Community Blog What Is Application Server? Why and How?

What Is Application Server? Why and How?

Application server is a software framework that provides an environment for running applications. Used to provide security, data, transaction support, load balancing for applications.

In this article, we will talk about the differences between Alibaba Cloud's two great offerings – Elastic Compute Service (ECS) and Simple Application Server (SAS).

We will try to cover all aspects in differences between the ECS and SAS. At the end of this, you will be able to make decide between the two products based on your business needs. We will talk in detail about both and then we will summarize the whole with a side-by-side comparison between ECS and SAS.

Before we begin, you will need an Alibaba Cloud account to try out what we are discussing. You can sign up for an account with this link.

ECS – Elastic Compute Service

Elastic Computer Service (ECS) offers all the features of physical servers without the overhead of managing the physical hardware. With ECS, you have the freedom of attaching the disks for extra storage, using backup images/new images, defining security groups & snapshots. These are available only with ECS Instance.

Because ECS is essentially a server, you will get complete control over what you can do. ECS is also compatible will a lot of products offered by Alibaba Cloud such as Block Storage, VPC, and EIP.

ECS Console

The ECS Console is user friendly and easy to use. All the functions are very easy to understand and named aptly as per the function. Alibaba Cloud is continuously evolving and the console is also changing rapidly with better features and User Interface for better user experience.


The following are some scenarios where we can use ECS instance for:

  1. Official Corporate Websites & Simple web applications
  2. Multimedia and Large traffic apps or websites
  3. Databases
  4. Apps or websites with large traffic fluctuations

SAS – Simple Application Server

This is the new computing service specially designed for standalone applications scenarios. Simple Application Server is extremely easy to run; most of the steps required to deploy applications only involve clicking on buttons. It integrates with other services like Domain name publishing, website publishing, security, O&M and Application Management. This provides easy setup for entry level users.


  1. Creating small websites and personal blogs
  2. Creating a learning environment
  3. Running web programs
  4. Building E-commerce websites


In ECS, the instances are grouped into multiple families which helps us to choose for a specific purpose:

  1. General-Purpose instance
  2. Compute instance
  3. Memory instance
  4. Big Data instance
  5. Instance type families with Local disks
  6. Instance type families with high clock speed

There are also categorizations for the enterprise users and the entry level users. Learning all about ECS is challenging as it comprises of a lot of information. If you want to learn more about the ECS Instance families, you can visit this link.

Related Blogs

Open Source E-Commerce Platforms on Alibaba Cloud's Simple Application Server: OpenCart

In this tutorial, we'll show you how easy it is to set up an e-commerce platform with Alibaba Cloud's Simple Application Server (SAS) product range.

With Alibaba Cloud's Simple Application Server, we'll spin up and configure a free and open source shopping cart solution, OpenCart.

What Is Alibaba Cloud's Simple Application Server?

Alibaba Cloud's Simple Application Server is a lightweight cloud server product range that has rapid, easy-to-use application management. You can speedily spin up servers and applications in a region near you and your customers.

SAS provides a rich selection of images, including pre-installed web application images on Linux and Windows, such as Joomla web application solutions and Ghost publishing solutions. Product packages provide compute, storage, and networking. SAS integrates with other Alibaba Cloud products and services to meet your needs.

Applications include a monitoring overview of how your application is performing, domain name integration, firewall management and server maintenance, including easy access log files.

E-Commerce with Alibaba Cloud's Simple Application Server

The speed and ease with which you can set up an e-commerce solution using Alibaba Cloud's SAS range makes it an excellent choice for web developers and business owners who are setting up e-commerce websites for the first time. SAS gives you the option of setting up and managing your store from anywhere in the world.

There's a range of network, SSD storage, and compute options depending on your requirements and a choice of application images too. You're not limited to those, as a number of lightweight OS images are also offered that you can build your own custom e-commerce solution from.

What Is OpenCart?

