Community Blog Double 11 with Alibaba Cloud: $1B Gross Merchandise Volume in 68 Seconds with Zero Downtime

Double 11 with Alibaba Cloud: $1B Gross Merchandise Volume in 68 Seconds with Zero Downtime

This article details some of the innovative technologies behind some of the record-breaking figures of this year's Double 11 global shopping festival.

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Read our latest Double 11 whitepaper to learn how you can benefit from the technologies behind the world's largest online shopping festival.

Not too long ago, Alibaba Cloud revealed the core technologies implemented during this year's record-breaking, 24-hour Double 11 global shopping festival. The data intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group applied multiple mature technologies to power the cloud infrastructure and other key AI-enabled features to help millions of businesses to reach hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide on Alibaba's various e-commerce platforms, including Tmall, Taobao and AliExpress, during the major shopping event.


In this article, we're going to take a quick look at some of the core technologies and neat innovations that powered and enriched this year's Double 11 shopping event on Alibaba's various e-commerce platforms, and see how these technologies helped to make this year's event such a breakthrough in cloud computing and e-commerce.

Powerful Cloud Infrastructure for Extreme Scalability and Robustness

Launched during this year's Apsara Conference in September, the third generation of X-Dragon architecture went full on in the infrastructure backbone of this year's Double 11. With this new generation of X-Dragon on board, the Elastic Bare Metal Servers improved in terms of cost efficiency by 20%. X-Dragon seamlessly integrates with existing computing platforms, such as Elastic Compute Service (ECS) bare metal server and virtual machines, in a single, unified architecture.

Tapping into this strong infrastructural foundation, Alibaba Cloud handled an instance of extreme scalability, processing $1 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV) in the first 68 seconds of the shopping event, and the volume hit a whopping $10 billion in GMV in under a half an hour. Overall, Alibaba Cloud's infrastructure handled a record-shattering $38.4 billion of GMV in 24 hours with zero downtime.

Extreme Data Processing Coupled with Green Technologies

Alibaba Cloud's Apsara Operating System processed around 970 perabytes of data to support the peak performance of 544,000 orders per second, setting a record during this year's Double 11 event.

POLARDB, an innovative data management system developed in house at Alibaba Cloud, supported sales activity with a peak of 87 million requests processed per second. The new generation cloud-native POLARDB database decouples computing from storage and combines performance with the compatibility and availability of traditional enterprise databases in a cost-effective manner.

Next, through proprietary green technologies developed at Alibaba Group, including things like liquid immersion and deep-water cooling, the power consumption needed for every 10,000 e-Commerce transactions was reduced to 2kWh. And overall data center energy consumption dropped a dramatic 70% from last year, saving over 200,000 kWh during the event.

AI to Empower Sales of International Brands from Small and Medium Sellers

Thousands of Tmall sellers were upgraded to Tmall Flagship Store 2.0 storefronts before Double 11. Version 2.0 offers a unique user interface with a 3D Taobao avatar for customers to try on clothes and jewelry, further engaging customers through rich, interactive content and an omni-channel experience. The conversion rate per purchase was increased by over 20% from last year, serving 1,167 key brand flagship stores this year.

Alime Shop Assistant, a customer-service chatbot supported by Alibaba DAMO Academy's machine learning technologies, handled 97% of online customer inquiries on Alibaba's e-commerce platforms Taobao and Tmall during Double 11. The virtual assistant also empowered hundreds of thousands of sellers on Alibaba's platforms with intelligent customer services. For example, Alime answered questions during live broadcasts, extracting answers from pictures and responding conversationally. The Alime chatbot service offers 11 languages to support communications between global buyers and sellers.

Alibaba DAMO Academy provides enhanced machine translation technology for the cross-border e-commerce platform AliExpress. The technology can help small- and medium-sized sellers go global through automatically translating their store and product pages into 21 languages, including Russian, Spanish, Turkish, French and Arabic, for buyers from Europe, Asia, America and the Middle East. During the shopping festival, the machine translation service was used 1.66 billion times, with over 200 billion words translated in different languages.

Platform-Wide Live Streaming and Voice-Directed Shopping

During this year's global shopping festival, transactions during Taobao Live, platform live streams, generated nearly $2.8 billion in sales. Many Tmall sellers went big on live streaming, which helped to boost sales dramatically. This was especially true for sellers selling products such as cosmetics, clothing, food, cars, electronics, and home décor, who experienced much growth, with home décor products in particular seeing 400% sales increase.

This year, the Taobao team developed a new, real-time communications framework for audio and video content on Alibaba Cloud. Network latency was reduced to 1.5 seconds from five to seven seconds, improving the real-time interaction experience between the live streamers and platform users. AI algorithms identified products mentioned by the live streamers during their streams with product links displayed onscreen.

During 11.11, over one million orders were placed and processed through voice command with Tmall Genie, Alibaba A.I. Labs' smart speaker. Purchased items during the day included 810,000 eggs, 1.4 million tons of rice, and 76 tons of liquid detergent, a sign that voice shopping has become an increasingly popular trend among Chinese consumers of all ages.

Read our latest Double 11 whitepaper to learn how you can benefit from the technologies behind the world's largest online shopping festival.

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