SAE builds a low-code platform

Founded in 2015, Hard City is a digital supply chain and intelligent manufacturing platform for electronic industry, which focuses on the overall supply of electronic components and BOM, and provides BOM standardization, BOM quotation, BOM procurement, BOM delivery and SMT one-stop PCBA services for small and medium-sized technology-based hardware enterprises.

The demand of the Internet in the electronic industry is discrete and complex. Compared with the traditional code development, the R&D of each market demand needs to spend a lot of R&D resources into the corresponding demand development. This includes not only code development, but also communication with engineers in the early stage. This not only makes each demand consume a lot of research and development costs, but also the market demand needs to wait for the completion of research and development to respond. This is also the reason why Hard City chooses to be a low-code platform.

In our actual business, we will frequently receive demands from the market, and there are still some uncertain and tentative demands for these demands. For this reason, our R&D resources have been quite tight. The creation of a low-code platform not only allows businesses without programming foundation to start quickly, but also allows business departments to build their own management applications, which greatly alleviates the problem of tight R&D resources.

In our actual use, we found that the low code platform can not only cover many simple requirements research and development, but also many conventional and complex requirements can be completed through the low code platform. Especially in the case of uncertain and tentative requirements, the change of requirements is very common because of the instability of such requirements. At this time, due to the low iteration cost and threshold of low code, the business can directly modify the application in the background to achieve rapid response to the market goal.

At present, our low-code platform is developed using Java and Nodejs. The back-end uses SpringBoot, and the front-end uses Vue. When deploying based on ECS, we use shell scripts to publish and load to multiple hosts based on Nginx. However, we often encounter problems such as unbalanced server resource occupation, high operation and maintenance costs, and cumbersome allocation of operation permissions, which have troubled the cooperation of our entire team. Therefore, we have been looking for corresponding solutions.

Until we found that we can achieve a fully managed, maintenance-free and highly elastic SAE platform. SAE supports open source microservices, open source timed task framework, and full hosting of web applications. To this end, we built the architecture, and found that SAE can reasonably allocate resources between applications and servers, as well as the flexibility of application dynamic scaling. This effectively reduces the threshold of server operation and maintenance, avoids risk operation, simplifies the operation process of application blue-green release by our team members, and improves the release security and reliability.

Through a period of use, we can currently publish SAE applications through the cloud efficiency pipeline, and the image construction storage is cached in the Alibaba Cloud image library. Each developer of the project can publish applications through the pipeline, and based on the Alibaba Cloud RAM system, the permissions can be well controlled, and the publishing efficiency is greatly improved. Each SAE should have an independent node, regardless of which host the application is to be published to, You only need to balance the SLB load and pay for the actual resources, and you don't need to worry about the various machine maintenance problems of the server, which significantly improves the efficiency of the operation and maintenance work.

For the application itself, it is the improvement of human efficiency. A more convenient and concise step can complete an application deployment cycle. In terms of operation and maintenance management, it is more portable and less weird worries. For the whole micro-service architecture, the context is clearer, and the scalability is stronger. You can expand more and stronger load capacity with just one click. The company can also be more controllable when making the cost budget, without a pile of servers and IP.

Future planning and vision of hard city low-code platform

In the future, we expect business and technology to be parallel. It is suitable for the needs of self-management of the business. The business itself can quickly complete its own needs online through low code and self-maintenance. For the very complex and technical requirements, only then can the technical personnel get involved and let the technical personnel focus more on solving high-value and high-tech problems.

This not only allows businesses to respond to market demand quickly, but also allows technicians to have more energy to solve enterprise technical problems. Finally, let the business and technical personnel of the enterprise flow and concentrate, so as to make the enterprise more dynamic.

