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The COVID-19 pandemic has isolated and divided people on a massive scale. The fallout has had a profound impact on individuals and enterprises worldwide. After the initial outbreak, educational institutions in China extended holidays and delayed the start of the school semester after government mandates. Then, the national guideline of "classes are suspended, but learning will continue" brought unprecedented development opportunities to the online education industry.
Onion Academy (formerly known as Onion Mathematics) was founded in 2013 and is currently one of the top players in China's online education industry. The company was founded by Yang Linfeng, Zhu Ruochen, and Li Nuo. Yang and Zhu graduated from Harvard University and Duke University, respectively, while Li is the former Senior Executive of Innovation Works at Tapa OS. Onion Academy mainly focuses on internet-exclusive education in primary and secondary schools. They are committed to providing personalized educational services for teachers and students based on the teaching innovation mode of 100% human-computer interactive learning and the self-adaptive learning experience through high-quality video course content. Onion Academy is one of the three most recognizable online education brands by students and parents. They also released a whitepaper on Inclusive Online Education for Primary and Secondary Schools in China in 2019. During the pandemic, Onion Academy opened its learning platform and offered courses for free, further expanding its influence.
A collective online course is just like a mirror, intuitively displaying the current situation of major online education platforms in public. To cope with the demands for high concurrency and concentrated online users, the platform can have enough technical support to solve the problem of network elasticity. By doing so, teachers and students can fully interact with each other without any problems. To further enhance user experience and stabilize market share, Onion Academy chose to work with Alibaba Cloud to jointly contribute to the informatization of education.
During the communication, Onion Academy put forward the requirements of simple deployment, elastic expansion, and online upgrade. In addition, it expressed the hope of saving deployment time and personnel investment, as well as preparations for the problems of peak fluctuations of business demands and system downtime caused by software upgrades. After fully evaluating the needs of Onion Academy, Alibaba Cloud tailored the hybrid cloud storage solution for them.
The Solution Architecture
The Hybrid Cloud Storage Array (HCSA) of Alibaba Cloud implements unified management of heterogeneous storage systems and changes the original model where each storage device builds itself to improve O&M efficiency. Alibaba Cloud has a complete set of storage products and service matrix, a full-process ecosystem based on Alibaba Cloud Object Storage Service (OSS), automatic management based on the data lifecycle, and reliable and stable system architecture. This helps improve the efficiency of cross-ocean and cross-province data access.
Alibaba Cloud HCSA can not only solve the security and control problems of the public cloud but also avoid the construction cost and manpower problems of the private cloud. This enables the seamless connection of data between traditional IDCs and the cloud to help the Onion Academy enjoy the convenience of the cloud more efficiently and economically without changing the original architecture.
Moreover, Alibaba Cloud uses the full-region acceleration network built by OSS to better solve the problem of network elasticity through the function of supports, concurrent upload/download acceleration, and non-static content acceleration. By doing so, operations can run smoothly during courseware file data sharing and storage, course recording and review, and intelligent monitoring of course quality for the Onion Academy. The sharing of high-quality education will be promoted as well.
Li Nuo is the Co-Founder and CTO of the Onion Academy. He said, "Alibaba Cloud HCSA solution not only meets the demands of basic data storage but can also be deployed within a few hours. By taking advantage of the elasticity of the cloud, it is easier to expand the storage capacity. Moreover, the HCSA reduces frequent downtime caused by software and hardware upgrades so the Academy could devote more time and resources to business innovation in online education."
Continuous changes is essential in ensuring constant development. Driven by favorable policies, information technology, and consumption upgrades, online education without limitation by time and space will continue to expand its user scale. Relying on the characteristics of the cloud computing infrastructure, Alibaba Cloud can help educational institutions avoid repeated investment in the business to improve their resource utilization and reduce development and O&M costs. Onion Academy will use its vitality to make additional strides and attract more users in the post-pandemic era.
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