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Agile Computing: Blog Post

Ten Attributes of Serverless | @KubeSUMMIT #Serverless #FaaS #AWS #Lambda #OpenWhisk #Docker #Kubernetes

With all the excitement and hype around serverless, it’s important to understand what really defines the platform

Serverless Computing or Functions as a Service (FaaS) is gaining momentum. Amazon is fueling the innovation by expanding Lambda to edge devices and content distribution network. IBMMicrosoft, and Google have their own FaaS offerings in the public cloud. There are over half-a-dozen open source serverless projects that are getting the attention of developers. This year, expect to see new platforms emerging in this segment.

With all the excitement and hype around serverless, it's important to understand what really defines the platform. Here is an attempt to highlight the key attributes of serverless computing platforms. For customers, it acts as a checklist for choosing the right offering while helping platform vendors in optimizing their product.

1. Polyglot Platform

The biggest benefit of FaaS is choosing the best of the breed languages and runtimes optimized for specific tasks. Each function could be written in a different language yet contributing to the same application. Though JavaScriptseems to be the lowest common denominator for Serverless, supporting other languages is important.

AWS Lambda started with JavaScript but eventually added support for Python, Java, and C#. Azure Functions supports all popular languages including BASH scripting language. With Docker integration, some providers will enable BYOI (Bring Your Own Image) with support for legacy code and binaries. IBM OpenWhisk is an example of such FaaS. Polyglot is an important aspect of FaaS that customers should factor.

2. Support For Sync and Async Invocation

Functions deployed in FaaS may be synchronous or asynchronous. A certain class of applications demands immediate response while others may prefer asynchronous invocation. For example, the data generated by sensors needs to be processed and analyzed immediately while images uploaded to object storage may be converted to thumbnails by a batch process.

Running an application in FaaS is similar to flying a drone.

Irrespective of the style of the function, FaaS platforms should support both synchronous and asynchronous invocation. When a function is triggered asynchronously, the platform returns an identifier that can be used to poll the status. IBM OpenWhisk supports this pattern in which every function is treated as asynchronous unless the invocation includes a blocking request.

It's also important to understand the number of concurrent invocations supported by the platform. Azure Functions

3. API Gateway Integration

The value of an API Gateway integrated with the serverless platform cannot be emphasized enough. Though the functions deployed in serverless environments are typically triggered by external event sources such as stream processors and databases, it is the API Gateway that lights up the functions. It adds the logical routes for mapping the standard HTTP verbs to respective functions.

For example, there could be four different functions responsible for the CRUD operations on a database which get mapped to GET, PUT, POST, DELETE verbs. This immediately brings a familiar API facade to developers. The consumers of the API may not even realize that they are dealing with a serverless platform.

The adoption of AWS Lambda skyrocketed only after the introduction of Amazon API Gateway. The lethal combination resulted in a robust platform that enabled many interesting use cases.

Customers should carefully assess if the serverless platform has good integration with an API Gateway.

4. Developer Productivity

Most of the IDEs that are used by developers today are not designed for modern DevOps processes. The support for source code control systems, build automation, CI/CD, and A/B testing came through plugins and third party add-ons. It will take a long time for traditional IDE vendors to support FaaS. Recently, Microsoft announced the support for Azure Functions in Visual Studio. AWS has also shipped a plugin for Visual Studio to enable development and deployment of C# functions in Lambda. But for other languages and frameworks, there are not many choices available.

5. Support for DevOps and Tooling

There is a misconception that FaaS magically reduces the need for DevOps and tooling. Serverless platforms should have tight integration with source code control systems and build automation tools. They should support automated and repeatable deployment patterns. Amazon is again one of the first to introduce Serverless Application Model (SAM) for declaring an entire stack including AWS Lambda resources. These templates can be integrated with git for consistent versioning. Microsoft also supports deploying Azure Functions through ARM. Google has a long way to go before it can include Cloud Functions in Deployment Manager.

IDE support and integration with existing DevOps pipeline is a major factor to consider while choosing a FaaS platform.

Serverless, Inc, is building tools for automating the deployment of FaaS applications across multiple platforms. Currently, in beta, the product aims to become the de facto framework for developing FaaS-based microservices.

