Century Mart deploys Function Compute, API Gateway, and Tablestore to facilitate the computing and storage of its core business. The deployment allows Century Mart to flexibly provide the resources needed for daily and peak promotions. The research and development efficiency is increased by more than 50%, and the cost of resource upgrading is reduced by 100%.

About Century Mart

Century Mart (Shiji Lianhua) is a supermarket chain with over 170 branch stores across China. It is a leading retailer in the chain retail industry for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). After 10 years of development, Century Mart has innovated its business model, which includes hypermarkets, comprehensive supermarkets, and standard supermarkets. The company is positioned as a supermarket and boutique department store, and owns brands such as "Century Mart" and "Lianhua".

Challenge

Century Mart has more than 2 million followers on WeChat. Century Mart attracts hundreds of thousands of members each month to log in and grab tickets with its attractive monthly offers. "There were so many unexpected issues that we could hardly keep our services running as expected," recalled Lou Jie, Technical Director of Century Mart.

Managing more than 2 million followers is never easy. The supermarket has to face its super intensive member management business. To support the regular online shopping promotions, Century Mart has deployed a large number of servers. However, the peak load still has a great impact on the services that Century Mart can provide.

Lou Jie's team has suffered from the tedious and complicated server management work. As the number of estimated users is fluctuating, the system is often overloaded. In order to cope with the demands of the annual Double 11 shopping festival, Lou Jie's team needed a flexible and stable system architecture.

Why Alibaba Cloud

Alibaba Cloud's serverless architecture provided Century Mart with the scalability, elasticity, and high availability it needs to ensure the availability of its monthly offers for customers. This solution is ideal for handling unexpected levels of traffic, and Alibaba Cloud Tablesstore is deployed in this solution, rather than a traditional relational database. Function Compute is used to read data from and write data to Tablestore. The architecture ensures that the processing results are returned to front-end users in a timely manner.

Compared with traditional solutions, the serverless architecture simplifies the O&M process because it does not rely on supplementary servers. Function Compute dynamically allocates execution environments based on the number of requests. Tablestore provides fast access and high throughput without additional servers. API Gateway controls access traffic and exports API documents.

Architecture

By bringing the data and business to the cloud, Lou Jie found his stress relieved and his workload reduced. "Alibaba Cloud Function Compute saves our technical personnel a lot of work." Function Compute is a fully managed event-driven computing service. "Instead of managing servers, we just need to write code and upload it. The system will be ready for computing resources. The system also provides features such as log query, performance monitoring, and alerting. In the past, if the company launched a campaign for Double 11, our technical team would not have been able to sleep. To support such a large volume of traffic and business, we had no choice but to deploy more servers. Now, Alibaba Cloud can help us handle scale-out issues. I believe they can do a better job than we could ever imagine," Lou Jie said frankly.

Alibaba Cloud also allows supermarkets to not worry about recruiting professional IT engineers. Many excellent engineers choose to work in Internet companies like Alibaba, which makes it difficult for supermarkets to recruit suitable technical talents. "But now Alibaba Cloud provides cutting-edge technology, so we do not have to study algorithms by ourselves. We can just use ready-made tools. This reduces the investment of relevant talents and saves expenditure." Lou Jie said.

Looking Forward

Century Mart has migrated its diverse business from Elastic Compute Service (ECS) to Function Compute. The migrated business includes the business of all channel providers, the "Lianhua Selected" app, online trading, regular coupon grabbing, and flash sales. Century Mart has applied the elastic scalability of Function Compute in various scenarios, such as server-side rendering (SSR) for Double 11 promotions, online commodity flash sales, coupon marketing, shopping guide, and data mid-end computing.

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  • Function Compute: A secure and stable, elastically scaled, O&M-free, pay-as-you-go, serverless computing platform.
  • API Gateway: API Gateway provides you with high-performance and highly available API hosting services to deploy and release your APIs on Alibaba Cloud products.