During the Alibaba Cloud Summit 2019 in Singapore, Jin MA, Chief Product Officer, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence spoke in detail with CIO India on Alibaba Cloud's new features and services including a container service for Kubernetes, Bring Your Own Key (BYOK), PolarDB v2.0, and SaaS Accelerator - Mini Programs.
According to Jin MA, Alibaba Cloud is aiming to speed up digital transformation in the APAC region by building a highly innovative and secure cloud infrastructure.
How can Alibaba Cloud help businesses to migrate to cloud?
We provide products and services that are compatible with customers' existing technology. We provide the services at the back-end so clients can focus on the business growth. Our cloud migration services include all forms of elastic compute, from VM to containers to serverless, which meet all types of compute needs for migration and cloud-native applications.
Alibaba Cloud has recently made available a container service for Kubernetes. What does Alibaba Cloud aim to achieve with this service?
Several industries are moving to container-based architecture. And Kubernetes is a very good way to manage containers. However, you don't need to set up your Kubernetes - you can use Alibaba's managed Kubernetes service to have your containers in the cloud.
During peak business hours, be it planned or unplanned, you may need to boost your IT architecture. Our service can carry out large scale orchestration of containers easily, providing global image distribution services from 10,000 nodes across 19 regions worldwide. This feature ensures there will no bottleneck during peak business times. Also, our container service V1.1 not only supports Linux but also Windows machines.
You have also introduced a unique concept - Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) security service for your cloud platform. Can you elaborate the value of this service for enterprises?
Data security becomes important now that the data is on cloud. While some businesses may hesitate to trust the cloud, there is a way to resolve the trust issues if they exist. The feature is called Bring Your Own Key (BYOK), which gives end-to-end encrypted transfer, encrypted compute and encrypted storage for enterprises.
The value with BYOK is that you can manage your encryption keys yourself and by holding your own key, you do not need to trust anyone else to protect your data. We have multiple technologies, compliance and rules to make sure nobody can ever have access to the customers’ data and BYOK is just one of the innovative ways to enhance that.
Apart from the managed service for Kubernetes, there is also Alibaba Cloud’s PolarDB. What benefits can businesses derive from it?
For transaction-based businesses such as payments, database may be a bottleneck. PolarDB is Alibaba's distributed database. One single database instance supports up to 100 TB, and so you do not need to worry about storage capacity using PolarDB. PolarDB v2.0 is compatible with open source MySQL and PostgreSQL but provides stronger performance at lower price.
What is Alibaba Cloud’s strategy on edge computing technology?
Edge computing is growing very fast this year. Video based applications such as Tik Tok are leveraging it for lower costs and better customer experience. There is a new trend in the CDN, which is to compute on the edge data from billions of devices. Edge services will play an important role in the near future as we see increasing cloud gaming and online streaming that require lower latency. So, in this context, we at Alibaba Cloud are deploying edge services in a very agile way.
You also have a SaaS accelerator program. What role does Alibaba play in helping partners create SaaS solutions for the Alibaba ecosystem?
Let me introduce you to the concept of mini-programs. Mini-programs are light-weight applications inside super applications. Super applications are those applications which have hundreds of millions of users such as Alipay and Paytm. For instance, within the Alipay ecosystem, one can pay for all kinds of services such as healthcare, insurance, restaurants, parking, taxi, etc. Any business can be a SaaS provider to serve customers better as a mini-program.
SaaS accelerator is like a platform to help the SaaS providers create mini-programs. Alibaba Cloud does not do SaaS business itself but we help the ecosystem to develop and deploy SaaS applications faster than ever. This includes technology assistance and zero-code development for small businesses so they can integrate payments and services to build end to end solutions. We also have the API market which is great for innovation among businesses.
What is your roadmap for the Indian market with respect to your cloud solutions?
India is a very important market for us. Like China, India has a large young population and the rate of digital transformation and cloud services there is fast rising. We see a lot of opportunity in India. We also have a great partner in Paytm, which is a super application within the country, and we look forward to leveraging each other in terms of the two markets as well as innovation.