Community Blog Learn How Alibaba Cloud's Databases Could Support 87 Million Transactions per Second

Learn How Alibaba Cloud's Databases Could Support 87 Million Transactions per Second

This article outlines how ApsaraDB for POLARDB is a revolutionary database that supported extreme traffic peaks during Double 11 and can support your enterprise, too.

The Alibaba Cloud 2021 Double 11 Cloud Services Sale is live now! For a limited time only you can turbocharge your cloud journey with core Alibaba Cloud products available from just $1, while you can win up to $1,111 in cash plus $1,111 in Alibaba Cloud credits in the Number Guessing Contest.

How long does one second last? Well, one second already passed by the time you read this sentence.

Read on to see how Alibaba is doing more in just a second's time.

On Double 11 in 2019, Alibaba Cloud's cloud-native database product ApsaraDB for POLARDB set an all-new record, 87 million transactions per second (TPS). That's 87 million transactions that were completed in just the blink of an eye.


In the technical press conference of Alibaba Cloud for this year's Double 11 Shopping Festival, Cao Wei, the general manager of Alibaba Cloud smart database business division, said that, with the support of Alibaba's ApsaraDB for POLARDB and other database products, the entire system encountered no jitter within the first 15 seconds of Double 11 this year, which ensured a smooth, seamless shopping experience for billions of users.

ApsaraDB for POLARDB set a new record of 87 million TPS on Double 11, far surpassing that of traditional Oracle databases.


During this year's Double 11 Shopping Festival, Alibaba's core e-commerce systems, as well as its transactions, inventory links, and core applications, including the Alibaba e-commerce, logistics, and finance clouds used ApsaraDB for POLARDB, connecting Alibaba's platforms to e-commerce platform merchants and then logistics system with customers, to provide all end users with a smooth and hassle-free shopping experience.

As the first cloud-native relational database developed by Alibaba in China, ApsaraDB for POLARDB was born on the cloud and can serve customers from all over the world. It embodies the philosophy of "innovation, openness, and inclusion" and integrates a series of new, innovative technologies, including isolated storage, distributed shared storage, active geo-redundancy, and close software and hardware integration. This database product can be elastically scaled in minutes and has physical replication latency as low as a few milliseconds to be able to handle the massive numbers of orders seen during Alibaba's huge online promotions and withstand the transaction peaks seen at the midnight launch of the Double 11 online shopping event, which sharply increased by 122-fold this year.

  1. Distributed scaling and disaster recovery: The database's storage capacity can be scaled up to 100 TB, and a single database can be scaled out to 16 nodes, which can meet enterprise-level requirements for big data storage. Even in cases of high concurrency, the inventory of commodities will not be oversold or overbought.
  2. Active geo-redundancy and global synchronization: By using a highly reliable solution with a zero recovery point objective (RPO), POLARDB provides a data reliability of up to 99.9999999999% with 6 replicas across zones. Remote read-only nodes implement efficient synchronization. The kernel layer supports global disaster recovery and provides the powerful capability of updating hot lines. All these features helped to provide a superior user experience during the huge traffic peak seen at the midnight launch of the Double 11 promotion.
  3. High performance, outstanding elasticity and low cost: The database features minute-level elasticity and can cope with traffic peaks in a cost efficient manner. Thanks to elastic upgrades, customers can flexibly schedule resources to ensure no service interruptions during the major Double 11 Shopping Festival or any other traffic spike, and at the same time also effectively low overall maintenance costs. All of this enables enterprises to migrate their large-scale businesses to the cloud more easily than ever before.

Enterprises can rapidly scale up during peak hours and quickly scale down during off-peak hours to minimize business costs.


ApsaraDB for POLARDB is fully compatible with ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL and ApsaraDB RDS for PostgreSQL, supporting MySQL and PostgreSQL, two extremely popular open-source database ecosystems today. In addition, ApsaraDB for POLARDB is also highly compatible with Oracle syntax, enabling traditional enterprises to migrate to the cloud at less than one sixth the cost required by traditional databases. In fact, enterprise customers can migrate to ApsaraDB for POLARDB with just a single click to experience the higher capacity, superior performance, better elasticity, and lower costs that POLARDB has to offer without modifying any application code.

