SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

Serverless | @CloudExpo #Serverless #IoT #ML #Lambda #OpenWhisk

Over a year ago we tuned into 'the need for speed' & how a concept like 'serverless computing' was increasingly catering to this

Tune into: Hype Hopping

About a year ago we tuned into “the need for speed” and how a concept like "serverless computing” was increasingly catering to this. We are now a year further and the term “serverless” is taking on unexpected proportions. With some even seeing it as the successor to cloud in general or at least as a successor to the clouds’ poorer cousin in terms of revenue, hype and adoption: PaaS.

The question we need to ask is whether this constitutes an example of Hype Hopping: to effortlessly pivot to the next new thing once the previous one turns out to be just a bit less attractive and certainly a lot more complex then we all thought at first. The Gartner Hype Cycle has been calling this for years the trough of disillusionment, a valley that only the strongest of innovations manage to pass in order to reach the slope of enlightenment or even the plateau of productivity that lies beyond.

But even before the through there are pitfalls that hypes need to survive in order to thrive. Cloud computing itself once started its journey as “on demand” or “utility” computing. Terms that in retrospect were not sexy enough to survive. Whether Serverless will survive the markets sexiness test is something that remains to be seen. Also because – unlike there are no real clouds in cloud computing – there are plenty of real servers in what is called serverLESS computing.

Whether serverless indeed will be sufficiently different to be deemed as the next generation of “How to do IT” is not easy to answer. After all, we saw plenty of earlier generations of different approaches, such as Structured Programming, Object Orientation, Service Oriented Architectures and now Micro Services, all lay claim to such a change agent role. But deep down they all were just similar enough to allow a grey bearded mainframe type to claim: “been there, done that, on our sixties S/360”. And let’s face it, when it comes to serverless, did not virtualization, software appliances, containers and everything delivered “as a service” already take many steps to remove any physical servers from our direct field of vision.

The most visible incarnation of serverless is currently Amazon Web Services’ Lambda. Although this was by most accounts not the first implementation of the idea. Manta of IaaS provider Joyent – recently acquired by consumer electronics giant Samsung – and Iron.IO’s Iron Worker arguably were earlier. And neither is Lambda any longer one of a few. Due to rapid succession introductions of new offerings such Azure Functions, Google Cloud Functions and IBM OpenWhisk. Although many of these newbies are still in a beta or even alpha stage, the term functions is rapidly becoming a standard when it comes to naming serverless offerings. And Functions as a Service (FAAS) or Function Platform as a Service (fPaaS) is even used broadly as a more precise (but therefore more confined) alternative for the term Serverless altogether.

Most of today’s serverless implementations enable users to execute user-defined functions based on various event triggers. For example, one can have a thumbnail created every time someone saves a picture, or send a bill every time someone streams a song, or verify the identity of a user every time he triggers an event. Behind the scenes the invoked function is usually performed in a container (mainly because they are so fast to start-up). While the individual containers are often running in an isolated and secured user dedicated environment, in most cases a Virtual Machine (mainly because they provided proven insulation and safety). On some platforms you declare your functions by inserting a piece of code or a script, with others you can insert functions in the form of a ready to run (binary) container. The latter feels -with a container basically being a portable machine incarnation – somehow a lot less “serverless” than the script approach.

The essence of serverless in my view is, however, that in addition to no longer having to worry about WHERE (on which server or which virtual machine) your functionality will be running, you also don’t have to worry anymore about WHEN your function will be performed. This is taken care of by the trigger or event engine of the serverless platform. This may make classic programming constructs such as loops and infinite, nested and complex “If – then – else ” trees, a thing of the past. And we all know how much code it can take to handle the logistics, versus the core transformation, in any real world applications. Not to mention how hard it is to debug such logistical flow code. Not surprisingly one of the most frequent comments heard about serverless computing is how amazingly little code you have to write to get something done.

