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By Li Shuanghong (Shuanghong) and Cui Hao (Shenyou) from Alibaba Cloud Research Center
During the COVID-19 epidemic, various industries have been doing what they can to join the fight against the epidemic. iGetGet has been pitching in.
iGetGet, a partner of Alibaba Cloud, is the leader of the knowledge service industry. It started working on countering the COVID-19 epidemic before Chinese New Year.
On the evening of January 24, 2020, iGetGet, Shenzhen Satellite TV, and iQiyi, jointly broadcast the “Chinese New Year 2020 Knowledge Show”. It was the first time a show of this type was broadcast. This globally live-streamed show was 10 hours long, and contained no singing, dancing, or even a live audience. Instead, it presented ordinary people sharing their own speeches. In the studio, Luo Zhenyu, the founder of iGetGet, demonstrated how to correctly wear a mask. Bo Shining, an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) doctor with Peking University Third Hospital, was invited to demonstrate how to correctly wash one’s hands. This knowledge show topped iQiyi’s sharing list for live informational shows.
As news about the epidemic spread, iGetGet provided professional and first-hand medical knowledge for free, emphasized what people could do, and helped use knowledge to help in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic. iGetGet invited Professor Wang Liming of Life Sciences Institute, Zhejiang University to create a report titled “The Origin and Development of COVID-19”, which reviews and delves into the related papers and information on the Internet. At present, this report has already been read more than 790,000 times. iGetGet also invited Bo Shining, an ICU doctor with Peking University Third Hospital, to give a report titled “Why Is it Difficult to Treat Viral Pneumonia? What Should ICU Doctors Do?” The report has been read more than 1.4 million times through iGetGet. In addition, iGetGet promptly cooperated with People’s Medical Publishing House and Tianjin Publishing and Media Group, to make the latest epidemic prevention e-book on January 27 available for free download, helping relieve the public fear by offering reliable and scientifically sound information.
During the quarantine period, iGetGet also prepared high quality content packages for users, free of charge. Since January 29, iGetGet has launched 677 hours of free shows, including the “Chinese New Year 2020 Knowledge Show”, and all seven seasons of the “Luogic Talkshow”. iGetGet also offered free access to 2000 audio books for two months. Until now, 400,000 people have acquired the audio book service. From February 3 to February 12, iGetGet initiated a 10-day live lecture series in which 10 iGetGet teachers shared their knowledge, insights, and common sense remotely through live broadcast. More than 30,000 viewers attended concurrently. Li Tiantian (Tuobuhua), the co-founder of iGetGet, started an activity for reading the book “Panorama of People”. Thousands of people read it together, and shared their opinions.
From “Luogic Talkshow” to iGetGet: Transformation Requires Stability
At the start of “Luogic Talkshow,” the host Luo Zhenyu said, “I’m learning all life long with you. Welcome to Luogic Talkshow.”
From the one-man “Luogic Talkshow”, to the gathering of experts with iGetGet, Luo Zhenyu has stayed persistent. He and his team started the trend of providing paid knowledge services, which is a new business model.
Based on the team’s three years of accumulated experience, iGetGet was officially launched in 2016 and quickly saw a surge in the number of users. Just over a year after creation, iGetGet had completed its transformation from Luogic Talkshow in terms of the revenue, user growth, and influence.
But opportunities often come with challenges. It is universally acknowledged in the industry that, the higher the popularity of the business, the greater the pressure on its technical team. A technical issue can be magnified, especially by a user group with high requirements for their experience of a knowledge service.
For each high-quality piece of content output by iGetGet, the technical team must ensure the service availability and stability. Users may consume the content while on high-speed railway trains, subways, and buses, and may open the iGetGet app during morning and evening peak hours, early in the morning, or at midnight. This requires that iGetGet provide stable services and experience all the time. iGetGet assigned this task to Alibaba Cloud.
iGetGet was developed based on a cloud-native architecture. The infrastructure and business applications are all migrated to the cloud, supporting release conferences and the security of the entire site. iGetGet obtained peak elasticity in calls of resources from the cloud, with more than 1,000 Elastic Compute Service (ECS) instances created within one minute. This container technology has been widely used since 2017. The DADI accelerator developed by Alibaba Cloud’s container and storage teams can start nearly 60,000 containers within 10 seconds, significantly improving application delivery and O&M agility.
