The Rigidity of Enterprise Applications in PaaS and SaaS Processes

1、 The Voice of Third Party Service Providers ISVs

Li Nong, Chief Technology Officer of Avaya Greater China, an enterprise communication and contact center service provider, told TOB New Forces that Avaya's stock has increased fivefold in the past two years, with the core reason being the entire company's transformation to the cloud. In addition to China and Russia, Avaya has already provided services globally through the cloud, replacing traditional sales of software and hardware. Li Nong is an old employee of Avaya, and he believes that Chinese corporate clients will also embark on this day.

Among the customers that Li Nong contacted, one-third of them do not go to the cloud, one-third already have clear preferences for cloud service providers, and one-third require their recommendation to choose a cloud service provider.

In a specific market like China, there are actually many customers who have been privatized for deployment. How can we meet their requirements and needs? This is Li Nong's job challenge. The traditional deployment method has a long cycle, with dozens of local servers involving twenty to thirty components, and Avaya needs to be installed one by one at the customer's location.

In July 2021, Li Nong and his team first learned about Alibaba Cloud's computing nest. He described the computing nest he felt as follows: "Once installed in the cloud (deployed to the computing nest), new customers can deploy with just one click by providing a name and IP address. More importantly, resource usage can be detected." This not only reduces customer implementation costs, shortens implementation cycles, but also enables IT resources to be operated in new ways.

When our customers started moving towards the cloud, they began to have a new choice today, which is the computing nest, which can be deployed in a pure cloud and out of the box manner, without the need to install twenty or thirty components one by one. "Li Nong commented on this change.

The computing nest mentioned by Li Nong is not a completely new product, but rather Alibaba Cloud's encapsulation of the technology and product capabilities that support its own cloud products. Open up the underlying capabilities that support one's own business.

Alibaba Cloud Computing Nest was officially launched at the Alibaba Cloud Beijing Summit in May 2021, with the aim of addressing various business challenges faced by third-party ISVs in the process of cloud services. Encapsulate Alibaba Cloud's products and technologies according to different business scenarios, in order to solve various problems encountered by third-party ISVs during the entire process of delivery, deployment, operation and maintenance management, re upgrading, and customer service.

Recently, Zhang Xiantao, a researcher at Alibaba Group and the head of Alibaba Cloud's elastic computing product line, Wang Zhikun, the director of Alibaba Cloud's elastic computing product, and He Chuan, the head of Alibaba Cloud's elastic computing nest product, received an interview with TOB New Forces and talked about the computing nest product.

Computing Nest Architecture Diagram

2、 From thinking to launching, it takes a year to explore the ISV's requirements

In 2019, the Alibaba Cloud Beijing Summit proposed the "integrated" strategy. Zhang Xiantao recalled to the new forces of TO B that they were already thinking about how to open up the IaaS layer capabilities accumulated by Alibaba Cloud, help some enterprise application partners who are willing to transition to PaaS and SaaS achieve cloud transformation, and also help those who have already SaaS better utilize cloud capabilities. This is the prototype of their concept of a 'computing nest'.

Computing Nest was officially launched in mid-2021. There was a long interval between them. Zhang Xiantao said that this period was mainly spent on thinking and demonstrating the rigid needs of third-party ISVs.

Zhang Xiantao, Researcher at Alibaba Group and Head of Alibaba Cloud Elastic Computing Product Line

During the launch process, Compute Nest had multiple rounds of communication with Alibaba Cloud's cloud market, DingTalk, and others, which attempted to define the pain points of today's ISV transition to SaaS. Truly addressing these pain points will be the key to calculating the need for nests.

Stability, scale, and security are the answers summarized by Alibaba Cloud.

For TO B business, stability is the most basic requirement. Choosing a stable and reliable cloud platform is particularly important as it relates to the retention and retention of customers. According to information provided by Alibaba Cloud, Alibaba Cloud provides the industry's highest single machine and multi zone SLA capabilities, with a single instance rate of 99.975%, which helps to provide stable SaaS services for third-party ISV partners.

Scaling is also crucial for the development of enterprises. Software vendors are familiar with their software, but they are not familiar with how to migrate their software to SaaS. When some traditional software is deployed to the cloud, it often takes days or even weeks to complete the virtual machine deployment process, and such efficiency cannot be scaled up.

