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Recently, the world's leading open source organization Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) officially released CNCF Cloud Native Survey China 2019. According to the report, Alibaba Cloud's Function Compute ranks first in China with a 46% share in enterprise service markets that use Serverless as a hosting platform. Alibaba Cloud has long been a leader in Serverless in China. The first 2020 User Survey on China Cloud Native released in the same month by China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT). The survey shows that Alibaba Cloud Serverless is considered as the first choice by 66% Chinese Serverless users.
With the arrival of digital transformation, cloud computing is seen as the key to realizing digital enhancement and innovative business. Although cloud computing is common in the information era, it is not really possible to be ready to use and billing flexible in real practice. Serverless is the third generation of general computing technology after virtual machines and containers. Compared with traditional back-end architectures, Serverless has many advantages, such as O&M-free for cost savings, fast deployment and delivery, and flexibility. Next decade will be the era for cloud computing to truly become infrastructure in information age. Although Serverless is the trend of the times, there are still many challenges in Serverless deployment.
According to 2020 User Survey on China Cloud Native by CAICT, serverless has been applied in the production environments with nearly 30% of users, but only 16% of users use serverless for the production of their core businesses. In a recent statistical report from O 'Reilly, a leading market research firm, shows that 60% of organizations that have not adopted serverless cited “security concerns” as the chief reason they have avoided serverless.
In addition to that, most businesses face the following four challenges when adopting a serverless approach. First, existing applications cannot be migrated smoothly with its high entrance threshold. It is costly and risky to migrate to business system for complex enterprises. Second, it is lack of a unified open source standard due to vendor locking. Most Serverless applications still rely on the non-standard Backend as a Service (BaaS). Third, the tool chain is incomplete. Compared with traditional application development, Serverless applications do not provide proper debugging and monitoring tools. Fourth, learning costs are high. It is hard for developers to change their thinking mode from "O&M for fixed IP addresses" to "O&M for the final state of applications".
To address the challenges above, Alibaba Cloud strives to perfect its product services and improve its developer ecosystems. First, the Serverless product matrix has been established, including container instance-oriented Elastic Container Instance (ECI), container orchestration-oriented Serverless Kubernetes (ASK), application-oriented Serverless App Engine (SAE), and function-oriented Function Compute (FC). This matrix reduces the threshold for enterprises to adapt Serverless, and quickly implements to migrate to inventory application smoothly in complex business system. Second, through open-source projects, Alibaba Cloud Serverless improves the developer ecosystem, supports mainstream frameworks, and provides experience-level specifications to reduce the impact of vendor locking. Third, a simpler and more convenient Serverless tool chain system has been provided for developers to improve experience and reduce learning costs. Fourth, Alibaba Cloud builds a Serverless platform for everyone to construct called Serverless Devs. The platform reduces the learning cost, making Serverless available to most people.
To promote the development of Serverless technology for all industries, Alibaba Cloud has been one of the earliest cloud service vendors in function computing since 2016. In 2017, Alibaba Cloud launched the first Serverless and FaaS product that supports millisecond-level elastic scaling in China. The Network Attached Storage (NAS) for function computing was released in 2018, which is the first Serverless product in the world that supports the sharing of read and write capabilities between functions in local file systems. In 2019, function computing 2.0 was launched, providing pioneering product capabilities including reserved instances, single instance with multi-concurrency, custom runtime, and subscription. Among these capabilities, the excellent multi-concurrency capability is still the only one in China until now. In 2020, function computing launched many exclusive products features in container images, performance instance, link tracking, and asynchronous configuration. In the same year, Alibaba Cloud obtained the certification of Trusted Cloud Service with full marks and developed the first open-source developer platform, Serverless Devs. Based on the powerful cloud ecosystem capabilities of Alibaba Cloud, function computing has integrated 15 Alibaba Cloud products. Moreover, by its unique event-driven features, Alibaba Cloud helps customer processes complex cloud businesses in a simple and fast way.
As a leader of Serverless technology and products in China, Alibaba Cloud possesses much experience in implementation practices, covering all industry scenarios in e-commerce, retail, Internet of Things (IoT), audio and video, artificial intelligence (AI). In addition, Serverless supports thousands of enterprises all over the world, such as Sina Weibo, Shimo.im, Century Mart, Mango TV, and GSX Techedu Inc., to achieve cost reduction and efficiency improvement. During Double 11, Alibaba Cloud Serverless stably supported internal businesses of Alibaba Group, including Taobao, Tmall, Xianyu, Ant Financial, DingTalk, and 1688 ,with tens of millions of queries per second (QPS) peak. Furthermore, the Serverless successfully achieved the first large-scale implementation in the core business in China in 2020 Double 11.
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