Community Blog Looking Back: ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL Was On a Roll in 2019

Looking Back: ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL Was On a Roll in 2019

This post looks back at 2019, which was one big year for ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL, Alibaba Cloud's fully hosted MySQL database service.

Looking back, 2019 was one big year for Alibaba Cloud ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL. We released core features, upgraded its performance, and even launched innovative new products. So, with all of that said, let's look at the year-end results of this stellar product.

The Industry's First Commitment of 99.99% Availability SLA

Alibaba Cloud upgraded its Service Level Agreement (SLA) for ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL in December 2019. It promised to provide 99.99% availability for three-node Enterprise Edition instances deployed in three zones and for high-availability local SSD-equipped dedicated instances and dedicated hosts deployed in two zones. Alibaba Cloud is the first and only cloud vendor that has made such a commitment. This upgrade in availability SLA demonstrates Alibaba Cloud's confidence in its database technologies. This was made possible by our comprehensive technology upgrade and the trust of hundreds of thousands of Alibaba Cloud database users.

The First Chinese Cloud Vendor to Supports MySQL 8.0

Alibaba Cloud took the lead to launch ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 8.0 smoothly in May 2019 based on its efficient engineering capabilities. ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 8.0 came with many exciting features, such as atomic data definition language (DDL) statements, instant column addition, window functions, Hash Join, and the Temp engine. Alibaba Cloud also launched ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 8.0 (Enterprise Edition) for enterprise users ahead of all of the other cloud vendors.


ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 8.0 offers the Basic Edition (Single-node) that is applicable to development and testing environments, and the High-availability Edition (Dual-node) that is applicable to the general production environment of enterprises and offers dedicated instances to ensure higher security and SLA assurance. It also provides the Enterprise Edition (Three-node) that ensures 100% data security and is applicable to transaction and accounting systems with high requirements for data reliability and to sectors such as finance, securities, government, and healthcare. Currently, ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 8.0 covers the most product formats and meets all of the database requirements of a modern enterprise.

The Fully Upgraded Enterprise Edition (Three-Node)

Alibaba Cloud launched ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 5.7 Enterprise Edition (Three-node) in July 2019 and ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 8.0 Enterprise Edition (Three-node) in December 2019. Compared with ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 5.6 Enterprise Edition (Three-node), formerly known as the Financial Edition, version 8.0 has fully upgraded the kernel code and used the Paxos algorithm to write a new log synchronization mechanism. This has effectively improved performance and reduces costs. In ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 5.6 Enterprise Edition (Three-node), all the three nodes require computing and data storage resources. However, in ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 5.7 Enterprise Edition (Three-node) and ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 8.0 Enterprise Edition (Three-node), the third node is used only for logs and requires only a few resources to synchronize and update a large number of logs. Therefore, these later versions has also effectively reduced overall costs and are available at a much lower price.

ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 5.7 Enterprise Edition (Three-node) and ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 8.0 Enterprise Edition (Three-node) provide general-purpose instances to further reduce enterprise expenditures. An entry-level instance with a single-core CPU and 2 GB of memory costs only RMB 300 a month. After some technical optimizations, the original limits on local storage space have been significantly reduced for dedicated instances so that they can meet various needs of enterprises.

The Launch of New AliSQL Kernel

After several months of development, Alibaba Cloud officially released the enterprise-level AliSQL Kernel of ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 5.7 and 8.0 in September 2019. The new kernel version includes many enterprise-level database features:


  • Dynamic Thread Pool (DTP): It dynamically manages the database thread pool in the kernel. It also uses limited resources to support a large number of requests for creating database connections, and maintains the ability to handle requests efficiently and stably.
  • Index Mutex Tuning (IMT): IMT-based optimization has significantly reduced the cost of splitting inodes and therefore greatly improved the ability to handle TPC-C-like scenarios. In full-memory testing, a single node can provide 390,000 transactions per minute, which is 35% to 50% higher than that of the native edition.
  • TDE and SM4: This feature provides optimized Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) and supports the SM4 encryption algorithm.
  • Performance Insight: It displays a wide range of information about the database SQL performance, which includes table statistics, index statistics, execution time of a single SQL statement, I/O statistics, and key performance data output.
  • AsyncFile Purge: It optimizes the deletion of large tables and therefore effectively reduces the impact of system I/O jitter.
  • Slow Log Rotate: It designs a switching mechanism for slow logs and therefore effectively reduces the instability caused by a large number of slow logs.
  • SQL Outline: It uses Hint to optimize the execution plans for SQL statements. As such, it ensures that the plans remain unchanged in the case of various environment changes such as major version upgrades and changes in statistics.
  • Statement Concurrency Control (SCC): Database administrators (DBA) uses SCC to intervene in the execution of system statements, throttle the traffic of specific SQL statements to control concurrency, and ensure that databases run stably during emergencies.
  • DDLRecycle Bin: A bin is added to the kernel to prevent the accidental execution of DROP TABLE or TRUNCATE TABLE, which may cause irreparable damage.