OpenCart is an online store management e-commerce system. LAMP or WAMP, Windows or Linux, it has a MySQL database that stores data and HTML for rendering your product information on the Internet. Your customers can buy your products with just a few clicks.

OpenCart supports different languages and currencies and it is freely available under the GNU General Public License.

The application is easy to set up and getting started is straightforward. Seasoned web developers enjoy its simplicity and reliability and it is a popular choice with business owners who are launching their online stores for the first time.

OpenCart has more than 13,000 extensions and growing. An extension is a small software package that plugs in to your OpenCart application and offers extra functionality. Many OpenCart extensions are free and you can, of course, roll out your own extensions and even sell them too.

Even though OpenCart is ready for use once set up and installed, its thousands of extensions give you the freedom to enhance your online e-commerce business offering.

MEAN Stack on Alibaba Cloud Simple Application Server

In this article, we will be setting up a MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js, Node.js) stack on Alibaba Cloud using Simple Application Server.

Log in to the Alibaba Cloud console and find Simple Application Server under Products. If you are using Simple Application Server service for the first time then you won't see anything available on the page, then you will have some text asking to "buy now". Once you click Buy now, you need to setup some configurations. Let me walk you through each of them.

Before we go further, you need an Alibaba Cloud account for carrying out the steps in this article. If you don’t have one, you can get a free one by clicking on this link.

Region and Image

This is the region of where you want to deploy your instance of "Simple Application Server" image. Currently the server instances can only be deployed in US West 1(Silicon Valley), Asia Pacific SE 2(Sydney), EU Central 1(Frankfurt). More regions will be added in the future.

Region and Image

Alibaba Cloud provides two types of images:

  1. Apps Image
    Application Images provide the one-click installation & environment setup for the Application like WordPress & the underlying OS for the same. This will provide a hassle-free installation for you.
  2. OS Image
    OS Images provides one-click installation and deployment of the selected operation system. In this scenario, I have selected Ubuntu 16.04. You can deploy the application you wish on the installed OS.

Deploying ASP.NET Core App in Visual Studio and Deploying on Simple Application Server

This article is meant for individual developers or startups with developers who are not familiar with deployments and use PaaS for the same. In this article we look at the steps one has to do to develop their ASP.NET core applications in Visual Studio 2017 and deploy the same on Alibaba Cloud Simple Application Server. Here we will use the edge-origin proxy pattern which will provide the application scalability, data security and performance.

Quick FAQ

What Is Visual Studio?

Microsoft Visual Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft. It is used to develop computer programs, as well as websites, web apps, web services and mobile apps.

What Is .NET Core?

.NET Core is an open-source, general-purpose development platform maintained by Microsoft and the .NET community. It's cross-platform (supporting Windows, macOS, and Linux) and can be used to build device, cloud, and IoT applications.

What Is ASP.NET Core?

ASP.NET Core is a cross-platform, high-performance, open-source framework for building modern, cloud-based, Internet-connected applications.

What Is Kestrel?

Kestrel is a cross-platform web server for ASP.NET Core. Kestrel is the web server that's included by default in ASP.NET Core project templates.

What Is Alibaba Cloud Simple Application Server?

Simple Application Server provides you the all-in-one solution to launch and manage your application, set up domain name resolution, and build, monitor, maintain your website with just a few clicks. It makes private server building much easier, and it is the best way for beginners to get started with Alibaba cloud.

Developing Example Application


Alibaba Cloud account

If you do not have one already, click on this link to sign up.

Visual Studio

To install Visual Studio for free, visit https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/downloads/

Please ensure you have 'ASP.NET and web development' and '.NET Core cross-platform development' workloads.

Create ASP.NET core project from template

select File > New > Project
select ASP.NET Core Web Application as shown in image below

select ASP.NET Core Web Application

Provide a name to the project 'alibabadotnetcore' and select OK.

In the next screen ensure you have .Net Core and ASP.NET Core2.1 selected in the top drop down boxes and select Web Application from the available options.

