Meet Ant Group, one of the 11 nominees for the Superuser Awards in 2022


Who do you think should win the 2022 Superuser Awards? The annual Superuser Awards is to recognize organizations that have used open infrastructure to improve their business while contributing back to the community.

This year, the Superuser Awards winner will be announced at the OpenInfra Summit Berlin, June 7-9! Join the global community for its first in-person Summit in over two years and collaborate directly with the people building and running open source infrastructure using OpenStack, Kubernetes and 30+ other technologies. Get your Summit tickets before the price increases on May 17!

Ant Group is one of the 11 nominees for the Superuser Awards 2022. Check out why its team getting nominated:

Who is the nominee?

The Kata Containers team is part of the infrastructure department of Ant Group. The team is led by Xu Wang, who co-announced the project in Austin in Dec 2017, and the team consists of more than 30 members. The Kata team is responsible for the container-related R&D of Ant Group and working for the sustainable IT infrastructure with Kata Containers in Ant Group. Many of the team members have been active upstream Kata Containers project contributors and maintainers since the first day of the project, such as Peng Tao and Fupan Li.

How has open infrastructure transformed the organization’s business? 

Ant Group is a financial technology company aiming to help everyone enjoy inclusive, sustainable financial services. In April 2022, Ant Group announced that it achieved carbon neutrality in 2021 by reducing 29,591.48 tons of CO2 emission with green computing technologies. One of the key technologies is to increase the efficiency of infrastructure by running heterogeneous workloads together and isolating them with Kata Containers.

Thanks to the strong isolation of Kata Containers, we can deploy online applications and batch jobs together on thousands of nodes without significant interference. By adopting Kata Containers and other related technologies, we have reduced half of the per-payment energy consumption in the recent Double-Eleven e-Shopping Festival, compared to three years ago.

How has the organization participated in or contributed to an open source project?

We are one of the two founding teams of Kata Containers. Since its first launch in December 2017, we have been active contributors to the Kata project. We contributed to the community in many ways such as organizing events, drafting roadmaps, leading feature developments, enriching documents, fixing bugs as well as helping other users to adopt Kata Containers in production.

What open source technologies does the organization use in its open infrastructure environment?

Besides Kata Containers, we also use a variety of other open source technologies in the infrastructure, such as Kubernetes, Prometheus, etcd, containerd, runc, dragonfly, Nydus, Linux, KVM, etc. Together, they helped us to build up a stable and sustainable IT infrastructure.

What is the scale of your open infrastructure environment?

We run our Kubernetes clusters on tens of thousands of nodes. The size of a single Kubernetes cluster varies from a few hundred to as large as more than 10 thousand nodes.

What kind of operational challenges have you overcome during your experience with open infrastructure?

We operated on a large scale and encountered many kinds of challenges. We have overcome and solved the scalability of many infrastructure components, upgrades, performance, and performance jitters, etc.

How is this team innovating with open infrastructure? 

We are pioneer users of Kata Containers. We deploy Kata Containers on a large scale in production and innovate with real-life use cases. In the past, we introduced the shimv2 architecture and the rust version of the kata-agent. We put these features in production at a very early stage. It helped validate and mature them quickly.

Right now, we are adding a rust version of the Kata runtime with an integrated built-in VMM, to further reduce Kata’s memory overhead, and to bring in true cloud-native virtualization. It aims to be a major feature of the incoming Kata Containers 3.0 release.

The Superuser Editorial Advisory Board will review the nominees and determine the finalists and overall winner after the community has had a chance to review the nominees. Stay tuned!