About Double 11
Alibaba Group has ingrained a new consumer behavior into China's social fabric with the Double 11 Global Shopping Festival, also known as Singles' Day or 11.11. The Double 11 festival, which has taken place every year on November 11 since 2009, entered its 13th year with a comprehensive focus on the cloud. It has set new standards for online shopping worldwide by continually generating record-breaking revenues and creating an innovative retail experience for consumers. This year's festival launched itself with a renewed commitment to green technologies.02
Online shopping festivals such as Double 11 Global Shopping Festival require a robust technology posture. Alibaba Group’s Double 11 Festival has evolved since the last few years and each year presents new challenges from meeting the peak traffic demand to ensuring green and sustainable infrastructure.
Cloud is central to successful execution of such larger-scale online events. The scalability, reliability, and elasticity of Cloud offers a great deal of benefits. Clubbed with other cutting-edge technologies including real-time data processing, and virtualization, it strengthens the digital core of such events.
Alibaba Group needed a reliable platform that can act as a technology backbone to the Double 11 Global Shopping Festival. The event in 2020 saw orders peaking at 583,000 transactions per second, 1,457 times that of the first Double 11 in 2009, exceeding the highest transactions of 544,000 of 2019. It was essential for the system to be able to withstand one of the world's largest traffic peaks.
It was challenging for the Group to deal with such copious amounts of computational resources and scale resources on demand by relying solely on on-premises solutions. Apart from dealing with the sudden spikes in traffic, the bigger challenge was to ensure seamless customer experience, offer a secure gateway for transactions, and process such huge amounts of traffic in real-time.03
Why Alibaba Cloud
Alibaba Cloud fully migrated all of Alibaba Group's systems and operations onto the Cloud for the world's largest shopping festival. This new setup leveraged computing technologies backed by 100% cloud-native apps.
The use of green technologies such as liquid cooling and wind energy at its hyper-scale data centers made the 2021 Double 11 a more sustainable shopping festival than its predecessors. Alibaba's Zhangbei County data center helped reduce carbon emissions by over 26,000 tons, equivalent to CO2 absorbed by one million trees annually.
Apsara, Alibaba Cloud's super computational engine, guaranteed that networks and systems were scaled to handle the unpredictable traffic surges without incident. The cloud's scale-fault tolerance offered backup with seamless operation. It provided additional flexibility based on demand with heightened cybersecurity for all shopping transactions.04
An increased focus on cloud, security, and sustainability saw many milestones in a one-of-a-kind global event:
• The full use of cloud-native technologies reduced computing resources by 50% for every 10,000 transactions compared to last year.
• Improved computing efficiency boosted technology deployment by 20% and CPU resource utilization by 30%.
• The comprehensive security strategy enabled early detection of cyberattacks and abnormal behavior and automated risk-case tracking.
• The scaled deployment of Hanguang 800, the first Alibaba Cloud AI inference chip, significantly improved product search and recommendation efficiency.
• The algorithm performance enhanced the search function by 200%, with a 58% reduction in energy costs.
• Alibaba Cloud's proprietary large-scale AI model M6 improved AI-intensive operations such as AI-powered apparel design. M6 improved the production chain, drastically shortening apparel design time from multiple months to less than two weeks.
• It also helped reduce the carbon footprint of T-shirt manufacturing by more than 30%.
• Alibaba's last-mile logistics bot "Xiaomanlv" deployed at over 200 campuses to deliver over 1 million packages during the festival.