Community Blog Learn How Function Compute and Shimo Docs Helped 200,000 Enterprises Resume Work Remotely in China

Learn How Function Compute and Shimo Docs Helped 200,000 Enterprises Resume Work Remotely in China

Learn how Alibaba Cloud Function Compute helped Shimo help 200,000 enterprises in China resume work by working remotely.

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By Alibaba Developer.

Early this year China started to be hit hard by the coronavirus, COVID-19. To fight this lethal disease and protect countless lives, all sectors of Chinese society had to come together.

To answer this call, Alibaba Group promptly set up a special fund of 1 billion RMB (that's over 140 million USD) for medical supplies, the Jack Ma Foundation donated 100 million RMB (14 million USD) to accelerate the development of a possible coronavirus vaccine, and Alibaba's Logistics Hub, Cainiao, started to provide green channels to freely ship relief supplies around the world.

As a major provider of the cloud computing infrastructure behind the digital economy, Alibaba Cloud supports a large range of customer spread across several different industries, one of these customers is Shimo Docs.

Shimo Docs is China's first cloud-based productivity suite designed with enterprises in mind, which combines such staples as chat messaging, documents, spreadsheets, and other office services, all through a simple and easy-to-use interface. This service allows for real-time communication and collaboration over the cloud by leveraging the computing capabilities and elasticity of Alibaba Cloud's Function Compute service.

Shimo Docs not only helps enterprises throughout China to have an effective communication and collaboration channel on the cloud, but it has been an important instrument for keeping everyone connected when working from home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

How Shimo Docs Helped Connect People and Save Lives

With the spread of COVID-19 making working from the office a dangerous choice, Shimo Docs started to provide the premium version of their products and services free of charge, helping to connect people online no longer in the same office. This step by Shimo benefited countless enterprises and organizations, including government departments, medical organizations, and volunteers.

During this time, Shimo Docs released the remote office edition of its services with a complete new series of remote office templates. This new edition allows for the online real-time collaboration among multiple users across different geographical locations. With this edition, remote office templates are available for all users and available at anytime. These new changes have helped to make Shimo Docs a great solution for keeping in touch and working from home in China.

Besides this, Shimo also helped to save lives and empower China's fight against COVID-19. People from all sectors of Chinese society used Shimo Docs to help Wuhan during their major crisis by sharing supplies and donations to those in need in Wuhan.

In the social media post below, the writer of shared a Shimo document with the addresses of Wuhan grocery stores so that people could quickly send donations to these stores.


A similar case happened in Hangzhou. After Hangzhou issued a strict control order, many pet owners with homes in Hangzhou were unable to return to Hangzhou and take care of their precious pets. Luckily, several pet lovers and the Hangzhou Animal Protection Association were able to use Shimo Docs to post and continually update the status of pets that were left behind in Hangzhou, connecting to other pet owners in the same residential communities to help take care of these pets while their owners could no longer return to their homes. These efforts helped more than 300 families that were affected.

The Technical Challenges Shimo Docs Faced

The Shimo Docs technical team has worked hard to support real-time multi-user collaboration on their services despite an unprecedented demand to their system. For this, the team at Shimo explored several different solutions and in the end decided to modify the operational transformation algorithm used in their systems to resolve merge conflicts that occurred during simultaneous editing sessions in high demand scenarios.

This real-time modification by multiple users all at the same time put a tremendous pressure on Shimo's servers. It may only take a few milliseconds for the system to update after one user types in a word. But, with you have massive numbers of users editing Shimo documents, especially when you have a large number of users making modifications to one document at the same time, there can be a bit of a lag, with the data distribution becoming uneven in a short period of time.

For this, Shimo Docs required a set of elastic and highly available cloud services to help process their document editing conflicts in real time and ensure millisecond response times for document synchronization. These services needed to be cost-effective and able to smoothly handle peak loads to be a realistic solution to Shimo's problems.

How Alibaba Cloud Helped Power Shimo's Services

A serverless architecture on the cloud is a good solution for traffic bursts. Function Compute is a serverless computing platform developed by Alibaba Cloud. Based on the number of requests to a system, Function Compute can dynamically allocate running environments and schedule computing resources in milliseconds, ensuring a great deal of stability and low latency even when loads are heavy. And with Alibaba Cloud's flexible pay-as-you-go billing, only computing resources used during code running are billed.

Shimo Docs decided to use Function Compute to support its real-time document editing service and implement its real-time document collaboration logic through a set of functions. The intelligent scheduling system of Function Compute can allocate a running environment to handle heavy loads caused by simultaneous multi-user document editing automatically. The dynamic scaling capabilities of Function Compute also ensures that applications can run reliably.

With the millisecond resource scaling capabilities of Function Compute, Shimo Docs were able to effectively resolve their computing resource scaling problem when loads surge at peak hours. Function Compute helped Shimo Docs improve resource utilization, reducing the waste of idle resources, saving 58% of server costs. The solution implemented relieved Shimo Docs of the trouble of building data centers and maintaining servers itself.

Without needing to consider the load balance problem of CPU-intensive computing, Shimo Docs has been able to accelerate project iteration and release. Engineers are able to put the entirety of their focus into cooperation with the product team to continuously expand business value, rather than service-related issues. This has greatly improved development efficiency and process stability.

For more information about Function Compute capabilities, see Function Compute: Introduction and Practice.

While continuing to wage war against the worldwide outbreak, Alibaba Cloud will play its part and will do all it can to help others in their battles with the coronavirus. Learn how we can support your business continuity at https://www.alibabacloud.com/campaign/supports-your-business-anytime

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