich industry experience and be able to carry out a certain degree of customization.