The complexity and learning threshold of cloud computing technology are very practical factors. In the recently released 2021 Gartner Solution Scorecard report, Alibaba Cloud achieved world number one in four aspects of IaaS layer computing, storage, network, and security. During the communication with the Alibaba Cloud team, they believed that advanced capabilities were the only domestic cloud vendor selected to widen the gap, such as automated delivery of complex architectures and security capabilities. Alibaba Cloud has opened up these capabilities through its computing nest, mainly addressing the large-scale development of third-party ISV service delivery efficiency and operational efficiency.

After the introduction of the Data Security Protection Law, the issue of "how to achieve effective and secure sharing of data" has always been a headache for enterprises, which has been closely following the cloud. Due to concerns about not being able to handle it, many companies are aware of the need to transition to SaaS cloud, but are hesitant to take this step.

In fact, many traditional ISV software manufacturers have realized that the era of traditional IT mainly focusing on delivering hardware and software or profiting from delivering services has passed. At the same time, SaaS companies are constantly gaining overvalues. This proves that software cloudization may be a necessary path. The stability, security, and scale issues encountered on the road to cloud computing are entrusted to IaaS service providers to solve, which is also what they hope for.

3、 What capabilities can the 'computing nest' provide for ISVs?

Today, for Alibaba Cloud vendors, it is natural to open up their PaaS capabilities such as databases and big data products that already support themselves to partners. Yesterday IaaS was a resource, today IaaS is a service, and tomorrow IaaS is an ecosystem, "Zhang Xiantao said in his keynote speech at the Alibaba Cloud Elastic Computing Annual Summit.

IaaS is an ecosystem, so how can computing nests build an IaaS ecosystem? Zhang Xiantao told TO B that the stability, security capabilities, and comprehensive functionality of the IaaS layer, as well as the accumulated users of Alibaba Cloud in the past, are the biggest differences in Alibaba Cloud's construction of a computing nest ecosystem compared to other cloud vendors' ecological measures.

Firstly, it lies in IaaS capabilities. It is understood that through large-scale and intelligent fault prediction algorithms, Alibaba Cloud can identify faulty servers and components in advance, reducing the impact of unexpected downtime on customers; Combined with advanced fault prediction technology and extreme real-time hot migration, Alibaba Cloud can help customers complete user resource migration without perception in most scenarios.

These capabilities have been accumulated by Alibaba Cloud's service to millions of customers over the past twelve years, providing customers with the highest single machine and multi availability SLA capabilities in the industry. Ultimately, they will also help ISV partners provide stable and reliable SaaS services to their customers. "The Computing Nest team explained to TO B's new forces.

Secondly, relying on Alibaba Cloud's twelve years of accumulation, Compute Nest can provide more convenient capabilities to help ISVs achieve product cloudization, which is also the core capability of Compute Nest. Through the implementation of some underlying technologies, a traditional software can evolve into being delivered in SaaS form, which is the ability of the computing nest to build on the core technology. Zhang Xiantao emphasized that technology is the core ability of the computing nest, and they have done a lot of work to achieve this.

It is precisely in this way that third-party ISVs that join the computing nest do not need to modify their own application architecture, business interface, or business model. He Chuan told TO B New Forces, "The platform should be open and compatible with existing products and business models of partners (third-party ISVs). The functions of the computing nest cover almost all aspects of the entire lifecycle of an ISV serving customers, but ISVs can only choose to use functions that are valuable to them. Modularization and mutual decoupling are innovations of the computing nest

As it does not involve product modification, in the process of serving Avaya, the computing nest only provides a data package including videos and documents, as well as a nail group that provides access support. This docking group is only used to answer questions and solve technical problems. We may have invested more energy in helping Avaya train their channels than in supporting Avaya access in the early stages, "He Chuan said

He Chuan, Product Leader of Alibaba Cloud Elastic Computing Nest

Thirdly, safety capabilities. Third party ISVs can directly push repair programs to users through computing nests, or, with user authorization, help users fix risk vulnerabilities and quickly handle security risks through proxy operations. In addition, the computing nest encapsulates the scenarios of all ISV service users, enabling authorization with one click, which is both secure and convenient. He Chuan stated that these scenarios are lessons learned from their past collaborations with various partners, and they have transformed these experiences into product capabilities that can be directly used by all Alibaba Cloud partners.

