Open source a stream: Alibaba Cloud conjures up e-retail stream processing ‘magic’

The stuff of legends? The original Ali Baba for sure, but the tech firm Alibaba is also hoping to go down in the history books.

TechTarget’s Aaron Tang has already detailed some of the firm’s most recent database-level work here… and next from the Cloud division is a big muscle play for processing power.

Established in 2009, Alibaba Cloud is the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group.

The company’s cloud technology was recently implemented to support an online shopping festival that saw throughput levels run with peak orders hitting 583,000 per second – 1,400 times the peak volume seen via the same e-retail channel a decade ago.

Chief technology officer of Alibaba Group Li Cheng says that his firm is focused on building digital infrastructure that supports zero downtime operation for cloud-native developers’ applications.

Open source streams

Alibaba’s real-time computing platform is powered by Apache Flink, an open source, unified stream-processing and batch-processing framework developed by the Apache Software Foundation. 

Working alongside the platform is MaxCompute, Alibaba’s proprietary data warehousing platform. This technology can juggle as much as 1.7 exabytes (an exabyte is equal to 1 billion gigabytes) of data a day… and that’s only as far as it has been pushed i.e. it has greater scope.

Leveraging cloud-native databases, including PolarDB, AnalyticDB and Lindorm, Alibaba Cloud notes that PolarDB set a new record with 140 million queries per second.

AnalyticDB, Alibaba Cloud’s self-developed cloud native data warehouse has also hit new benchmark levels and has processed up to 7.7 trillion lines of real-time data, equaling 15 times the data contained in the UK Web Archive at the British Library. 

Also here… AliExpress, Alibaba’s global retail marketplace, has unveiled the world’s first real-time livestreaming translation feature on an e-commerce platform powered by DAMO’s innovative speech model, supporting simultaneous translation from Chinese to English, Russian, Spanish and French. 

In other watershed moments, Alibaba Cloud has supported one of the world’s largest container clusters, enabling the upscaling to one million containers in an hour. The optimal elasticity and scheduling capacity enabled by the cloud-native technologies led to an 80% reduction of computing resources for every 10,000 transactions conducted compared to four years ago.

The original Ali Baba – clearly not happy – probably due to the poor e-retail experiences he was getting.


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