6. Responsiveness and Performance

Responsiveness plays a critical role in designing microservices-based applications on FaaS. Poorly designed platforms will introduce startup latency and delay the invocation process, which would become obvious to end users. Lightweight, interpreted languages such as JavaScript and Python respond faster than Java and .NET. If there is a considerable gap between each invocation, the delay becomes noticeable. One trick to keep the function "warm" is to invoke it in a loop. But this is not an ideal solution for many customers.

The usage of Docker containers by some of the emerging FaaS platforms is a cause of concern. Each request to a function will result in the creation of a new container which will introduce significant delay. Though containers are faster when compared to VMs, they are still not meant to be the units of deployment for FaaS. We need a better execution environment than containers to implement FaaS.

Customers must benchmark the turnaround window for each language and runtime before deploying their microservices solution.

7. Logging and Monitoring

Running an application in FaaS is similar to flying a drone or an unmanned aircraft. The only way both can be controlled is through a powerful dashboard that shows the current state. FaaS platforms should have extensive support for logging and monitoring. Everything that is written to stdout and stderr should be logged to separate streams. This is essential to understanding the current health of an application and debugging individual functions. The monitoring tools should provide insights into the successful invocations, unsuccessful invocations, invocation time, response time, memory consumption and CPU utilization for each function.

Though FaaS is positioned as a NoOps platform, the logging and monitoring capabilities are heavily utilized by the DevOps teams.

8. REST Endpoints and Automation

Like most of the cloud-based delivery models, FaaS must be fully automated. This is only possible when the platform supports API for performing all the operations done through the portal or the CLI. This feature enables developers and operators to efficiently automate the workflow of deploying and managing the microservices.

For example, CI/CD systems can utilize the REST API of a FaaS to automatically push the latest version. This scenario can be extended further to automate the implementation of an A/B testing environment in FaaS.

9. Support Long-running Jobs and Batch Processing

Mature serverless platforms have inbuilt support for long-running, scheduled jobs. A function that is deployed in FaaS may be periodically invoked to perform at ETL job. FaaS platforms may support the same notion of cron to schedule jobs.

This capability extends further to support batch processing. For example, a large collection of high-resolution images uploaded to an object storage bucket may be processed at one go by a function. These scenarios are different from the asynchronous invocation patterns.

10. Extensibility and Integration

The real value of a serverless platform lies in the broad integration and extensibility. For example, the platform must support a variety of security schemes including oAuth and custom LDAP-based authentication. It should support HTTPS endpoints out of the box for secure transport.

The platform should have enough hooks for easy integration with a variety of event sources. Proprietary platforms such as AWS Lambda will only support integration with its services such as S3Kinesis, and DynamoDB. Open source platforms should make it easy for database vendors and other platform companies to support FaaS. OpenWhisk's Feed is an example of such integration.

Support for custom environment variables is another example of extensibility. With this, customers can pass parameters other than those included in the request. This simple feature turns FaaS into a powerful execution environment.

It's also important to understand the number of concurrent invocations supported by the platform. Azure Functions

Read the entire article at The New Stack

Janakiram MSV is an analyst, advisor, and architect. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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 embracing the reality of Serverless architectures, which are critical to developing and operating real-time applications and services. Serverless is particularly important as enterprises of all sizes develop and deploy Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives.

Register Today and SAVE ▸ Here

Speaking Opportunities ▸ Here

Sponsorship & Exhibit Opportunities ▸ Here

Silicon Valley Faculty ▸ Here

Silicon Valley Schedule ▸ Here

ServerlessSUMMIT at CloudEXPO to Present 50 Rockstar Speakers and 60 Serverless and Kubernetes Sessions in Three Simultaneous Tracks

20 Popular Kubernetes Sessions at ServerlessSUMMIT CloudEXPO

Monta Vista Ventures Presentation:

AIOps Disruption for Cloud, IT and SaaS - Muddu Sudhakar

Red Hat Kubernetes Track:

Securing Applications and Pipelines on a Container Platform - Veer Muchandi

Red Hat Kubernetes Track:

Service Mesh with Enhanced Observability and Traceability - Veer Muchandi

Red Hat Kubernetes Track:

Container Technologies - Impact on Enterprises - Veer Muchand

IBM Kubernetes Presentation:

