By Sai Sarath Chandra, Alibaba Cloud MVP
I have been an Alibaba Cloud for three months now, and I must say, it has been an exciting journey! I have been working with cloud technologies for over two years now. Having worked with multiple cloud providers, I have developed several personal projects as well as enterprise applications on the cloud.
I came across Alibaba Cloud in 2017, and I was really curious about their capabilities. I used their products for some of my applications, and I felt overall, it was a great experience. In this article, I will be sharing my experience with Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) as well as some other features and services that I favor.
My Five Favorite Features of Alibaba Cloud ECS
One of my favorite features of Alibaba Cloud ECS is not a technical feature — it’s the pricing model. You can purchase ECS instances through pay-as-you-go (post-paid) or subscription (prepaid) methods. The pay-as-you-go method works great for me because I like to try new services through the GUI, rather than the console. If you are like me then this is a great feature for you.
Another feature that I like about ECS is the flexibility in selecting the bandwidth. I can reduce costs by setting the bandwidth according to my needs, which is not possible with many other cloud providers. What’s more, I can freely choose my deployment region (data center location) even when I was still purchasing with the Free Credit. I found that some cloud providers restrict this option when you are in the trial period.
For new users, when you sign up for an Alibaba Cloud account, you can get $300 for free (in credit). You can spend up to $50 on ECS products, which equates to running a web server for more than a month!
I deployed an ECS instance with a Windows Datacenter Image in India region. It is blazingly fast; the latency is minimal, and the processing power of its Intel Xeon processors with SSD memory is phenomenal. I recommend everyone to choose SSD over traditional HDD for most applications. You can really feel the difference in the boot time as well as for IO operations on the ECS Instance.
Lastly, Alibaba Cloud ECS comes with an easy-to-use console. If you are a first-time user, you can connect to the instance directly through the ECS console on your web browser. Of course, you can also connect through other remote desktop connection protocols. On the console, you can also explore other services available on Alibaba Cloud with the click of a button.
My Five Favorite Features of the Alibaba Cloud Ecosystem
1. Competitive Pricing Structure
Alibaba Cloud has a competitive pricing structure. The price for most of their services, compared to the quality, is next to nothing. The pricing is also very flexible. For example, with other major cloud providers, you may be charged even if your VM is stopped, typically billed as VM maintenance. On Alibaba Cloud, you won’t be charged by stopping the VM, even if you don’t release the instance.
2. Convenient Ticketing System
Alibaba Cloud has an amazing ticketing system; I have never seen such a fast response to support tickets! I have raised several tickets for payment and the technical issues — I almost always get a response within an hour. This is quite an amazing feature knowing that Alibaba Cloud is quite a large organization.
As a developer, I am always in need for some support on maintaining the technical glitches or changes on the cloud services. I can always rely on Alibaba Cloud for their speedy support. I think this is one big advantage that Alibaba Cloud has over other cloud providers.
3. Ability to Contribute
I am always interested in contributing to product development by sharing my technical knowledge and experiences. In addition to raising tickets, you can also share your ideas with them through the Alibaba Cloud Connect platform. Either you’re a developer or an enterprise user, you can share your ideas and feedback with the community.
The process is also transparent. Your suggestions will be visible to the public, and an Alibaba Cloud representative will respond to all suggestions on the Connect platform. The best part is, you could potentially be rewarded for contributing to the community!
4. Expanding Article Database
If you are new to Alibaba Cloud, or even just cloud, head on to the official Alibaba Cloud Blog channel for the latest cloud insights and developer trends. You can find articles about various Alibaba Cloud products and services, the underlying technologies behind these products, and other technology insights from thought leaders.
Currently, Alibaba Cloud is still actively expanding their tutorial article database, and you could play an important role in this initiative! You should definitely check out the Alibaba Cloud Tech Share program to learn how you can earn money by writing tutorials for Alibaba Cloud. I have already published 7 how-to articles on the Alibaba Cloud Blog through the Tech Share program.
5. Rapid Updates
With a large and growing community, as well as a variety of feedback channels, Alibaba Cloud is able rapidly develop and improve the quality of their services. They are also constantly optimizing their products to enhance user experience. The console itself has improved significantly in the past few months. I am confident that we can see a lot of new product offerings and more improvements in the coming months.
My Final Thoughts
In my opinion, there is no such thing as a perfect cloud provider. However, what sets Alibaba Cloud apart is their dedication to customers and the innovative services they provide. Alibaba Cloud has a rapidly growing ecosystem, helped by the fact that they are the largest cloud provider in China. If you place great emphasis on price competitiveness and customer support, then no doubt Alibaba Cloud is the best choice for you. If you are an enterprise customer, you can also receive dedicated support from Alibaba Cloud’s team of Solution Architects.
I hope this post was insightful and helped you better understand the services provided by Alibaba Cloud. I am grateful for having the opportunity to share my experiences with everyone.