Cloud Computing Enters the Main Battlefield of Business Innovation

"We hope that users can do less and gain more. Through Serverless, enterprises can use cloud services as easily as electricity."

Serverless is becoming a new software research and development paradigm. Alibaba Cloud will firmly promote comprehensive serverless core products to help customers better realize agile innovation.

Recently, the world is accelerating the process of serverless cloud computing. As a revolutionary technology, the value of Serverless is not only reflected in the technical level and the developer level, but also brings value to the business innovation of enterprises, and promotes the transformation of business models to gain stronger market competitiveness.

Yang Haoran, Alibaba Cloud's senior technical expert and head of serverless research and development, introduced three major trends that Serverless will bring: comprehensive serverless cloud products, serverless application architecture, and assembly-based research and development, and comprehensively introduced Alibaba Cloud's serverless product layout and core values.

Hand over the tedious basic work

The "Gaode Map" upgraded to the "Open Service Platform for Going out and Living a Better Life" has added more user use scenarios, and the business system has become more complex. This leads to more obvious peaks and valleys of the system, which is difficult to maintain the stability of the system; And if you want to put business logic on the APP, it will also cause the APP to be too large and need to be upgraded frequently.

Through in-depth consideration of the system architecture, Goldmap decided to fully embrace Serverless, utilize Alibaba Cloud's Serverless Devs development platform, and introduce functional computing services to process business logic. The advantages of serverless such as free operation and maintenance and high flexibility not only reduce the difficulty of development and operation and maintenance, but also enable its business logic to be implemented on the back end, reducing the burden of front-end APP.

After the use of Serverless, the development and operation and maintenance of Goldmap have become easier, and the business support capability has been strengthened. This is the value that Serverless brings.

AliCloud native

Yang Haoran, head of research and development of Alibaba Cloud Serverless, said that technology is only a means to help customers solve problems and help business success. The essence of Serverless is to hand over the tedious basic work irrelevant to customer business innovation in the large-scale and complex software development process to cloud service providers.

For example, in order to develop applications, enterprises need to build a development environment and do a lot of resource management work. With Serverless, these tasks can be completed by cloud service providers. The latter has stronger technological capabilities, and enterprises only need to enjoy their technological dividends.

Making cloud services as simple as water and electricity is the dream of the birth of public cloud. Until now, it has been gradually implemented through Serverless, because it requires long-term technical accumulation of cloud service providers. Today, Alibaba Cloud's function computing granularity has been reduced to 0.01 cores and 128M memory, and real-time scaling can be completed in 200-300 milliseconds.

Since the first Serverless service function computing was launched in 2017, Alibaba Cloud has now owned more than 20 Serverless products, including function computing, Serverless application engine SAE, elastic container ECI, Serverless Kubernetes ASK, etc. Among them, the number of daily calls of the function with the highest utilization has exceeded 20 billion.

In the database field, core database products such as Alibaba Cloud PolarDB for MySQL, RDS MySQL, AnalyticDB MySQL and AnalyticDB PostgreSQL are also fully serverless. The following areas are middleware and big data.

Let IT keep up with the business logic of the enterprise

A hot show made the daily registered users of "Pumpkin Movie" exceed 800000. In the traditional server usage mode, the expansion process involves buying ECS, uploading scripts to the server, running scripts, and expanding databases, which takes 4 hours. This is obviously unable to cope with the challenge of surging traffic. It not only challenges the stability of services, but also brings business losses.

With the help of Alibaba Cloud Serverless application engine SAE, Pumpkin Movie will be fully Severless in 7 days, embracing K8s at zero threshold, and easily coping with the sudden traffic of hot films. Compared with the traditional server operation and maintenance mode, its development and deployment efficiency has increased by 70%, cost has decreased by 40%, and capacity expansion efficiency has increased by more than 10 times.

We all know that flexibility, pay-as-you-go and simplified operation and maintenance are the three core values of Severless.

Elastic scaling means that it is not necessary to deploy the underlying infrastructure resources such as servers. When the business grows rapidly, the resources can be deployed without the user's awareness. Pay on demand, that is, pay according to the actual usage, without paying for idle resources. Simplifying operation and maintenance can save users the trouble of resource management.

Obviously, Severless is closer to the business logic of the enterprise than traditional cloud computing. For example, it can simplify the budgeting of enterprises, because cost accounting is very simple and convenient because it can pay as much as the business.

In addition to the 40% reduction in direct costs such as pumpkin movies, Yang Haoran said that Serverless can also reduce the low-level repetitive work of enterprise IT teams. The same number of developers can now do more things, which is also a cost savings.

The development process from physical machine to virtual machine and then to Serverless is just like that from buying a car to renting a car to renting a car online. The physical machine is like buying a private car. You have to drive and maintain your own car; Virtual machines are like car rental, which can host business to the cloud; When you arrive online, you don't need to care about the condition of the car at all. You can pay on demand and make it flexible on demand by taking a taxi.

Twenty years ago, a large number of enterprises were still buying cars and self-employed drivers. Now this concept has been completely changed. The process of serverless may be completed in less than 20 years. Gartner predicts that more than 50% of global enterprises will adopt the Serverless architecture by 2025.

