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Evolution of Alibaba Cloud CDN for Singles' Day shopping carnivals

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More Posted time:Dec 29, 2016 16:11 PM
Evolution of Alibaba Cloud CDN for Double 11 shopping carnivals
From the Nov 11 in 2009, the Single's Day evolved from a campaign on Taobao Mall to a promotion in Tmall, and later it became a nationwide shopping carnival of various major shopping websites in China, and also a grand festival of shopping for all customers. The volume of transaction during the Double 11 shopping carnival also increased exponentially, from less than 100 million at the beginning, to 91.2 billion in 2015, and further to more than 100 billion this year. The technologies supporting the rising volumes of transaction are the result of efforts by tens of thousands of technicians in Alibaba Group.  
In general, the peak requests during the Double 11 shopping carnival will be dozens of times of that in the normal period. You can imagine the tremendous ordeal imposed on the entire internet infrastructure when tens of millions of users visit the same website at the same time. However, with Alibaba Cloud's CDN service, the website weathered the peak periods of Double 11 shopping carnival stably.


CDN is a platform carrying traffic for modern large internet websites. It serves to accelerate access to content and enables nearby access. It can also disperse the traffic load. In general, 95% of the website requests and traffic are from CDN. If the CDN is not stable, the Double 11 shopping carnival won't be sustainable. No province can support all the traffic during the Double 11 shopping carnival even with all its IDC rooms available. So CDN is the infrastructure of the internet. How to well utilize and build a CDN is a must-do consideration for every large internet company.
Alibaba Cloud CDN evolves from Double 11 shopping carnivals
Alibaba used third-party commercial CDN services before 2009. But the commercial CDN is designed to serve generic websites and is not advantageous for small file (dominated by images) distribution. On the contrary, the sudden flash sales during the Double 11 shopping carnival generated a high IOPS, leading to a disk IO overload and caused disks to collapse, affecting the service. So from 2009, Alibaba started to build its own CDN. In 2010, its CDN team won the company's innovation award because of success in supporting the large traffic during the Double 11 shopping carnival of the year.
Alibaba has never purchased third-party CDN services from 2012. To support the high bandwidth and large number of requests during the Double 11 shopping carnival, Alibaba CDN started to use ten-gigabit NICs and full SSD servers from around 2012 onward to provide better services for the shopping carnival. Alibaba Cloud CDN has also developed the high-performance Swift cache server to take full use of the high performance of SSD. Its pioneering provision of standard nodes featuring 40G of throughput represents the pinnacle in the industry.
Before 2014, the capacity and equipment of Alibaba Cloud CDN were basically prepared for the Double 11 shopping carnival. The overall load of CDN during the Double 11 shopping carnival will run at very high levels to avoid wasting more hardware, which poses a tremendous test on the fault-tolerant capability and scheduling capacity of the entire CDN distributed system. It can be said that Alibaba Cloud CDN has gone through the baptism of Double 11 shopping carnivals and boasts fully-tested stability and performance through the production stress.
With the technical evolution and diversified business modes, Alibaba Cloud CDN is also shouldering more important tasks. In 2014, targeting the Taobao shopping details page static project[1], Alibaba Cloud CDN cleverly solved the dynamic page expansion issue utilizing the high-performance Swift and massive real-time refreshing system.
In 2015, Alibaba Cloud CDN solved the latency and user-level unit issue utilizing the inherent multi-room feature of CDN in combination with the multi-active remote nodes. Taobao has achieved full-site HTTPS to safeguard customers' shopping activities. Alibaba CDN optimizes the software performance and props up China's largest HTTPS traffic, making full use of original hardware performance without increasing a large number of servers. In addition, statistics show that with HTTPS+SPDY, the original user experience shows no decline.
After 2014, Alibaba Cloud CDN started its commercialization process. Its businesses grow from the original small file services to large file distribution, on-demand distribution, and all the way to the live broadcasting streaming media distribution which has been quite popular recently. Having stood the grim test of Double 11 shopping carnivals, the stability and performance of Alibaba Cloud CDN have been fully recognized and its profit also leaps by 800%[4], far exceeding the traditional commercial CDN.
Since Alibaba Cloud CDN launched the live broadcasting CDN in 2015, Alibaba Cloud CDN has become the guardian of this year's Double 11 shopping carnival after one year of development. Utilizing the high-quality nodes of Alibaba Cloud, Alibaba Cloud CDN performs edge stream pushing through HTTP DNS to ensure uploading stability. The live broadcasting needs of global users are guaranteed through cross-country intercontinental dedicated lines.


To provide users with low latency and a smooth shopping experience, Alibaba Cloud CDN also makes ground-breaking adoption of dynamic routing technology between networks to ensure the reliability of live broadcasting links and stable performance of the mobile live broadcasting and gala live broadcasting during the day. The Double 11 shopping carnival has become more and more globalized in 2016, and the revelry has extended from China to the world. The internet brings the world closer. This year, Alibaba Cloud CDN continued to promote the overseas CDN construction, increasing the nodes from more than 30 to currently more than 200. Alibaba Cloud CDN takes full use of the hardware performance to optimize the software performance, and props up China's largest HTTPS traffic without increasing a large number of servers.


Alibaba Cloud CDN grows step by step from the Taobao Double 11 shopping promotion and hopes to provide services to the vast users leveraging its strength for the Double 11 shopping carnival, so that every website can create their own "Double 11 carnival".
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