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How Onion Academy Geared up Its Systems during the COVID-19 Epidemic

This year, Onion Academy’s system was abruptly faced with an unprecedented demand due to school closures connected to the COVID-19 epidemic. However, thanks to the elastic services provided by Alibaba Cloud, Onion Academy’s systems remained as strong as a rock.

Taking Full Advantage of Containerization Technology

With brick-and-mortar schools closed, students would likely still follow their regular routines and go online all around the same time. This meant that online learning platforms like Onion Academy would need to prepare for huge traffic volumes and highly concurrent access. To ready their systems, Onion Academy integrated Alibaba Cloud Container Service for Kubernetes and several ApsaraDB database engines. This allowed Onion Academy to quickly and smoothly scale the business without changing the application itself. Alibaba Cloud Container Service can elastically and intelligently expand the underlying resources within minutes, allowing a business to quickly deploy thousands of application instances.

Upgrading Their Database Management Systems

Next, to ensure the overall stability and “smoothness” of Onion Academy’s underlying platform, Alibaba Cloud provided a comprehensive architectural solution for Onion Academy. At the database layer, ApsaraDB for Redis provides high-speed caching, whereas the combination of ApsaraDB RDS for PostgreSQL and ApsaraDB for MongoDB provides persistent storage. At the application layer, the team adopted modified microservices and containerized deployment. This architecture gave Onion Academy the core capabilities needed to be able to tackle face on the new challenges they faced with more students and teacher logging on.

Improving Their Monitoring Systems and Fault Detection

Originally, in Onion Academy’s systems, only the scheduled scanning of faulty nodes was supported based on load balancing, and the team of engineers could not promptly identify exceptions. Now, with Container Service Kubernetes, Onion has its own disaster recovery and error detection mechanisms, which allow automatic failover between pods within containers. This greatly reduced the time required for problem discovery. Meanwhile, with Alibaba Cloud CloudMonitor, ARMS Prometheus, ARMS frontend monitoring, as well as Log Service, Onion can monitor cloud resources, container clusters, container nodes, pods, and other metrics in an effective and accurate way, so that, when cluster statuses change, or when pods are created, pulled, or deleted, or when component exceptions occur, an alarm can be automatically triggered, so that faults can be resolved quickly.

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