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Alibaba Cloud platform behind seamless global shopping festival

The global shopping festival held mid-November drew hundreds of thousands of online shoppers, which generated $74.1 billion in gross merchandise value over an 11-day period, according to Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group.

Alibaba said right after midnight on Nov. 11 or just 26 seconds after official shopping began, peak orders hit 583,000 per second or 1,400 times peak volume at the festival’s debut 12 years ago.

“We were very proud to support 800 million consumers and 250,000 brands during the world’s largest shopping festival,” said Li Cheng, CTO of Alibaba Group. “From the robust digital infrastructure supporting zero downtime operation to cloud-native offerings for developers’ efficiencies and consumer-facing applications for creating some of smoothest engagement experiences, Alibaba’s technologies have once again passed the toughest tests with flying colors.”

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Alibaba owns Lazada, one of the largest e-commerce platforms in Southeast Asia. In 2016, the Group bought a controlling stake then poured in fresh investments of $2 billion in 2018.

“In the cloud-native era, it is even more pivotal for businesses to be able to take advantage of innovative Database as a Service (DBaaS) offerings to enhance and support high-concurrency and high-volume web applications such as e-commerce, online gaming, and financial technology,” said Dr. Li Feifei, president of Database Business, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence. “Many Fortune 500 firms are already using our Cloud DBaaS for mobile apps, backups, and tests.”

Alibaba’s real-time computing platform, powered by Apache Flink, processed data streams totaling four billion items per second during peak time, a considerable surge from 2.5 billion last year. MaxCompute, Alibaba’s proprietary data warehousing platform, handled 1.7 exabytes (1 exabyte = 1 billion gigabytes) of data on average per day during the 11-day festival on Nov. 1-11, equivalent to processing 230 high-resolution photos of each of the seven billion people in the world. Despite the extreme scalability and high performance required, no downtime was reported throughout this year’s extended festival period.

Leveraging cloud-native databases, including PolarDB, AnalyticDB, and Lindorm, Alibaba Cloud enabled 11.11 to run smoothly even during peak periods. PolarDB set a new record with 140 million queries per second during peak time at 11.11, a 60% increase from last year.

AnalyticDB, Alibaba Cloud’s self-developed cloud-native data warehouse, 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. PolarDB-X and AnalyticDB helped China Post to deal with more than 100 million orders during 11.11, with about 100,000 China Post users checking their parcels’ real-time status online.