Erase the technological gap of traditional enterprises

"Century Lianhua" is a traditional supermarket with more than 200 shopping centers, supermarkets and convenience stores. It is a common practice for retail enterprises to promote sales, and business is necessary. Previously, it had encountered a big promotion and explosive traffic, which led to problems in payment and other links.

Now, Century Lianhua has migrated its membership system, trading system, payment system, etc. to Alibaba Cloud functional computing. The technical team of Century Lianhua no longer needs to manage the infrastructure of servers. As long as the code is written and uploaded, the function calculation will be ready for computing resources. Its promotional preparation time has been shortened from week level to hour level, R&D, operation and maintenance efficiency has been improved by 30%, and cost has been reduced by 40%, which really makes the promotional activities become the normal.

With the widespread application of digital technology, the pace of digital transformation of traditional enterprises is also faster and deeper into the core business level. Compared with Internet companies, traditional enterprises are often unable to enjoy the dividends of technology due to the lack of technical talents.

The emergence of Serverless is narrowing the technological capability gap between traditional enterprises and Internet enterprises, and even bridging the gap between the two. Because of online early warning, traffic observation and other tools, the burden of operation and maintenance has been relieved, and application development has become simpler, without too high technical capabilities and too many technical teams. This has greatly improved the IT capabilities of traditional enterprises such as Century Lianhua.

"With Serverless, a small R&D team of 2 people can also enjoy the technical dividend of a large enterprise R&D team of 2000 people", said Yang Haoran.

Serverless is playing a great role in applications such as small programs, e-commerce promotion, audio and video transcoding, AI algorithm services, game application package distribution, real-time file processing, Internet of Things data processing, and microservices. At the same time, Serverless is continuing to integrate with containers, micro-services and other ecosystems, reducing the threshold for developers to use Serverless technology, and promoting the cloud origin of traditional applications.

Completely change the software R&D mode

"Wolai" is a future-oriented cloud information collaboration platform. Its R&D engineer team has only 10 people, so it is difficult to put a lot of energy on the operation and maintenance server if it is busy with development and operation.

At the beginning of making this product, wolai wanted to put the architecture completely on Serverless. By using function calculation, wolai's front-end engineers can take charge of the whole development process from front to back, and a small team can ensure research and development and achieve high-speed iteration. Compared with the traditional architecture, the use of function computing can save 50% of the computing costs, and the investment of manpower can be saved by half or more.

With the support of Serverless technology, more and more enterprises can no longer focus on IT infrastructure resources, but on how to provide better services to customers. This will completely change the traditional software development mode. Startups like wolai have embraced the future-oriented Serverless from the beginning.

Yang Haoran said that the overall serverless of cloud computing has experienced three major trends: serverless of product system, serverless of application architecture and serverless of R&D model. Relying on the Serverless architecture, the way of research and development on the cloud is undergoing fundamental changes, moving towards the direction of assembly-based development.

In the past few decades, enterprise-level application development has gone through the traditional centralized architecture, the distributed architecture of the Internet, and the Serverless architecture today and in the future. The assembly-based research and development on the cloud has realized the service, modularization, arrangement and assembly of software research and development. The IT architecture built based on Serverless can scale adaptively, with automatic capacity expansion at peak second level and automatic capacity reduction at peak and valley level, laying the foundation for enterprise business innovation.

Cloud native development is the current hotspot, and container technology has attracted much attention, while Serverless is undoubtedly the advanced stage of cloud native. Yang Haoran believes that the traditional applications of enterprises can be platformized with the help of containers; For emerging applications, consider moving directly to Serverless.

Yang Haoran introduced that FaaS+Serverless BaaS, as the core form of Serverless, carries the concept of assembly research and development, which is the future of Serverless. In this system, serverless container is a means to help cloud products and enterprises achieve serverless BaaS, so serverless container and FaaS are a good combination.

Specifically, the core value of FaaS is to make the whole cloud product system and its ecosystem form an organic whole, rather than simply providing elastic resources. This is the fundamental difference between FaaS and Serverless Container. When a cloud product is serverless, it will no longer simply provide resources, but become an element of building applications.

In the future, the entire cloud product system will be fully serverless, and after the deep integration of these products through event-driven and other ways, users can combine other cloud services through FaaS to quickly realize elastic and highly available applications.

Therefore, Alibaba Cloud recognizes the Serverless=FaaS+BaaS promoted by Berkeley. Serverless container is essentially a BaaS service that helps users more easily realize Serverless. The two can be used together. Alibaba Cloud believes that Serverless (FaaS+BaaS) will become the key to solving the challenges of large-scale and complex software development in the future, which is the most important value of cloud's future development.

The development and application of Serverless technology is still at an early stage. However, Serverless is not the future, it is already in progress. At present, Alibaba Cloud is vigorously promoting the Serverless of the entire cloud product system, and providing efficient R&D platform tools to carry out the upgrade of the development model. Alibaba Cloud also adheres to the open route in the field of serverless, and builds a prosperous ecosystem through open source and other means, which is also a valuable exploration.

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