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Community Blog Upgraded Alibaba Cloud Storage Products and Capabilities Help Lay a Strong Foundation for New Infrastructure

Upgraded Alibaba Cloud Storage Products and Capabilities Help Lay a Strong Foundation for New Infrastructure

This article gives an overview of the new products and upgrades from a launch event in June 2020.

On June 23, Alibaba Cloud held a launch event for its new storage products. In the era of new digital infrastructure, Alibaba Cloud storage products aim to provide a strong foundation to help customers navigate their digital transformations.

1. Log Service: Build an AI-DevOps Platform and Ecosystem

Alibaba Cloud's Log Service has become an industry-leading big log data platform. It provides a full range of data collection, cleansing, storage, analysis, visualization, and alerting features. During the launch event, Alibaba officially released a time series monitoring and diagnosis platform for Log Service. In addition to processing large volumes of logs, this platform also supports the storage and analysis of time series monitoring data. With these benefits, the platform can provide more convenient time series monitoring and diagnosis solutions that feature improved performance and reduced costs.

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In addition, Alibaba Cloud launched two public capabilities for Log Service: security information and event management (SIEM) and security operations center (SOC). Enterprise users can use the unified log collection and cleansing capabilities of Log Service to import compliance and security logs from cloud systems to an existing SOC in a unified manner. In addition, the log auditing feature of Log Service now supports more products. This allows Log Service to provide modification and deletion protection policies, support unified log collection across accounts, regions, and products, and interconnect with third-party SOCs. With these functions, enterprises can now use Log Service to build their unified log auditing centers. In addition, a Kubernetes event center was launched for Log Service. As more users adopt microservice and container architectures, this add-on enables Log Service to provide a comprehensive real-time collection, analysis, alerting, and visualization solution for Kubernetes events.

Log Service now provides one-click access to the logs of more than 20 cloud services. It also provides analysis templates and built-in reports. In this new release, Log Service added one-click access and analysis for the Internet of Things (IoT), Redis, and MaxCompute log sources. After leveraging these capabilities, users can analyze IoT device statuses, Redis audits, slow and invalid requests, MaxCompute operation logs, trigger alerts for exceptions, and generate statistical reports.

2. OSS: Support for Cryptographic Algorithms Recommended by Chinese Authorities

To meet the increasingly stringent requirements for compliance and security, Alibaba Cloud Object Storage Service (OSS) provides state-recommended cryptographic algorithms on top of its existing comprehensive server-side encryption features.

In addition to bring-your-own-key (BYOK) encryption that is visible to and managed by users, OSS supports fully-managed encryption and encryption based on the Key Management Service (KMS). On top of these three encryption methods and its original AES-256 encryption algorithms, OSS now supports the cryptographic algorithms recommended by Chinese authorities. Alibaba Cloud can meet the security and compliance needs of enterprise users by enhancing the OSS support OSS for such algorithms.

In addition to the new encryption algorithms, OSS has optimized the file renaming feature used in temporary directories to support data lake scenarios. With OSS and this optimization applied, it receives data renaming instructions and updates the metadata of the corresponding objects promptly without performing any operations on the objects. This way, OSS can rename objects rapidly, while efficiently returning data in less than a second. This allows it to make instant copies.

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OSS also introduced a bucket list feature, which allows you to regularly fetch a list of all objects of specified buckets by completing simple configurations in the console. You can also export lists of subdirectories for specified directories (prefixes). After the data is exported, you can analyze and process it as needed. In addition, the bucket list function can be used in conjunction with Log Service for intelligent and visual business data analysis.

3. Tablestore: Ship Data to OSS to Build a Data Lake Ecosystem

Tablestore is a structured big data storage platform that offers high performance, low cost, scalability, and full management based on shared storage. It supports efficient computing and analysis of Internet and IoT data. Currently, Tablestore is used to host DingTalk core message systems. In this field, it has proved its capability of withstanding the challenges of the mobile office era.

During the launch event, Alibaba Cloud announced that Tablestore can now ship data to OSS to build a data lake solution with support for tiered storage.

