Topics: Alibaba Group, F5 Networks, Electronic commerce Pages: 7 (998 words) Published: December 13, 2013
Case Study | Alibaba Group

“ 5 Application Delivery Networking solutions enabled us to build F
globalized data centers that are secure, reliable, and fast.” Wang Zhilei, Operations Director, Alibaba B2B


Alibaba Builds a Secure, Reliable, and
Fast Data Center Using F5 Application
Delivery Networking Products
Global e-commerce leader Alibaba Group is the largest e-commerce company in China. The company plans to expand its operations significantly, and needed to support several e-commerce sites in different parts of the world. By using F5®


·· Ensure globalized deployment
·· Facilitate 24x7 service
provisioning and scalability
·· Achieve granular control at
the application layer

BIG‑IP® Global Traffic Manager™ (GTM) and F5 BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager™

·· Improve application
acceleration and security

(LTM), Alibaba was able to consistently provide high-quality and secure services

·· Reach green IT objectives

to its 24/7 worldwide customer base.

·· BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager

Business Challenge
Founded in 1999, Alibaba Group has grown to
include the core businesses described below., the group’s flagship
company and the world’s leading B2B
e-commerce company, serves small and
medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in China
and around the world. It has more than
40 million registered users from more
than 240 countries and regions. The
company has offices in more than 40
cities across Greater China, as well as
in Europe and the United States.
 aobao is China’s largest consumer
e-commerce company. It incorporates
Alimama, China’s largest online
advertising exchange platform. With
a registered user base of nearly
100 million, its transaction volume was

·· BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager

RMB 99.96 billion (US $14.6 billion) in
2008, up 131 percent from 2007.
 lipay is China’s leading online payment
service with more than 150 million
registered users.

·· iRules

·· Faster interconnected global

 ahoo! Koubei is China’s leading
classified listing website. It provides
more than 20 million registered users
with local information across 2,000 cities
in China.

·· Resolved interconnectivity

 lisoft is the group’s internet-based
business management software company.
It targets SMEs in China and has more than
40 percent of the Chinese SaaS market.

·· Reduced server load and
energy consumption, meeting
green IT objectives

Alibaba Group wanted to efficiently
expand its services. The company’s growth
plans were in response to an evolving and
demanding e-commerce business, with

·· Enhanced security, reliability,
and content delivery speed
·· Seamless user experience

Alibaba Group

websites in different parts of the world
including North America, Japan, and Hong
Kong. The expansion involved adding several
more offices in the United States and Britain
and raising headcount by 5,000 for a total of
about 17,000 people.
A major part of the planning process was
to make sure the expansion was completely
supported by a rapidly scalable IT infrastructure
that could also manage security challenges.
Alibaba needed to build a globalized content
delivery network (CDN) to improve service to
its customers around the world and handle the
increasing traffic to all of its sites. Advanced
traffic management and application layer
health checks were vital to ensuring availability
of its web portals around the clock.
In addition, the traditional layer 4 switching
Alibaba had in place was unable to adapt
to the increasingly changing application
environment. The group needed granular
control of traffic at the application layer.
Finally, Alibaba wanted to achieve green IT
so they could enjoy lower costs through server
resource reduction, less energy consumption,
and bandwidth savings.
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