Support for ESSD Storage

ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL officially started to support enhanced SSDs (ESSDs) in April 2019. This allows our databases to meet requirements for large storage capacity. Currently, a maximum capacity of 16 terabytes is supported. In addition, ESSDs support storage encryption and online resizing, which greatly improves their security and availability.


The Major Upgrade in the Security System

ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 5.7 and 8.0 officially started to support data encryption in December 2019. Now, all the second-generation security capabilities of RDS for MySQL have been completed, including transparent data encryption (TDE), secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption and closing, and Elastic Compute Service (ECS) security groups, as well as storage disk encryption, built-in keys, and key rotation. So, it's easy to see that ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL continued to lead the industry in security features in 2019.

Database Table Restoration

In 2019, ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 5.7 and 8.0 started to support database table restoration to ensure business continuity. This feature can be used to restore one table to a specified instance in an abnormal user scenario, which can significantly increase the restoration efficiency. This feature is also friendly to businesses such as gaming companies and online retail stores because it can help users quickly enable services and restore business.

Cross-region Backup

Alibaba Cloud released the cross-region backup feature for ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL in 2019. This allows it to seamlessly back up the backup files of a user to another city, and therefore helps enterprises meet their industry-specific compliance requirements. Currently, cross-region backup files can be retained for up to five years.

Dedicated Proxy

Alibaba Cloud has launched Dedicated Proxy 2.0 for ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 5.7 and 8.0, upgrading the multi-tenant proxy solution in ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL 5.6 to the dedicated proxy solution. In contrast to the multi-tenant proxy solution, in the dedicated proxy solution, each database instance cluster that includes the primary and read-only instances is an independent database proxy cluster with stable processing capabilities. Such a cluster allows adding proxy instances based on the system load to improve throughput capacity and provide consistent performance for highly concurrent requests for database read/write splitting. In addition, a dedicated proxy can be activated independently and does not have to be bound to the read/write splitting feature. Application connections do not have to be modified for a unified proxy when read/write splitting is activated. This avoids the complicated O&M workload entailed by repeated release.

Fully Upgraded CloudDBA and Performance Insight

In 2019, Alibaba Cloud upgraded CloudDBA, an excellent performance optimizer, to a new version for ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL. Specifically, CloudDBA was added with several key features such as full SQL statistics and analysis, performance trends, real-time performance, and session management. You can use CloudDBA to view and analyze system problems in real time. In addition, we released Performance Insight, which focuses on load monitoring, association analysis, and performance tuning for ApsaraDB for RDS instances. This tool can help you locate points with poor database performance based on the number of active sessions, find out sources of performance problems, and improve database stability in an easy manner.


X-Engine, a Database Engine with a High Compression Ratio

In 2019, Alibaba Cloud released X-Engine, a database storage engine with a high compression ratio, for ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL. X-Engine is compatible with MySQL features and is widely used in many internal business systems of Alibaba Group. X-Engine can serve as a database that integrates online historical data and can fully compress data without sacrificing read/write performance. This is the biggest advantage of X-Engine. According to test results, X-Engine has almost the same tpmC performance as InnoDB in standard TPC-C test scenarios.

If your applications use a MySQL database with a large number of write operations and if you want to significantly reduce storage costs and have a certain demand for query due to logs, message archiving, or order data storage, X-Engine is your best choice.

Currently, the entire historical database for Alibaba's internal DingTalk message platform runs on X-Engine, which has reduced our overall costs by 60% compared with InnoDB.

Dedicated Host Groups

In 2019, Alibaba Cloud released the innovative Dedicated Host Group feature for ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL. In a dedicated host group, you can purchase multiple hosts to form a host group. In the host group, RDS instances can be freely allocated as needed. Compared with the original solution that does not offer any dedicated host groups, a dedicated host group provides the following benefits:

  • User-controlled management: You can log on to the underlying operating system (OS) of your database, run OS commands to manage your database, deploy in-house management systems, and enjoy more permissions to support efficient management of your cloud database.
  • Flexible adjustment of instances: You can freely adjust the resource quota for a single instance, such as the CPU resources, input/output operations per second (IOPS), and maximum number of connections. As such, you can easily manage your database instances.
  • Cost-effective overcommitment: Through resource overcommitment, dedicated host groups support the hybrid deployment in offline databases and low-performance databases. As such, computing resources are fully utilized, and the overall costs are reduced by about 50%.
  • Dedicated physical environment: You own all database host resources, which are completely isolated from the external environment.
  • Hybrid deployment of various databases: Dedicated host groups support the hybrid deployment of various databases, such as ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL, ApsaraDB RDS for PostgreSQL, and ApsaraDB for Redis. This meets various needs of enterprises.

In 2019, ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL continued to develop rapidly. In addition to the preceding key features, hundreds of other improvements were made to build core database capabilities based on enterprises' requirements. These improvements cover many aspects such as security, reliability, availability, scalability, and performance.


According to Shengtong, the Product Manager of ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL at Alibaba Cloud, RDS for MySQL must keep rapid development to maintain its lead in this increasingly competitive environment and meet the rapidly increasing requirements of cloud-based enterprises. This is what keeps RDS for MySQL at the front of the pack.

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