The Alibaba Cloud technical services team helped iGetGet upgrade the cloud-native architecture, enabling container-based deployment and microservice transformation for all their core businesses. This ensures stable traffic and businesses despite the rapidly growing number of users. It also integrates the service governance, container storage, Server Load Balancer (SLB), log management, and business monitoring services provided by Alibaba Cloud to greatly simplify O&M and easily handle business peaks, with a good cost performance.
Alibaba Cloud also provided live support for the 10-day live lecture series, including solution suggestion, technical support, and emergency response, to respond to issues within seconds and give a smooth viewing experience to users located in different regions.
Comprehensive Stress Testing Ensures Business Stability During Traffic Peaks
Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, all online education and online office platforms have experienced huge real-time stress. As a pioneer in the knowledge service industry, iGetGet had already undergone similar experiences in recent years. iGetGet and Alibaba Cloud have accumulated a lot of experience from their preparation for the previous New Year’s speeches and the “Chinese New Year 2020 Knowledge Show”.
Back in 2017, the Second Knowledge Conference of iGetGet was broadcast by Shenzhen Satellite TV and several video websites, with traffic of about 10 times the daily peak traffic. The “Friends of Time” New Year’s speech had even more traffic.
All the previous New Year’s speeches had attracted large audiences, both onsite and online. While Luo Zhenyu presented new viewpoints and insights, an enormous number of users initiated access requests. That was a typical high concurrency and burst scenario, which required iGetGet to process the requests correctly, stably, and smoothly to ensure an optimal user experience.
Alibaba Cloud has demonstrated experience in handling traffic peaks, as has been proven by large promotions such as the Double 11 Shopping Festival, the largest flash sale campaign in the world. Comprehensive stress testing, which has been an essential technology for the previous Double 11 Shopping Festivals, was fully utilized for this “Friends of Time” New Year’s speech.
The comprehensive stress testing team must have an in-depth understanding of real business scenarios. The team must find the critical peak values in different business scenarios and calculate the quantity of applications for each service to get complete information. This requires the architects and technical personnel of Alibaba Cloud to join the highly-anticipated live broadcast. “During that time, we worked together with their team every day for three months. We spent almost every day together.”
The 200 comprehensive stress testing APIs covered all the core businesses of iGetGet and its independent e-commerce platforms. More than 700 rounds of single-link stress testing and 16 rounds of comprehensive stress testing were carried out in three months. The resources consumed by the stress testing were equivalent to those consumed by the concurrent testing of more than 1 million users for two hours. Based on the test results, the system architectures of almost all major backend services were optimized.
Both fate and time favor those who are prepared.
By planning the system capacity, accurately predicting the benchmark throughput and scaling policies, and testing the cluster processing bottlenecks in various specific scenarios, Alibaba Cloud helped iGetGet complete the New Year’s speech smoothly. Alibaba Cloud’s team and iGetGet’s team worked together closely during this period.
iGetGet’s technical team used a large number of Alibaba Cloud technologies, such as ECS, elastic bandwidth, Container Service, database service, and Log Service, to optimize cost-effectiveness. During the “Friends of Time” New Year’s speech, the benchmark resources and dynamic elastic resources prepared according to the stress testing results ensured the stable running of all the IT systems, with a high cost-effectiveness.
Alibaba Cloud Customer Services helped build a basic business monitoring dashboard based on its practical experience with Double 11. Alibaba Cloud Customer Services also provided optimization suggestions during stress testing and offered full support in case of emergency, including exception drills and emergency plans. They even sorted out the scripts for crisis and the countermeasures for throttling by onsite carriers. At present, the comprehensive stress testing has become a core infrastructure to ensure the stability of all iGetGet businesses and improve system performance.
Over its 5 years of development, the iGetGet app has obtained more than 30 million users. It provides increasingly diversified content and operational forms, expanding its offerings from the free audio it started with to include special courses, e-books, live lectures, and the offline iGetGet University. iGetGet hopes to use new technologies to offer its users intelligent education and personalized recommendations in the future.
Now, Luogic Talkshow only runs in Alibaba Cloud. As business needs continue to increase, iGetGet team uses more than 30 products, including ECS, Alibaba Cloud CDN, Object Storage Service (OSS), multiple ApsaraDBs, Log Service, SLB, Container Service, Performance Testing Service (PTS), Web Application Firewall (WAF), ApsaraVideo Media Processing, and DataV. Alibaba Cloud provides underlying technical support for iGetGet, while the iGetGet technical team focuses on product R&D innovation and customer benefit improvement. This greatly accelerates the entire R&D process.
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