SAE's solutions and advantages for SaaS scenarios

Through the practice of hard city, we can also feel that SAE has greatly improved the efficiency of development and operation and maintenance. As shown in the figure below, this is actually because SAE combines the advantages of container, serverless and micro-service to create a one-stop application development and deployment platform. The lower side shields the complexity of resource maintenance such as K8S, and the upper side provides full application lifecycle management, micro-service governance, APM, elastic management and other capabilities, which can make it easier for users to complete containerization, application migration, and business cloud.

At the same time, SAE can also support "0" code transformation and migration for stock applications that have achieved microservice or are still in a single architecture. As shown in the figure below, assuming that the business is based on ECS deployment, if you want to improve the flexibility of the business to better cope with traffic fluctuations, or simply want to simplify the management and operation and maintenance of resources, then SAE can directly replace ECS, that is, redeploy the business code deployed on ECS on the SAE platform, and the front-end security The deployment and use of resources such as back-end databases remain unchanged.

Here, we need to remind you that services with strong status such as databases and message middleware built by ECS are not suitable for migration to SAE. After all, once elastic scaling occurs, it will cause the loss of "status data". If it is not very sensitive to price, it is suggested that these services can be migrated to PaaS products on the cloud to achieve better stability.

Based on the above two points, we can further expand. For most SaaS enterprise customers, we find that there are two types of business appeals:

The first is SaaS enterprises that adopt subscription system, build their own service platform, and provide services such as ticket booking, catering service, machine wine, travel, ERP, HRP, etc. The core concern of such enterprises is the competitiveness and agile iteration in the vertical business field to ensure that they can quickly respond to the market. At the same time, this kind of business also has a great demand for flexibility, so building elastic micro-service capability or elastic container based on SAE is very suitable. It can not only enable users to focus on business development, but also provide integrated capabilities of resource management, flexibility, application management, etc., which greatly simplifies the operation and maintenance costs, and can also improve the resource utilization rate through flexibility to achieve the purpose of saving resource costs. SAE can also build an assembly line with Jenkins or cloud effect to improve the overall development and deployment efficiency.

There is also a category of SaaS enterprises that will undertake many independent deployment requirements, and deliver their own business platform in the Alibaba Cloud account or IDC of the end customer separately. For services deployed on Alibaba Cloud, there will be a series of processes such as resource opening, deployment, and post-operation and maintenance. Especially, the technical capabilities of the end customers are uneven. So how to quickly complete the business deployment and simplify the post-troubleshooting and maintenance work is particularly important. Here, SAE provides a one-click deployment method based on the terraform, which can deploy and pull up all the product resources of the business system in minutes, including business code+SAE resources, VPC network, SLB, database, etc., with strong replicability.

As shown in the figure below, combined with SAE's own APM monitoring capability and flexible O&M features, it can also greatly reduce maintenance costs after subsequent delivery to the end customer.

Serverless has become the next decade of cloud computing. It is expected that Alibaba Cloud's Serverless capability will bring convenience to more and more users, simplify the cost of using the cloud, and leave complexity to itself and simplicity to users.

Shenzhen Qianhai Hard City Information Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Hard City) was established in August 2015, with its headquarters in Shenzhen, China.

Hard City is committed to solving the pain points of the electronics industry, such as procurement difficulties, manufacturing difficulties, low efficiency, weak industrial chain coordination, etc., speeding up the manufacturing cycle of hardware innovative products, and improving the production and circulation efficiency of the industrial chain. Hard City is based on SAE low code to run out of industrial Internet application innovation acceleration. Realize the digital and intelligent transformation and upgrading of hardware from "scheme design", "component delivery" to "manufacturing" and other important links in the electronic industry chain.

Hard City closely focuses on customer project delivery, provides enterprises with one-stop digital supply chain services covering the whole life cycle, releases customers from complex and cumbersome supply processes, focuses on its own products and technologies, and helps customers develop rapidly. Compared with the traditional supply chain, the digital supply chain management system built by Hard City has shortened the manufacturing time of small and medium-sized hardware production from 2-3 months to 2-3 weeks, greatly improving the efficiency of hardware manufacturing and effectively enhancing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized hardware enterprises.

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