With serverless the provider/operator of the platform is responsible for the WHERE and the WHEN and the user/developer needs only to determine the WHAT. In some way this sounds as a familiar promise. Did not non-procedural and event-driven 4th generation languages lay similar claims? And if so, could serverless long-term turn out to have the same disadvantages as these predecessors. And I don’t mean just the increased lock-in that these platforms brought, but the fact that in case of performance issues tuning let alone refactoring was almost impossible, as the environment almost fully abstracted the user/developer from the HOW.

Whether we will all be shredding our just recently printed business cards and updated linked-in profiles claiming our new found role as “Cloud Something” to replace them with “Serverless Whatever” is therefore questionable. If only because “it runs in the cloud” still sounds so much better than it runs “at the Serverless”.

“At the Hop” by Danny & the Juniors rose directly to the top of the charts in 1958 and turned out to be the bands’ biggest but certainly not their only hit song. Others were the largely forgotten “Dottie” and the more persistent “Twistin ‘USA”. Although the dance moves of the Hop were clearly different from the Twist and from subsequent Rock & Roll and Hip Hop variants, for many older people it all seemed just more of the same pointless hopping around.

More Stories By Gregor Petri

Gregor Petri is a regular expert or keynote speaker at industry events throughout Europe and wrote the cloud primer “Shedding Light on Cloud Computing”. He was also a columnist at ITSM Portal, contributing author to the Dutch “Over Cloud Computing” book, member of the Computable expert panel and his LeanITmanager blog is syndicated across many sites worldwide. Gregor was named by Cloud Computing Journal as one of The Top 100 Bloggers on Cloud Computing.

Follow him on Twitter @GregorPetri or read his blog at blog.gregorpetri.com

Latest Stories
Moroccanoil®, the global leader in oil-infused beauty, is thrilled to announce the NEW Moroccanoil Color Depositing Masks, a collection of dual-benefit hair masks that deposit pure pigments while providing the treatment benefits of a deep conditioning mask. The collection consists of seven curated shades for commitment-free, beautifully-colored hair that looks and feels healthy.
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
We all love the many benefits of natural plant oils, used as a deap treatment before shampooing, at home or at the beach, but is there an all-in-one solution for everyday intensive nutrition and modern styling?I am passionate about the benefits of natural extracts with tried-and-tested results, which I have used to develop my own brand (lemon for its acid ph, wheat germ for its fortifying action…). I wanted a product which combined caring and styling effects, and which could be used after shampo...
The precious oil is extracted from the seeds of prickly pear cactus plant. After taking out the seeds from the fruits, they are adequately dried and then cold pressed to obtain the oil. Indeed, the prickly seed oil is quite expensive. Well, that is understandable when you consider the fact that the seeds are really tiny and each seed contain only about 5% of oil in it at most, plus the seeds are usually handpicked from the fruits. This means it will take tons of these seeds to produce just one b...
Steaz, the nation's top-selling organic and fair trade green-tea-based beverage company, announces its 2017 "Mind. Body. Soul." tour, which will bring authentic experiences inspired by the brand's signature Mind. Body. Soul. tagline to life across the country. The tour will inform, educate, inspire and entertain through events, digital activations and partner-curated experiences developed to support the three pillars of complete health and wellness.
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
ScaleMP is presenting at CloudEXPO 2019, held June 24-26 in Santa Clara, and we’d love to see you there. At the conference, we’ll demonstrate how ScaleMP is solving one of the most vexing challenges for cloud — memory cost and limit of scale — and how our innovative vSMP MemoryONE solution provides affordable larger server memory for the private and public cloud. Please visit us at Booth No. 519 to connect with our experts and learn more about vSMP MemoryONE and how it is already serving some of...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
Platform9, the leader in SaaS-managed hybrid cloud, has announced it will present five sessions at four upcoming industry conferences in June: BCS in London, DevOpsCon in Berlin, HPE Discover and Cloud Computing Expo 2019.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
When you're operating multiple services in production, building out forensics tools such as monitoring and observability becomes essential. Unfortunately, it is a real challenge balancing priorities between building new features and tools to help pinpoint root causes. Linkerd provides many of the tools you need to tame the chaos of operating microservices in a cloud native world. Because Linkerd is a transparent proxy that runs alongside your application, there are no code changes required. I...