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Data shipped to OSS is compatible with open-source ecosystem standards and can be stored in formats, such as Parquet. The data also supports Hive naming conventions and is intrinsically compatible with computing ecosystems like Spark. In addition, the shipped data is automatically synchronized in real-time. The configuration process is also simple, and you do not need to maintain complex data pipelines. Due to these features, Tablestore can ensure real-time visibility for recent data, supports data point query and multi-dimensional retrieval, and can analyze and query recent data. Offline data can be shipped to an OSS data lake for efficient analysis at controllable costs.

Coupled with a data lake solution, Tablestore can make full use of application data. So far, Tablestore is already widely used in the e-commerce, short video, and news industries to support the storage of massive structured data and real-time and offline analysis. Tablestore allows you to use and analyze data in real-time or offline scenarios faster and at lower costs.

4. The Hybrid Cloud Storage Gateway: Make Cloud Migration Easier

Cloud Storage Gateway (CSG) uses OSS as backend storage to provide standard file storage (NFS/SMB) and iSCSI block storage services for enterprise applications. CSG can be deployed in on-premises databases or on Alibaba Cloud to simplify storage management and integrate enterprise applications seamlessly with Alibaba Cloud storage services.

First, based on OSS, CSG provides massive storage capacity, intelligent interconnection with low-frequency and archive storage, hot and cold data tiering, and flexible payment methods to reduce the total cost of ownership. Second, enterprise applications do not need to be modified for cloud migration, while end-to-end data encryption ensures the security of customer data. Third, CSG supports a wide range of applications, including the cloud migration of enterprise data, file and application connection to cloud storage, backup and archiving, video supervision, and machine learning. Finally, CSG incorporates intelligent caching algorithms that can automatically identify hot and cold data. It retains hot data in the local cache to improve access efficiency and connects massive cloud storage to local data centers imperceptibly, expanding their storage capacities. In addition, a full copy of both hot and cold data is stored in the cloud to ensure data consistency.

In practice, achieving rapid data sharing and collaboration between different branches of a company is a great challenge to the company. CSG is now working with OSS to develop a transmission acceleration solution that can help customers share data across multiple sites to achieve multi-site synchronization and sharing.

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With this solution, customers can implement cross-region deployment, globally unified namespaces, and multi-site file sharing and collaboration. In addition, they can synchronize file attributes in real-time and pull file data on demand. The solution also supports data synchronization between multiple file gateways in less than a second. Currently, this solution allows companies to distribute hundreds of thousands of new images from the corporate headquarters to different regions for artificial intelligence (AI) computing.

5. New ESSD: Low the Threshold for Pure-Flash Storage

Pure-flash is already a trend in the industry, but pure-flash architectures are too expensive for many users. At the launch event, Alibaba Cloud announced the release of a new entry-level pure-flash cloud disk type, ESSD PL0.

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ESSD PL0 is an entry-level model in the ESSD series. It adopts the same technical architecture as the ESSD series. This gives it a latency of less than a millisecond and allows a single volume to support up to 10,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS). Compared with the previous-generation entry-level cloud disks, this new type allows users to enjoy the advantages of pure-flash storage for only 0.15 RMB/GB per month, making this technology more affordable to users. In addition, the new disk type is a perfect match for Alibaba Cloud's sixth-generation enhanced instances.

The ESSD PL0 disk type is suitable for a wide range of business scenarios and can be used for small databases, DevOps, and system disks. When used with ESSD PL0 disks, the actual online performance of sixth-generation enhanced instances increases by more than 60%. In addition, the local snapshot feature that the ESSD series provides for DevOps scenarios supports quick snapshot and disk creation in less than 10 seconds, reducing the wait time to mere minutes. Tests on databases built on ESSD PL0 disks show that they doubled the transactions per second (TPS) performance of databases built on ultra disks.

The new ESSD PL0 disks use Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) storage media, allowing users to get the most out of Alibaba Cloud technology. This is the only entry-level cloud disk on the market based on remote direct memory access (RDMA) network architecture and NVMe storage media. The launch of ESSD PL0 lowers the minimum price of ESSD series disks by 50%. In the future, users can upgrade to higher-specification ESSDs with zero data loss. The new entry-level ESSD type brings this technology within reach of millions of Alibaba Cloud customers. Currently, ESSD PL0 is only available for public beta in the China (Beijing) and China (Hangzhou) regions.

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