SAE Leads Applications into a New Era of Serverless Fully Managed

In recent years, the digitization of enterprises has been developing faster and faster with the popularity of the Internet, and the technical architecture has also undergone several changes, especially in the online business sector. From the initial single application to distributed application to cloud native application, there have been advanced changes. However, while bringing convenience, it also brings a certain degree of complexity to enterprises: the threshold for new technologies to become available is high, and containers and microservices are two typical roadblocks. Even after microservice and containerization, enterprises still need to focus on server configuration, operation and maintenance, and capacity evaluation. They also face challenges of high performance and stability, and cannot enjoy the maximum value brought by the cloud.

The emergence of Serverless has brought about leapfrog changes. Bringing more opportunities for enterprise digital transformation. In this mode, the management and deployment, operation and maintenance, resource allocation, and expansion and contraction of servers and operating systems are all provided by cloud manufacturers, and computing power is truly provided like water, electricity, and coal. It can transform the common capabilities originally found in traditional application environments into cloud services, allowing customers to reach them with low cost and high efficiency.

The most important value of Serverless can be summarized in three points:

1. Provide forever online services through infrastructure decoupling, extreme flexibility, and automatic fault handling, without worrying about downtime.

2. Achieve second level market response through efficient research and development frameworks and new forms of DevOps.

3. Erasing the generation gap in technological competitiveness between top Internet companies and traditional enterprises has allowed traditional enterprises to take their time when facing a large number of technological upgrades and restructuring, without talent gaps, and even to overtake on curves.

The original intention of Alibaba Cloud Serverless Application Engine (SAE) is to allow customers to enjoy the complete experience of microservices+K8s+Serverless without changing any code or application deployment methods, and to use it out of the box without O&M. As the industry's first application oriented Serverlss PaaS, since its launch in 2018, it has received unanimous praise from a wide range of users, and the production environment of enterprise customers from all walks of life is stable and running on SAE.

SAE product positioning: a universal PaaS platform that is fully managed, free of operation and maintenance, and highly elastic. Support full hosting of open source microservices/open source timed task frameworks/Web applications, and provide open source enhancements&enterprise level features. It can be said that SAE covers the complete scenario of cloud application, and is the best choice for cloud application.

Serverless microservices, as a very popular term in the industry today, are broadly defined as CI/CD pipeline, coupled with a built-in high-performance research and development framework, as well as shielding the basic IaaS layer or K8s base, and providing end-to-end observable capabilities, as well as some automatic resilience and traffic management services.

Alibaba Cloud's SAE+MSE can be called the best practice for Serverless services. Based on SAE and application centric, the agent of MSE is built into the application startup process of SAE, which provides a complete set of microservice capabilities. In addition, its underlying layer naturally shields the K8s chassis, providing a serverless architecture. Therefore, SAE+MSE can be considered as the best practice for Serverless. At the same time, we can embrace and give back to open source 100%, because the MSE team has done a lot of open source preaching and made many enhancements based on open source. Based on this set of best practices for Serverless microservices, it can improve development efficiency by 70% and reduce costs by 60%.

Compared to ECS or K8s, SAE has richer elasticity indicators and more flexible elasticity strategies, mainly providing three types of elasticity strategies.

1. Monitoring indicator elasticity: Based on the open source K8s, business side elasticity indicators have been added, such as the number of connections to QPS, RT, and TCP. Based on these business indicators, elasticity can be accurately achieved, and the overall elastic capacity can be estimated more accurately. It is generally applicable to scenarios with sudden traffic or typical pulses.

Timing elasticity: Set the expansion/contraction time and the number of instances to expand/shrink at a fixed time. At the same time, SAE provides a white screen operation, which is simpler than the open source K8S to implement the HPA Controller itself.

3. Hybrid elasticity (the first in the industry): An elasticity strategy based on the mixing of timing elasticity and indicator elasticity. Many customers' businesses have tidal characteristics and are accompanied by sudden traffic bursts, such as live video and other scenarios. Therefore, based on the monitoring index elasticity as a bottom line, and adding timing elasticity to the peak traffic over a fixed period of time as an enhanced solution, only one strategy can achieve a refined elasticity demand for timing elasticity or monitoring index elasticity within different periods of time.

E-commerce, new retail, and mutual entertainment industries often experience unexpected sudden traffic. In the past, it was common to predict peak values in advance and maintain fixed ECS resources based on peak values. However, inaccurate capacity estimates often occur, resulting in resource waste or insufficient resources, and more importantly, affecting the system's SLA.

After adopting the pressure measurement tool plus SAE solution, the elastic threshold can be accurately set based on the pressure measurement results, and compared with the real-time monitoring indicators of ARMS. The system will automatically expand and shrink the capacity without further capacity planning, greatly saving hardware costs, achieving second level elastic efficiency, and easily coping with peak testing. In emergency situations, it is also possible to avoid application avalanches by using the killer trick of current limiting and degrading.

SAE provides an efficient closed-loop DevOps system that completely covers the entire closed-loop process from development to deployment to operation and maintenance. It provides three enterprise level CI/CD continuous integration solutions:

1. Seamless integration with the open source CI/CD tool Jenkins: Through the built-in Maven plug-in, you can complete the entire process from source code to build to deployment. It can support several modes such as war packages, jar packages, and image deployment.

