10 Years of Cloud Intelligence: Revolutionary and Award-Winning Database Services

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The Evolution of Databases

Less than a decade ago, setting up a distributed database system across various multinational locations was a considerable challenge. Today, we can do a similar thing working from our laptops in the coffee shop in just a few hours.

In fact, over the past decade, Alibaba Cloud’s database team has been on a mission to lead the transformation of database technology in Mainland China and beyond. There are now over 100,000 database instances running on the Alibaba Cloud database, benefitting from advanced security that automatically encrypts business data to prevent attacks on the cloud.

Prior to 2005, databases were as single-application and single-host, providing an on-premises solution. Things evolved, and between 2005 and 2009 the focus was on commercial databases from the likes of Oracle and adding multiple data centers in the same city.

From 2010 onwards, self-built databases based on open-source DBMS, such as AliSQL, and distributed database middleware like TDDL became prominent. This approach allowed for modular deployment of databases across cities in a remote, upgraded multi-active architecture. This had a number of benefits for users, including stability, disaster-tolerance capabilities, and the ability to scale elastically with greatly improved system availability.

Cloud-based Databases Launch

Alibaba Cloud then turned its attention to fully self-developed cloud-based databases in 2016, offering global deployment and separate database storage and computing. These also integrate extremely high read/write capabilities and decrease storage costs. For example, our ApsaraDB database service was built to provide stable, reliable and scalable database services. We worked to reduce network latency and adopted RDMA technology on a large scale in 2018, which had a significant impact.

Many of these developments were made to support the growth of Alibaba’s Double 11 Global Shopping Festival, which has grown bigger and better every year, thanks to our database services, that cope with unpredictable traffic spikes. In 2018, the gross merchandise volume of Double 11 hit over $30 billion in sales. This meant our databases had to cope with over 42 million database requests per second, over 1 million queries per request and 50,000 queries per second real-time monitor and data storage. There are now over 100,000 database instances running on the Alibaba Cloud database, benefitting from advanced security that automatically encrypts business data to prevent attacks on the cloud.

Next Generation Cloud-Native Databases

In July 2019, Alibaba Cloud released its new DBaaS service, PolarDB, outside China. Gartner placed PolarDB in the “Visionaries” quadrant of its 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant of Operational Database Management Systems, leading the pack amongst all cloud computing vendors in China.

PolarDB is a cloud-native relational database service that is designed for enterprise-grade database applications. It is compatible with Oracle, MySQL and PostgreSQL and offers excellent scalability with the architecture of hardware-software co-design. It can scale up to 88vCPUs and 710GB of memory and allows customers to pay for usage by the minute, enabling customers to handle a business peak traffic while minimizing cost. It can also scale up to 100TB in storage which helps customers cope with big data development.

As PolarDB is built for the cloud, it is an ideal database for scenarios including e-commerce, gaming, e-learning, big data and fintech. PolarDB lives and breathes on Alibaba Cloud’s vast and reliable global infrastructure, established over the past ten years, enabling it to support innovative scenarios an in-house database team could only dream about.

Learn more about Alibaba Cloud’s journey in the past 10 years by visiting https://www.alibabacloud.com/campaign/10-year-anniversary

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