• Alibaba is the largest cloud provider in China.

Alibaba is the largest cloud provider in China. (Photo : Getty Images)

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is joining Microsoft's Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) community, a report from VentureBeat.com stated.

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The announcement was made during the Open Networking Summit Conference held on April 3 in Santa Clara, California.

First introduced in 2016, SONiC is a Linux-based open source software that allows public cloud providers to optimize their hardware. The initiative, originally known as Azure Cloud Switch, was Microsoft's contribution to the Open Compute Project helmed by Facebook, Inc.

In an interview with VentureBeat, Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president for Azure networking, shared that Alibaba is now "exploring how it could SONiC to support the development of its own infrastructure."

Alibaba is currently the largest cloud provider in China. The firm is also set to contribute to the development of the software through the partnership.

Microsoft taps SONiC as a way to set foot on public cloud environments. However, clients and companies can still experiment with the core open source software available on GitHub, an online-based version control repository and Internet hosting service provider.

Khalidi revealed that Web and mobile apps based on Microsoft's SONiC-based infrastructure have the capacity to recover more quickly during downtime. 

The Azure official also noted that the firm built SONiC based on Linux because of its "community effect." This move is deemed significant for Microsoft, who has a legacy of commercializing Windows, because Linux is widely and particularly used on public servers. 

In Azure, over 33 percent of their virtual machines are being run using Linux.

HP-backed OpenSwitch and startup Cumulus' Linux Distribution can also be used for building open source software that run on networking switches.

Meanwhile, other firms that provide public cloud infrastructure include Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services.

Nonetheless, Khalidi shared he is not sure if these providers have used SONiC.