2. The most fully functional CI/CD solution on the cloud: The difference between it and Jenkins is that it can directly host the code on the cloud, and the cloud server can complete the code hosting. It can also achieve code side security management, customize the pipeline, and provide a complete and consistent environment for building and running. It has relatively complete functions and is generally suitable for medium-sized enterprises.

The lightest and easiest to use CI/CD solution: Complete the deployment of SAE through container mirroring services. Its lightweight lies in connecting the code warehouse through webhook, customizing some rules for building images and triggers on the container image service, and automatically building and deploying code when it is submitted. If you use enterprise level container mirroring services, you can also achieve image security scanning, vulnerability prevention, global multi domain distribution, and other capabilities.

The SAE and ECS hybrid scheme is mainly applicable to two scenarios:

Scenario 1: The intermediate transition scheme from ECS to SAE can improve the stability of the migration process.

Scenario 2: Fully using SAE as an elastic resource pool for backup.

This solution needs to ensure that both ECS instances and SAE instances of the same application can be attached to the backend of the same SLB, and set the weight ratio. If it is a microservice application, it is also necessary to register with the same registry. In addition, the customer side also needs to make some adaptations: Reuse the customer built publishing system, and ensure that the SAE instance and ECS instance versions are consistent during each release; Reusing customer built monitoring systems requires integrating SAE monitoring data with ECS monitoring data. When the traffic peak arrives, the elastic module will bounce the elastic instance onto the SAE, greatly improving the elastic expansion efficiency and reducing costs.

Four significant new features extend the new boundaries of Serverless

Terraform support

As the preferred cloud based tool for major customers at home and abroad, Terraform's value lies in its infrastructure, namely, code, which can automatically configure infrastructure, helping enterprises achieve faster, lower risk, and lower cost development, deployment, and expansion of cloud applications. Greatly improve the efficiency of automated operation and maintenance. After SAE accesses Terraform, developers do not need to understand each API, provide declarative IaC, operate SAE resources more securely, and interface with CICD/GitOps more easily. More importantly, it provides resource orchestration capabilities, enabling the one-click deployment of SAE and dependent cloud resources, greatly improving the efficiency of site building from 0 to 1. Currently, multiple Internet customers are already using it in production environments.

Provides one-stop application hosting for PHP

When it comes to PHP O&M, everyone is familiar with various commercial server O&M panels. However, these panels only support stand-alone operation and maintenance, lack monitoring and second level automatic resilience capabilities, and do not support incremental static file updates. They are not friendly to larger PHP applications.

In response to the above pain points, SAE provides a fully hosted PHP application service that is O&M free, highly elastic, and seamlessly integrated with APM monitoring. In terms of frameworks, it supports popular frameworks such as larravel, ThinkPHP, Swoole, and Wordpress. In terms of operating environment, online application architecture LNMP is supported, and PHP-FPM+Nginx is provided by default. Docker image and PHP zip package deployment are supported, greatly reducing the threshold for users to use. The PHP application hosting feature matrix is quite rich, including upload and download of development and debugging classes, built-in Xdebug, and elastic scaling of runtime classes. It can also independently manage static files and directories through NAS and OSS. Based on these capabilities, PHP supports several typical usage scenarios, such as static site deployment, remote debugging, multi site deployment, and application migration of the stock ECS/server operation and maintenance panel.

SAE Job officially invited for testing

SAE has added support for task type workloads, and task frameworks such as open source XXL jobs can be upgraded and migrated. According to business data processing requirements, it can quickly create a large number of computing tasks in a short time, and quickly release computing resources after the task is completed. It has features such as stand-alone, broadcast, parallel computing, and sharded operation, as well as timing, automatic retry for failures, and monitoring and alarm features, providing a fully managed, O&M free user experience.

Unlike traditional task frameworks, SAE jobs are more convenient to use (non intrusive to code), more economical (resources are released immediately after the task runs), more stable (independent of online business, and task failures can be automatically retried), more transparent (visual monitoring and alarm), and more reassuring (no need to pay attention to underlying resources). More importantly, SAE jobs can deeply integrate the micro service ecosystem and are compatible with open source K8s.

SAE jobs can be widely used in scenarios such as scheduled tasks, batch data processing, offline computing, asynchronous task decoupling, and microservice ecological integration. We welcome everyone to experience and try them for the first time.

SAE Support Event Center

SAE provides many enterprise level enhancements, such as a one-click start/stop development and testing environment, permission isolation/control, for direct customer use. Recently, we have also added an event center capability that allows users who subscribe to rules to send abnormal events about application runtime and changes through stapling, SMS, and email, laying a solid foundation for customers to respond promptly and automate operation and maintenance. This is also a difference in our user experience that distinguishes us from the open-source, self-built K8S, and truly achieves the goal of thinking about customers' needs and responding to their anxieties.

SAE - Perfect Integration of Cloud Native Advanced Technology

SAE is a perfect fusion of cloud native advanced technologies: containerization+microservices+serverless best practices. Its emergence has helped Serverless transform from dedicated to general-purpose, breaking the implementation boundary of Serverless, making it no longer the exclusive darling of front-end full stack and small programs. Backstage microservices, batch processing tasks, SaaS services, Internet of Things applications, etc. can also be built on Serverless, naturally suitable for large-scale implementation of enterprise core businesses. It truly achieves the ultimate experience of "use as you come, complete functionality, and stop when you use it", helping enterprises easily enter the fast lane of cloud native practice.

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