Enterprises Can Migrate to the Cloud More Easily

At present, ApsaraDB for POLARDB is the fastest-growing database product of Alibaba Cloud. It supports Alibaba Group's various e-commerce platforms and businesses, including Taobao, Tmall, and Cainiao. It is also widely used in like government affairs, Internet finance, new retail, transportation, education, gaming, and video streaming. It serves many enterprise customers, including Zhejiang Province's "All at Once", Beijing Public Transport, Intime Department Store, China Post, and Zhongan Insurance.

Zhejiang Province's "All at Once" is a large project that benefits the livelihood of people living in Zhejiang, China. In this project, ApsaraDB for POLARDB has helped to connect data silos among different departments and enable data to be easily and safely transmitted in the cloud.

Beijing Public Transport is the one of largest urban public transport systems in China, having the largest number of vehicles as well as the most complex range of vehicle models and billing methods of any other system of its kind in the world. It uses ApsaraDB for POLARDB distributed databases at its underlying infrastructure layer to support more than 20 thousand buses in Beijing, which provides convenient transportation for an average of 8 million people every day.

With class-leading security, reliability, and performance, ApsaraDB for POLARDB can meet the stringent database system requirements of the finance and insurance industries. Empowered by ApsaraDB for POLARDB, Zhong'an Insurance has improved its read and write efficiency for policies online by 25%, implemented data sharing between business divisions and subsidiaries, and met the requirements of high frequency business development and financial-grade scenarios.

Intime Department Store has finished replacing its traditional databases with ApsaraDB for POLARDB, which has allowed Intime to save more than 10 million CNY on database overhead alone and easily cope with traffic peaks during big online shopping promotions.

Alibaba Cloud has the richest line of cloud database products in China. Currently, more than 400 thousand databases have been migrated to Alibaba Cloud, with customers with leading enterprises in the fields of finance, telecommunications, manufacturing, and logistics.

According to Gartner, Alibaba Cloud ranks third in the global cloud database market with an annual growth rate of 115%. Cloud-native database products like ApsaraDB for POLARDB are taking over traditional database market share and becoming the database of choice for many enterprises.

Recognized by Leading Industry and Academic Experts

In addition to being used by several enterprises in the migration their core businesses to the cloud, ApsaraDB for POLARDB has also been recognized for using some of the most innovative technologies in the industry. Relevant reports about ApsaraDB for POLARDB have been referenced by several top international database conferences, including the Special Interest Group on Management Of Data (SIGMOD), the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), Very Large Data Bases (VLDB), and International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE). Its technical strengths have been recognized widely by academic and industry experts.

This year, a paper introducing ApsaraDB for POLARDB was also included in ACM SIGMOD. The paper describes the proprietary storage engine X-Engine, which is made for large-traffic scenarios. The technological innovation of this storage engine is that it breaks away from the limitations associated with traditional data schema and adopts an all-new architecture of tiered storage. This engine can store data based on data access frequency to implement faster storage and reading operations.

In addition, the papers "TcpRT: Instrument and Diagnostic Analysis System for Service Quality of Cloud Databases at Massive Scale in Real-time", "PolarFS: An Ultra-low Latency and Failure Resilient Distributed File System for Shared Storage Cloud Database", and "S3: A Scalable In-memory Skip-List Index for Key-Value Store" were published in SIGMOD and VLDB.

According to the database evaluation report "The Forrester Wave™ : Database-As-A-Service" (Q2 2019) released by the international market research authority Forrester, Alibaba Cloud databases are among the "strong performers".

Last year, Alibaba Cloud was also included in Gartner's database magic quadrant, Visionary Quadrant, as the first and only Chinese enterprise to be recognized. And, in the recent 6th World Internet Conference, ApsaraDB for POLARDB was selected as one of the World's Leading Internet Scientific and Technologies Achievements and was held center stage with its diverse array of strengths.

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