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Alibaba Cloud, a global leader in cloud computing, stands at the forefront of network technology innovation. The backbone of cloud services, a robust network, is crucial for efficiency and reliability. This blog explores how Alibaba Cloud has been revolutionizing its data center networks by embracing Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC).

In the quest for a unified protocol stack and a programmable data plane, Alibaba Cloud turned to SONiC. This open source network operating system, backed by a vibrant community, offered the flexibility and scalability needed for Alibaba’s expansive network infrastructure. Since 2017, Alibaba has been on a transformative journey with SONiC, deploying it across over 100,000 white box network devices. This journey is a testament to Alibaba’s commitment to innovation, especially highlighted during large-scale events like the 2023 Asia Olympic Games.

Alibaba’s network architecture has evolved significantly with SONiC. The introduction of CLOS architecture, DC6.0, and HPN7.0 architectures marked significant milestones. These advancements, including 25G/100G downlinks/uplinks and RDMA technology, were crucial in meeting the demands of AI-focused infrastructure. The adoption of SONiC has brought Alibaba numerous benefits: cost efficiency, improved network quality, agile update cycles, and the ability to swiftly integrate new features. The collaborative nature of SONiC’s community has been instrumental in these continuous enhancements.

As we step into an era dominated by AI, SONiC stands as a pivotal element in network infrastructure evolution. Alibaba’s ongoing commitment to network innovation and its active contribution to the SONiC community underline its role as a leader in cloud computing and network technology. Read the SONiC Alibaba Data Center Network use case here!