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Recently, Zhu Shunmin, a researcher with Alibaba Cloud Network Services, released a variety of new network products at the Apsara Conference 2020. One of the products is the Application Load Balancer (ALB.) Positioned at the application layer, ALB provides superior performance. It is secure, reliable, cloud-native, and out-of-the-box. It supports auto scaling, the Quick UDP Internet Connection (QUIC) protocol, content-based advanced routing, built-in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection, cloud-native applications, flexible billing, and other product capabilities. It meets many diversified application-layer load requirements.
When seeing the letters ALB, many people will think of the classic SLB service. Alibaba Cloud Server Load Balancer (SLB) released nearly ten years ago, providing users in various industries with powerful and stable load balancing capabilities. It distributes large amounts of concurrent traffic, prevents Single Point of Failures (SPOFs), and improves service availability. However, as enterprises and Internet businesses develop rapidly, business forms and demands are constantly changing. As a result, traditional load balancing cannot meet the requirements of many business scenarios. There is an urgent need for new product design to meet the requirements for high performance, elasticity, multi-protocol layer-7 forwarding, security, and cloud-native, such as Internet service, big e-commerce promotions, audio and video service, mobile Internet applications, gaming, financial services, and cloud-native applications.
E-commerce companies need to carry out big promotions during festivals and major events. Live broadcasting is essential, but the peak traffic volume cannot be estimated before the event. In addition, load sharing must be performed based on the region, time period, and payment process. Although traditional load balancing features unified and flexible scheduling capabilities, it still lacks elasticity, scalability, and high performance. In addition, it cannot achieve real-time elasticity, high concurrency, and large capacity. It cannot complete multi-protocol (HTTP/HTTPS/HOST/URL/Cookie/Http Method) layer-7 forwarding. A new application load balancing (ALB) product is required to meet business needs.
For various video services, such as long videos, short videos, live videos, and online education, the demand for back-end resources increases. Millions of new connection requests, automatic elastic scaling, and traffic forwarding mechanisms based on user profiles make the current layer-4 SLB unable to fully meet the business development needs. By leveraging the transmission and forwarding capabilities of QUIC, ALB can quickly establish connections, shorten latency, distribute request traffic, and ensure high-traffic services.
In recent years, many businesses have been migrated to the cloud. Cloud vendors provide unified Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) capabilities and cloud services, which greatly improves resource reuse at the IaaS layer. Users also want to unify systems at higher layers of IaaS. In this way, resources and products can be continuously reused to further reduce the operating costs of enterprises. This is where cloud-native architecture focuses. Based on the cloud-native architecture, ALB meets user requirements in scenarios, such as phased release, traffic simulation, and microservices.
Network is critical for service migration to the cloud. As more complex enterprise applications are migrated to the cloud, the requirements for cloud networks are becoming higher. The top priority is concurrent high-traffic scheduling and application load balancing capabilities. With the launch of ALB, Alibaba Cloud will focus more on facilitating application delivery and ensuring high elasticity, security, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of applications.
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