Alibaba Cloud, also known as Aliyun, is the cloud computing arm of the Alibaba Group, one of the largest e-commerce and technology conglomerates in the world. Founded in 2009, Alibaba Cloud has rapidly grown to become the leading cloud provider in China and a significant player globally. It offers an extensive range of cloud computing services, similar to other cloud giants like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. This guide aims to provide an overview of Alibaba Cloud’s features, historical context, and a step-by-step technical guide for beginners.
Intro to Alibaba Cloud
Alibaba Cloud was launched to support the internal infrastructure of Alibaba Group’s booming e-commerce business, but it quickly expanded its operations. Now, it serves customers globally, providing computing power, database services, and other cloud-related functionalities. In less than a decade, Alibaba Cloud has become the largest cloud provider in China and the fourth largest globally, as per market share statistics.
Alibaba Cloud Quick Facts
- Largest in China: Alibaba Cloud holds the distinction of being the largest cloud service provider in China, with a significant market share in the domestic cloud computing landscape.
- Global Footprint: As of my last update in September 2021, Alibaba Cloud operates in over 20 regions and 63 availability zones around the world, showcasing its global presence.
- Rapid Revenue Growth: Alibaba Cloud reported revenues of over $9 billion for the fiscal year 2021, reflecting rapid growth as businesses increasingly migrate to cloud services.
- Extensive Service Offering: Alibaba Cloud offers more than 200 cloud services, including computing, storage, big data, artificial intelligence, and security, making it one of the most comprehensive cloud platforms available.
- Strong Focus on Security: Alibaba Cloud is known for its robust security features, including Anti-DDoS protection, and has compliance certifications for multiple international and Chinese standards, making it attractive for businesses with stringent security requirements.
Core Features of Alibaba Cloud
Alibaba Cloud provides a variety of computing resources, including Elastic Compute Service (ECS), containers, and serverless computing capabilities.
Services like Object Storage Service (OSS), Table Store, and Alibaba Cloud’s proprietary relational database service RDS are available for a variety of storage needs.
Alibaba Cloud offers Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Content Delivery Network (CDN), and other networking solutions to ensure fast and secure data transfer.
Big Data and AI
With services like MaxCompute and Machine Learning Platform for AI, Alibaba Cloud is geared towards big data analytics and artificial intelligence applications.
Security and Compliance
Alibaba Cloud provides robust security measures, including Anti-DDoS protection, Web Application Firewall (WAF), and data encryption services.
Alibaba Cloud Versus Alternatives
There are several other cloud hosting providers that compare to Alibaba Cloud, including Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
The chart below compares Alibaba Cloud to each of these alternative cloud providers.
Getting Started with Alibaba Cloud
- An Alibaba Cloud account. If you don’t have one, sign up for it.
- Alibaba Cloud CLI installed on your computer.
Steps to Deploy a Simple Web App
1: Log in to Alibaba Cloud: Use the Alibaba Cloud Console or the CLI to log in.
Follow the prompts to enter your Access Key ID and Secret.
2. Create an ECS Instance:
aliyun ecs CreateInstance --Region <Your-Region>
<Your-Region> with the appropriate region.
3: Connect to the ECS Instance: Use SSH to connect to your new ECS instance.
4: Deploy Your Web App: Upload your web app files to the ECS instance and configure your web server to serve the application.
5: Access Your Web App: Once the web app is deployed, it should be accessible via the public IP address of the ECS instance.
6: Monitor and Manage: You can use the Alibaba Cloud Console to monitor resource usage, set up alerts, and manage your application further.
Alibaba Cloud has firmly established itself as a global player in the cloud computing market, offering a wide range of services from elastic computing to big data analytics. Its strengths in security and regional coverage, especially in China, make it a compelling choice for enterprises and developers alike.