Community Blog The Future of Databases and Self-Driving Databases

The Future of Databases and Self-Driving Databases

Here shows the future of databases, what engineers need to learn to power automated databases, and what the company has to offer to data scientists.

Self-Driving Databases Are the Future, Learn Why

Feifei Li, President of Database Systems at Alibaba, feels that AI, which now is limited to computer vision and speech/voice recognition currently, will play a huge role in business operations in the future.

Alibaba and Jack Ma are household names today. The tech giant has a market cap among the global top 10 and has expanded into all major markets in the world. Technology has driven Alibaba's superlative growth, and has helped the company do what Amazon, Google, eBay, PayPal, FedEx, as well as wholesalers and umpteen manufacturers do in the US. Now, the world over, companies are adopting and adapting to artificial intelligence and the future of business. And Alibaba is leading the way.

Fostering the tech behemoth's growth is Feifei Li, the Vice President of the Alibaba Group and President of Database Systems at Alibaba. Before joining the tech conglomerate, whose revenues are $56.15 billion, Feifei was a professor at University of Utah, US. Feifei believes AI is "yet to make a big impact" and remains limited to heuristics like computer vision, speech, and voice recognition. But, he feels that one thing's crystal clear: AI will in time play a big role in the way business is conducted.

What Is Changing in Database Technologies and Where Is This Tech Heading?

The database is a mature technology and has been around for 40 years, especially relational databases. I feel like a dinosaur. That's part of the reason why this conversation is important and exciting. You know what happened to dinosaurs, right? They went extinct. So, how does one evolve in the tech world and not become extinct? The cloud has provided several opportunities, and there are several cloud-native database companies that can compete with the likes of Oracle. The future of database technologies are cloud native databases.

But, not many people realize that the cloud was in its conception originally a virtualization of resources such as storage and computing resources. These resources are bundled as a pool and sold as infrastructure-as-a-service. This is amazing because the cloud is elastic and easily scalable, and the reason why you see the proliferation of new startups. With the cloud, instead of working with fixed costs, you can work on a pool of resources with a variable cost. That's why business conversations are now about elasticity and high availability. You can be highly available if you are in the cloud. There will be zero downtime for your services.

Now coming back to a cloud-native database. Cloud-native database systems have been around since 2005. Storage, network, and virtualization were the first disruptive technologies to take off as cloud service offerings. After that, a lot of changes happened in the platform layer with algorithms coming in by 2014. Tech disruption happens layer by layer, so a database is no longer legacy. In a traditional database, resources (specifically, storage and computing) are bundled together and you cannot tap the power of pooled resources.

Our in-house database management system, POLARDB, decouples the computing and storage resources of a database. This kind of architecture benefits companies to scale up or scale back down for storage and compute. You can manage the CPU or database, DB, through a button. It is automated. At Alibaba, we have the Auto Scaler. You can automate and monitor workloads without having people to do tasks. It is on demand and elastic, which means businesses save on cost. It includes even NewSql.

In this blog, Feifei Li shares his thoughts, such as how AI will play a huge role in business operations in the future, etc.

The Underlying Logic of ApsaraDB for POLARDB, an Industry-leading Database

ApsaraDB for POLARDB is a next-generation cloud-native database of Alibaba Cloud. It is fully compatible with open-source databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL and highly compatible with Oracle syntax. You can migrate from Alibaba Cloud Relational Database Service (RDS) to ApsaraDB for POLARDB in one click, without even modifying the application code. This swift will allow you to experience greater capacity, higher performance, lower costs, and higher elasticity.

Currently, ApsaraDB for POLARDB is Alibaba Cloud's fastest-growing database product. It is widely used in Internet finance, government convenience services, new retail, education, gaming, social networking, live streaming, and other industries.

As a next-generation cloud-native database with computing-storage separation, ApsaraDB for POLARDB supports compute nodes that implement SQL parsing and optimization, parallel queries, and lockless high-performance transaction processing. The compute nodes synchronize the memory status among themselves other through a high-throughput physical replication protocol.

ApsaraDB for POLARDB is structured on the distributed file system PolarFS, which ensures strong consistency among multiple data replicas through the Parallel Raft algorithm. At the storage layer, multiversion concurrency control (MVCC) is implemented for the storage engine to isolate the snapshots across compute nodes in all clusters. The following is the advantages of ApsaraDB for POLARDB:

  1. Advanced Architecture Based on Computing and Storage Isolation
  2. Higher Transaction Performance due to Kernel Optimizations in ApsaraDB for POLARDB
  3. Support for Parallel Queries
  4. Next-generation Cost-based Optimizer
  5. The PolarFS Proprietary Distributed File System
  6. High Compatibility with Oracle Syntax and More Cost Effective than Other Commercial Databases

Related Products

ApsaraDB for PolarDB

ApsaraDB for PolarDB is a cloud-native relational database compatible with MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle. ApsaraDB for PolarDB provides the performance and availability of traditional enterprise databases and the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of open-source databases.

ApsaraDB for PolarDB is designed for business-critical database applications that require fast performance, high concurrency, and automatic scaling. You can scale up to millions of queries per second and 100 TB per database cluster with 15 low latency read replicas. ApsaraDB for PolarDB is six times faster than standard MySQL databases, and delivers the security, reliability, and availability of traditional commercial databases at 1/10 the cost. ApsaraDB for PolarDB embodies the proven database technology and best practices honed over the last decade that supported hyper-scale events such as the Alibaba Double 11 Global Shopping Festival.

Related Documentation


This topic provides answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about PolarDB for MySQL.

  1. What is PolarDB?
  2. Why does PolarDB outperform traditional databases?
  3. When was PolarDB released? When was it available for commercial use?
  4. What are clusters and nodes?
  5. Which programming languages are supported?
  6. Which storage engines are supported?
  7. Is a user-created secondary instance supported? How do I implement a primary/secondary architecture?
  8. Is PolarDB a distributed database?
  9. After I purchase PolarDB, do I need to purchase database middleware to implement sharding.
  10. Does PolarDB support table partitioning?
  11. Does PolarDB automatically include a partition mechanism?
  12. Compared with native MySQL, what is the maximum size of data that a single table can store in PolarDB?
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