Finally, as a first mover cloud computing vendor, Alibaba Cloud has accumulated millions of users, which can allow third-party ISVs to be more deeply integrated into the service catalog provided by Alibaba Cloud. A company wants to deploy its own SaaS on the DingTalk platform, and after settling into the computing nest, the "Cloud DingTalk Integrated" model will make it easy for these ISVs to join the DingTalk ecosystem.

In summary, Compute Nest is like a "4S store for cloud based enterprise applications", solving the stability, security, scale, and sales issues encountered by software companies during the cloud based process. Essentially, it provides cloud native acceleration engines for enterprise applications and accelerates application cloud based development.

Previously, cloud hosting could only be considered as cloud hosting for enterprise applications. Alibaba Cloud hopes to drive the ecosystem to the stage of cloud native in the future. "Wang Zhikun said that ISVs that are truly or close to achieving cloud native today have built very large infrastructure teams. But by joining the computing nest, one can gain open computing, storage, networking, security capabilities, as well as higher-order cloud native capabilities, which will have significant value for small and medium-sized ISVs.

Alibaba Cloud Elastic Computing Product Director Wang Zhikun

Computing Nest essentially provides an acceleration engine around enterprise application cloudization. We hope to use one-stop services to enable ISVs to better build their own enterprise cloud services based on Alibaba Cloud. "Zhang Xiantao, when discussing his hopes for computing nests with TO B's new forces, said that in the initial stage, some ISVs will focus on IDC, cloud as a supplement, and then cloud hosting as the main focus, but the final state should be Cloud Native as the main focus. We hope that thousands of cloud native PaaS and SaaS companies can grow on Alibaba Cloud's IaaS platform

Alibaba Cloud hopes that the cooperation with third-party ISVs can gradually deepen, from the initial market cooperation to product cooperation, and then to the deep integration of technology and solutions. In the process of ecological construction, Alibaba Cloud will accommodate more ISVs. After some influential ISV manufacturers settle in, the entire computing nest ecosystem will form a more open network structure.

4、 How to understand Alibaba Cloud's "integration"?

In communication with several interviewees, Alibaba Cloud, which has been established for 12 years, uses the term "integrated" to describe cooperation, which is quite meaningful.

Zhang Xiantao has been at Alibaba Cloud for eight years, witnessing the development of this cloud computing vendor. In his view, "being integrated" refers to Alibaba Cloud opening up its capabilities, allowing more software companies to transform to PaaS and SaaS without having to repeatedly build underlying capabilities.

The development of cloud computing has a history of over ten years, and it can be observed that almost all cloud vendors started from the IaaS layer.

When they have a certain scale or achieve a certain degree (such as solving stability, performance, cost, and efficiency issues), they have a higher technological pursuit. For example, Alibaba Cloud has started to think about how to provide assistance to software companies in the process of transitioning to PaaS or SaaS.

As a cloud vendor, we have been advocating for 'integration' and 'openness', but the openness of many capabilities must be scenario driven and business value driven, "said Wang Zhikun.

The diverse scenarios and personalized needs of enterprise customers cannot be met by a cloud service provider. Standing behind our partners and being a provider of industrial internet resources is also a posture that IaaS manufacturers should have in the current stage of development. There is more than one cloud platform in China. Relatively speaking, which company is more open and able to assist itself is the foundation for ISVs to choose long-term cloud computing partners in the future.

TO B is a long-term, slow heating track

Zhang Xiantao is very clear that understanding the true needs of partners and choosing product paths are the biggest tests. It is necessary to sink down and truly recognize the difficulties and pain points that partners encounter in the cloud transformation process. He should think clearly before doing so, and gradually build the "nest" stable and comfortable, rather than competing for time, customers, or resources. Otherwise, he may achieve twice the result with half the effort.

He Chuan told TO B New Forces, "Over the past year, our team has been listening to our partners' needs. What the computing nest needs to do is to ensure that when our partners express clear demands, we are ready

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