Alibaba ApsaraDB: Product Overview and Insight

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Bottom Line:

While Alibaba is not considered a front runner in the database market, but it isn’t far behind the Microsofts, Oracles, and Amazons of this world either, in terms of functionality. Additionally, it scores well on peer review front.

With its headquarters in China and its grip on that market, its an obvious choice for anyone in that region, or anyone elsewhere wishing to expand into the Asian market. It’s also a likely winner for anyone adopting other Alibaba cloud services. Anyone in the Americas, though, should probably look elsewhere as its presence there pales in comparison to Amazon, Google and Microsoft.


Alibaba ApsaraDB provides operation and maintenance of mainstream open source and commercial databases such as MySQL, SQL Server, and Redis. It includes disaster recovery, backup, restoration, monitoring, and migration. ApsaraDB for RDS MariaDB TX came out of a partnership with MariaDB to offer the Enterprise Edition of MariaDB TX. It is compatible with Oracle and designed with multiple enterprise database features. It storage engines such as MySQL InnoDB to meet different user requirements.

ApsaraDB for RDS SQL Server supports the Cluster Edition (AlwaysOn Edition), which is based on the native AlwaysOn technology of SQL Server. Alibaba claims this makes its performance far superior to Amazon. The Cluster Edition separates computing from storage, and supports read/write splitting. By default, each read-only instance in the cluster also provides an independent intranet connection string.

In addition, ApsaraDB for RDS PPAS is on PostgreSQL jointly developed by Alibaba Cloud and EnterpriseDB, and is compatible with Oracle. It enables easy data migration and supports Oracle PL/SQL, data types, advanced functions, and table partitioning. It can’t contain a graph or blockchain database.



Performance Statistics: 

More than 75,163 queries per second.

“Implementation was easy, but needs additional features to complete the toolbox. The technical support is very professional, the problem solving is very positive, and the ability is strong. They can give timely and correct solutions,” said a Systems Architect at an eCommerce firm.


Up to 60 vCPUs, 470 GB memory, 100 TB SSD, and 15 read-only nodes.

Additional Features:

  • Internet DDoS protection for RDS database
  • Backup
  • Data transmission service
  • Automatic read/write splitting

Core Markets:

  • China
  • Enterprise customers who want a database service with low cost.
  • International customers who want to get into the China market.

“Alibaba was a good choice for cloud service and met our requirements,” said the CTO at an oil & gas company.


RDS MySQL: 1 vCPU/1 GB RAM/20 GB SSD, $0.029/hour

HybridDB for PostgreSQL (base on Greenplum database): 64 vCPU/256 GB RAM/5.12 TB SSD, $3,968/Month

Alibaba ApsaraDB
Type Relational
Performance 75k QPS
Features Internet DDoS protection for RDS database
Data transmission service
Automatic read/write splitting
Core Markets China
Enterprise customers who want to get into Chinese market.
Pricing MySQL: 1 vCPU/1 GB RAM/20 GB SSD, $0.029/hour
Key Differentiator Good choice for firms doing business in Asia
Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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