ALIBABA Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, has once again excelled in its mission of supporting the group’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, thanks to its high-performance computing and innovative technology.
Drawing on self-developed infrastructure upgrades, the group saw an 8% year-on-year saving in computing cost per resource unit from April 1 to Nov 11.
“The breadth and depth of cloud technology deployment during this year’s 11.11 has once again showcased Alibaba’s best cloud and technology practice; be it through fundamental architecture like self-proprietary technology powering high-performance computing and database products, or consumer-facing XR (extended reality) and live streaming technologies.
“We intend to continue applying these proven capabilities to even better serve our customers and help them to be more efficient, innovative and greener in their own digital transformation journeys,” said Alibaba Group chief technology officer Li Cheng.
Cloud-native and serverless innovations
This year’s 11.11 was powered by Alibaba Cloud’s dedicated processing unit for the Apsara Cloud operating system. The upgraded infrastructure system significantly improved efficiency of computing, storage and network in data centres supporting the event, while also reducing network latency.
Alibaba Cloud’s cloud-native database products also significantly expanded the capacity of consumers’ shopping carts by more than double, from 120 items to 300.
The ApsaraDB for Redis Enhanced Edition (Tair), a cloud-based in-memory database service for enterprises, supports new functions such as product grouping and sorting, enabling consumers to organise their shopping cart according to their own preferences.
Alibaba’s technology in 3D modelling leverages a neural radiance field (NeRF), a neural network technology for generating novel views of complex 3D scenes. During this year’s 11.11, it assisted luxurious retail and furniture brands, like Burberry, Estee Lauder and SK-II, to build virtual stores on the e-commerce platform Tmall.
Consumers can also view the products in three dimensions, enabling them to inspect details up close, or try on their chosen watches and accessories virtually thanks to AR technologies. Consumers are also free to arrange different items of furniture indoors, or tents for outdoor camping.
Another new expressive interaction came from an XR-powered marketplace on Tmall and Taobao.
Using the automatic 3D space creation technology from Alibaba’s research institute DAMO Academy, a virtual shopping street was built, featuring over 700 products from 70 brands including 30 internationally-recognised franchises, such as Sanrio’s iconic Hello Kitty, and Hollywood’s franchise Minions. Shoppers can choose their own avatars, check out the products and place them in their virtual shopping carts.
A greener 11.11 powered by clean energy
In addition to its cloud computing solutions helping to reduce energy consumption, Alibaba Cloud’s five hyper-scale data centres across China also doubled the amount of clean energy used to support this year’s 11.11 compared to last year.
More than 32 million kilowatt-hours of electricity used by Alibaba Cloud to support 11.11 this year came from renewable energy, up by 30% on a daily basis compared to last year.
Additionally, Alibaba Cloud's Heyuan data centre, the cloud company’s largest hyper-scale data centre in South China, now runs entirely on clean energy.
Alibaba Cloud’s self-developed immersion cooling technology has reduced the energy consumption of the data centres, with power usage effectiveness (PUE) reaching as low as 1.09 - a world-leading level.