Deploying Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to collect and manage data from devices and increase profit is a growing trend that is recognized by an increasing number of enterprises. However, enterprises face various challenges in building a powerful IoT system. To overcome the challenges that limit the development of enterprise-level IoT systems, Alibaba Cloud IoT Platform provides various advantages over user-created Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) clusters and MQTT servers.

Differences between IoT Platform and user-created MQTT clusters

The following table describes the differences between the capabilities of Alibaba Cloud IoT Platform and user-created MQTT clusters.

ItemIoT PlatformUser-created MQTT cluster
Device connection

Provides device SDKs to establish connections between devices and IoT Platform. IoT Platform supports connections to devices around the world. The devices include devices in heterogeneous networks, devices that run in various environments, and devices that run based on different protocols.

Supports stable connections to hundreds of millions of devices and automatic scaling. IoT Platform processes device messages within 50 ms.

Requires the effort of embedded system developers and cloud developers in infrastructure deployment. This is strenuous and inefficient.

The architecture may have difficulties in maintaining stable connections to millions of devices. If a large number of devices go online or offline at the same time, the platform may break down.

Extended features

Supports multiple billing methods, including pay-as-you-go and subscription.

Supports automatic scaling to accommodate business growth.
Requires a one-time investment in IaaS resources.

You must scale up resources to accommodate business growth.

ConcurrencyProcesses millions of concurrent messages and supports horizontal scaling. The core message processing system uses a stateless architecture without failure dependency. If a message fails to be sent, IoT Platform automatically retries. The architecture may fail to process millions of concurrent messages. A large number of concurrent upstream and downstream messages have negative impacts on the system. The load balancing feature is not supported. The business is affected during peak hours.
SecuritySupports three levels of Multi-Level Protection Scheme (MLPS) 2.0 to protect device data.
  • The access layer uses Anti-DDoS Pro to prevent DDoS attacks.
  • Device authentication is supported to guarantee the security and uniqueness of devices.
  • Device data transmission supports TLS encryption to prevent data tampering.
  • Important keys and data are encrypted to prevent theft.
  • Alibaba Cloud Security and permission control ensure data security in IoT Platform.
  • IoT Platform is protected by the Alibaba Cloud security team.
Requires the development and deployment of security measures. The process of securing device data is complex.

If an enterprise does not have security professionals or sufficient security awareness, the enterprise cannot eliminate security risks in a timely manner.


Adopts multi-data center deployment to eliminate failure dependency. Development based on Apsara Stack IoT Platform is supported by multiple data centers.

Guarantees 99.95% service availability. If the guaranteed service availability is not reached, claims will be settled based on the relevant standard. IoT Platform can detect a failure within 1 minute, locate a failure within 5 minutes, and fix a failure within 30 minutes.
Requires manual troubleshooting. If an MQTT cluster does not respond during data migration, you must identify and resolve the error. Services may be interrupted during the data migration. Therefore, service availability is not guaranteed.

Provides no quantitative service availability. Errors must be handled by the technical and O&M teams. The timeliness of error handling cannot be guaranteed. Enterprises must bear the losses that are caused by the errors.

Ease of useSupports plug-and-play deployment, and provides a console, device SDKs, and IoT Platform SDKs to simplify development and deployment.

Provides a one-stop device management platform that monitors devices in real time. IoT Platform is also integrated with multiple Alibaba Cloud services. IoT Platform allows you to build complex IoT applications with ease.

Supports Thing Specification Language (TSL) models. TSL models help you eliminate the need to define data syntax, and simplify data analysis and visualization.

Provides a comprehensive monitoring and alert platform. After you configure the alert settings, you can receive alerts in real time when a system exception or a business exception occurs.

Provides APIs and supports data transfer among devices, IoT Platform, and business servers.
Requires server deployment to build a load-balanced distributed architecture and involves considerable investment in an IoT system that can handle connection, computing, and storage requests.

No consoles are provided. Enterprises must set up the frontend and backend. Device connection management, lifecycle management, and remote O&M are complex.

Global access IoT Platform is available in six regions that are distributed in Asia, Europe, and North America. Your devices can connect to the nearest access points.

Provides the domain acceleration feature to reduce the latency in global communications.

Requires high costs to deploy devices in other regions. In addition, high latency is required to access the devices, and security compliance must be considered.
Synchronous invocationSupports synchronous invocation of device services by using server-side Revert-RPC (RRPC) calls. Unsupported.
Data parsingSupports data parsing based on custom protocols. The related scripts are hosted on the cloud. Unsupported. The data must be parsed by business servers.
Data forwardingSupports data forwarding among approximately 10 Alibaba Cloud services by using the rules engine. Unsupported. You must assign engineers to develop the feature.
Device shadowsSupports cache data synchronization between devices and IoT Platform.
OTA updateSupports multiple firmware update modes.
Log ServiceSupports the log query feature and large-scale log storage.
Real-time monitoringVisualizes real-time metric data on charts and supports threshold-based alerts and event alerts.