As we are not going to have HTTPS in this application please ensure you have Configure for HTTPS option not selected and Select OK.

Related Products

Simple Application Server

Simple Application Server is a new generation computing service for stand-alone application scenarios. It provides one-click application deployment and supports all-in-one services such as domain name resolution, website publishing, security, O&M, and application management. This optimizes the user experience of setting up a simple application and makes it easier for entry-level users to use cloud computing products.

Elastic Compute Service

Alibaba Cloud ECS provides the highest SLA commitment for both single instance and multple instances in multiple availability zones among the top cloud providers worldwide. Alibaba Cloud gained lots of experience of running infrastructure at large scale while maintaining high availability. We are currently supporting the world's largest e-commerce platforms such as Taobao and Tmall and we work closely with scientists from DAMO Academy to accurately predict, prevent and mitigate infrastructure issues without impacting our customers.

Related Courses

Migrate Your Application to Alibaba Cloud

This course is designed to help traditional IT companies who want to move their business to the cloud and have a comprehensive understanding of Alibaba Cloud's recommendations and available tools for the migration of the application environment. So that you can choose the most appropriate way to complete the migration.

Performance Testing and Optimizing of Containerized Applications

This course is designed to help IT companies who want to containerize business applications, as well as cloud computing engineers and operations & maintenance engineers who want to understand and learn about performance testing and optimizing of containerized applications. By learning this course, you can fully understand what the performance testing and optimizing are, the main object of performance testing and optimizing, the common methods, basic procedures, and common tools of performance testing and optimizing for containerized applications, and how to realize performance testing based on Alibaba Cloud Container Service. It can provide a reference for the operation, maintenance and continuous improvement of containerized applications.

Related Documentation

Use the setup application server - Object Storage Service

This topic describes how to use mobile apps such as OssDemo to upload data to OSS through an existing app server when you do not need to store AccessKey IDs and AccessKey secrets in the app.

Processing logic

  1. OssDemo sends a request after obtaining the address of sts_server.
  2. sts_server returns AccessKeyId, AccessKeySecret, SecurityToken, and Expiration.
  3. After obtaining the information, OssDemo calls the SDK to create OSSClient.

Code analysis

  1. Generate an EditText control.

    <string name="sts_server">http://oss-demo.aliyuncs.com/app-server/sts.php</string>

Connect to a Windows Server by using RDP - Simple Application Server

This article will describe how to connect to a Windows-based simple Application Server by using the Windows remote desktop connection.

Operation steps

Choose Start > Run, or press WIN+R, and then enter mstsc, and press the Return key to open the Remote Desktop Connection window.

Enter the Server IP address and user name (administrator by default) respectively in the Computer Name and User Name fields on the Remote Desktop Connection window, and then click Connect.

Enter the correct password as prompted, and click OK. If you forgot the password or you have never set the password, refer to Reset server password.

When you connect to the server for the first time, the system may prompt a certificate error. Select Do not ask… and click Yes(Y) to trust the certificate.

You will be able to see the Windows remote desktop after the connection has been established successfully.

Related Market Products

Ghost powered by Websoft9(Simple Application Server)

Ghost is a fully open source, hackable platform for building and running a modern online publication. We power blogs, magazines and journalists from Zappos to Sky News.Ghost’re a proud non-profit organisation building open source technology for journalism.Ghost was founded in April 2013, after a very successful Kickstarter campaign to create a new platform focused solely on professional publishing. Its mission is to create the best open source tools for independent journalists and writers across the world, and have a real impact on the future of online media.

OpenCart powered by Websoft9(Simple Application Server)

Opencart is an easy to-use, powerful, open source online store management program that can manage multiple online stores from a single back-end. Administrative area simply by filling in forms and clicking “Save”. There are many professionally-written extensions available to customize the store to your needs.It has 13000+ modules and themes on Marketplace for all your needs.

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