Low-Latency Global Cloud Solutions on Alibaba Cloud

By Afzaal Ahmad Zeeshan.

This article will discuss how low-latency solutions are provided on Alibaba Cloud and how customers can integrate their distributed applications with the platform to provide a low-latency solution, and how services differ such as, Alibaba Cloud CDN, based on pricing, feature-set requirements.


Imagine that you have services deployed in United States data centers, and you have users across the globe. In this topology, the users from United States would be able to consume your services with a normal (if not good) performance, but the users from across the globe would have to face a poor response time. The problem is not with the server (not even with the load that the web application is under) but because of the delay in the network traffic. Requests of the users and the responses of your web apps must travel the physical wires to reach a destination ¨C let us ignore the OSI model and its processing operations for the data packets.

That is why, cloud-native solutions need to be designed with latency decrease in the mind. There are several options available in which developers can decrease the latency of their solutions, including hybrid clouds, global redundancy and replication of services, caching of the data, CDN and other products. I will enlist most of the products on Alibaba Cloud and show how they can be used in these scenarios.

This would be a theoretical article of mine, so my apologies for a very dry post, but I assure you that this would be worth a read for your cloud-native solution development and deployments. You can visit the links that I have provided in this post, each page has an architectural diagram that compliments the content in this post.

The Radical Pace in the Usage of Cloud Providers

The undeniable fact is that the IT administration is aware of the potential areas where latency is causing trouble for the business and needs to be reduced but is highly likely not to have the end-to-end control over the network, because the public cloud service providers do not provide any surety for service-level instantaneous data transfer.

Solutions and Latency Management on the Cloud

Therefore, the ultimate solution which is cost effective as well as efficient for the companies is to architect the solution for the cloud services and let the cloud orchestrators oversee how to provide the best services to your customers.

Henceforth, this article is aimed to discuss the major solutions provided by Alibaba Cloud ensuring the low latency and instantaneous transfer and response for your customers. However, for scoping the article and not to miss the focal point, we intend to walk through and highlight the functional insights of the services from the following aspects:

  1. Ease of configuration and the pricing model.
  2. Impact of service on the latency and response time.
  3. Management overhead and complexity added by the service.

Based on these, I would recommend how to architect your solutions so that you can best utilize the cloud platform and deploy your services where they are most needed.

Computation Services

Using the Alibaba Cloud ECS, you can deploy a single instance in less than 10 minutes on the cloud. You can increase the performance by deploying the service using multiple ECS instances. To further expand the orchestration, you can use the Container Service for Kubernetes and deploy your instances using Kubernetes. Kubernetes as an engine would manage how to deploy the solutions, and as in my other article I discussed, you can use Serverless Kubernetes clusters to add nodes as the demand grows and delete them when they are no longer needed. You can create clusters with up to 100 compute nodes, and scale them down to zero automatically.

Also, you can always use the built-in Auto Scaling services to scale the instances as the need grows.

Online Web Based Solutions

I wrote an article that discusses how to create and deploy a Node.js web application on Simple Application Server, you can check the content here.

Databases and Storage Solutions

On the other hand, there comes ApsaraDB for Alibaba Cloud which provides a whole number of highly cost-effective and efficient database services which ensure scalability, multi-layer data read/write operations, and low latent high performant data solutions while being distributed in nature following master-slave architectural design. You can explore the benefits of using ApsaraDB for RDS here, and see how different options can help you decrease the cost of the solution, increase the productivity and scale at the any time.

Apart from the databases, you can also use the same features in a storage service. Alibaba Cloud OSS provides support for data replication and migration to multiple regions on the globe. The feature is called Cross-Region Replication.

Like shown, you can replicate the data to two different regions. It provides a better latency, and a good availability in case of a data center down time.

Alibaba Cloud CDN supports global data replication and caching in minutes. Alibaba Cloud CDN supports HTTP and HTTPS based traffic for your solutions, and automatically caches the resources. This is a great way to improve the web site acceleration.

Other Services

If you are using logging services on the cloud, then it would be useful to use Log Service to store the application logs in your subscription. Log Service is a cloud-native logging service, that provides back up options with OSS and a high throughput for your applications to submit logs and metrics for data and business intelligence purposes.

In the end, it all falls in the hands of the architects and engineers who design and deploy the solutions on the cloud. Providing a better response to your customers should be a high priority in the design phase. After all, the cloud platform is considered to use the cloud resources on demand as needed.

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