Sylvester Lee is an Alibaba Cloud MVP in Malaysia. He is a CEO & founder of Verificer – a B2B blockchain solution company operating in Malaysia, China, and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, he is also the A CTO & founder of FiiiLab – an end-to-end blockchain solution company that provides blockchain application development and consultation service, cryptocurrency POS terminal, digital wallet, payment gateway and exchange service. Today, he will share his story about what makes FiiiPay one of the fastest and most reliable crypto wallet in Asia.
FiiiPay was launched in June, 2018. Since our launch, we have gone through many obstacles, including business and technical challenges, until today. In this article, I would like to share all my past experience about our FiiiPay system.
In August 2018, we organized a security hackathon in Malaysia to invite hackers to attempt to hack or break into our API system. Some even tried to hijack the FiiiPOS terminal software, but all attempts were unsuccessful. The hackers managed to find minor bugs related to UI defects only.
Later in September 2018, we encountered hackers attacking our API to create user accounts using fake mobile numbers in order to gain our FiiiCoin for free through the referral marketing campaign. However, we managed to stop it by applying stricter rules in order to earn the freebie. We were experiencing a sudden surge of system load due to the script attack, and we addressed the issue by applying firewall rules based on the attack patterns.
During December 2018, our user base grew to 340,000, and there were 22,000 POS terminal online. At the same time for FiiiCoin mining, active online users exceed 30,000 daily, and our servers were unable to cope with the load. We decided to increase our server capacity and apply a load balancing strategy by utilizing the cloud.
We were able to do so thanks to Alibaba Cloud. If you are building a similar e-wallet application, you may consider taking my solution as reference. I am sure you are curious why we chose Alibaba Cloud? Why not AWS or Azure? Well, I have done a lot survey and testing with all of the top cloud providers.
Firstly, I learned that Alibaba Cloud's network performance in Asia is better compared with other cloud service providers. Secondly in terms of pricing, it is affordable. And finally, I had to consider where our business is located and where our users are located. Since our business focuses on the Asia market, Hong Kong would be a strategic location as it is the center point of all Asia countries. Hong Kong became my best choice of data center location.
I would say my main consideration is cost. As a startup company, we do not have a lot of resources, so we need to control the budget tightly by spending on things that are only necessary. On premises servers can meet our requirements, but they require high maintenance effort, such as through hiring a DevOps or System Engineer to ensure high availability, redundancy, regular backup, and disaster recovery. Furthermore, most local internet service providers provide limited network bandwidth and the network fee is expensive. Therefore, cloud services like Alibaba Cloud's Elastic Compute Service (ECS) provide the flexibility and solution that fit my requirement.
ECS allowed me to change the server specifications anytime I want and quickly. If my system is suffering from high loads, and I can easily configure the server to temporarily increase the server capacity, including the network bandwidth, all through the console.
Every software company practices System Integration Test (SIT) and User Acceptance Test (UAT) before launching a product in the market. Most of the time, test servers are not in use unless testing tasks being carried out. Hence, these test servers can be temporarily shut down. I find that ECS Pay-As-You-Go billing method gives me the flexibility to pay only when it is required. Servers that are shut down will not be charged except of course for file storage on OSS, which is still economical. All this helped me save cost.
Database is the heart of an entire system, it cannot be down fort even a second. As an e-wallet solution provider, robust system and high availability are of utmost importance. We cannot afford down time as it will impact customer experience and affect the confidence level towards our product. This is what I like about Alibaba Cloud's ApsaraDB for RDS. It enables me to provision a database in just a few minutes. It gives me peace of mind in all the routine work such as differential backup, full backup, redundancy, replication and fail-over by just a few clicks of a button. Even the connection architecture is setup by following best practices.
Another important aspect is to provision a Server Load Balancer (SLB) for load distribution to different servers to support high concurrency. When single API server is unable to cope the concurrent requests, then you can opt for adding extra ECS instance to the share the load by having both ECS instances assigned to a Server Group of an SLB. The request will be distributed to the instances automatically.
Lastly, all the cloud services can be monitored on a single interface. We can easily configure alarm rules to monitor ECS instances or RDS databases. If there is high CPU or RAM usage or if the disk storage is running low, you will receive an alert in your email or notification in DingTalk.
In conclusion, by just relying on Alibaba Cloud services, you can run a full-fledged IT operation for server, database, and network at an affordable price and enterprise level service. FiiiPay has been using Alibaba Cloud services for more than one year and has never faced any downtime before. We are overall very satisfied with the service!
Read more about FiiiPay at What Makes FiiiPay A Fast & Reliable Crypto Wallet in Asia?
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