Hybrid Container Serverless Mobile Backend - Marek Sadowski

Rapidvalue Solutions Session:

Serverless Architecture on AWS - Avinash Thakur

Red Hat Kubernetes Track:

Continuous Security with Kubernetes - Chris Van Tuin

Intel Kubernetes Session:

How to Better Manage Your Cloud Infrastructure - Rami Radi

Microsoft Azure Track:

Docker on Azure Hands-On Lab - Docker to Helm - Rags Srinivas

Microsoft Azure Track:

Policy Driven Enterprise Security For Kubernetes - Dave Strebel

jFrog Kubernetes Session:

Building a Kubernetes Powered Central Go Modules Repository - Leon Stigter

Platform9 Kubernetes Session:

Serverless Applications You Can Implement Today: 3 Key Use Cases and Design Patterns - Vamsi Chemitiganti

Data Theorem Session:

Serverless Applications vs Apps Built in Docker Containers - Doug Dooley

SUSE Serverless Track:

OpenStack and Kubernetes Get the Heat Treatment - Cameron Seader

Capgemini Serverless Session:

Microservices Implementation at Scale - Rishi Singh

Red Hat Kubernetes Track:

Containers: Don't Skeu Them Up. Use Microservices Instead - Gordon Haff

WSO2 Kubernetes Session:

Cloud Native Programming with Docker, Kubernetes, and Ballerina - Lakmal Warusawithana

Buoyant Linkerd Session:

Microservice Forensics: Investigating Problems in Production - Thomas Rampelberg

Palo Alto Networks Containers Session:

Shift Left Security In a Containerized World - Gunjan Patel

Palo Alto Networks Containers Session:

Container Security Best Practices - Gunjan Patel

ServerlessSUMMIT at CloudEXPO to present 50 rockstar speakers, 60 sessions in three simultaneous tracks. Call for Papers Here.

The three-day event will take place June 24-26, 2019 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA and will be colocated with CloudEXPO Silicon Valley!

Today we have announced our first 12 sessions. We are accepting speaking submissions for ServerlessSUMMIT through Friday, February 8th.

Our CloudEXPO Silicon Valley 2019 schedule showcases 200 presentations, including keynotes, technical sessions, general sessions, power panels, and hands-on tutorials presented by 150 rockstar speakers in the 10 hottest conference tracks of 2019. We are excited to add the ServerlessSUMMIT to this lineup!

Cloud-Native thinking and Serverless Computing are now the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, as well as the public sector.

The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.

As they do so, IT professionals are also embracing the reality of Serverless architectures, which are critical to developing and operating real-time applications and services. Serverless is particularly important as enterprises of all sizes develop and deploy Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives.

Serverless and Kubernetes are great examples of continuous, rapid pace of change in enterprise IT. They also raise a number of critical issues and questions about employee training, development processes, and operational metrics.

DevOpsSUMMIT at CloudEXPO Celebrates Its 12th Event in Six Years

ServerlessSUMMIT and DevOpsSUMMIT at CloudEXPO expands the DevOps community, enable a wide sharing of knowledge, and educate delegates and technology providers alike.

There's a real need for serious conversations about Serverless and Kubernetes among the people who are doing this work and managing it.

So we are very pleased today to announce the ServerlessSUMMIT at CloudEXPO.

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 throughout enterprises of all sizes.

CloudEXPO Has Been the M&A Capital For Cloud Companies

CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City.

Our Silicon Valley 2019 schedule will showcase 200 keynotes, sessions, general sessions, power panels, and hands on tutorials presented by 150 rockstar speakers in 10 hottest conference tracks of 2019:

» CloudEXPO
» DevOpsSUMMIT
» ServerlessSUMMIT
» Kubernetes at CloudEXPO
» FinTechEXPO Blockchain
» DXWorldEXPO Digital Transformation
» AI | ML | DL | Artificial Intelligence
» Big Data | Analytics
» IoT | IIoT | Smart Cities
» Mobility | Security
» Enterprise Cloud Hot Topics

CloudEXPO Silicon Valley 2019 Show Prospectus ▸ HERE

Prospectus At-a-Glance ▸ HERE
Attendee Profile ▸ HERE
Keynote Opportunities ▸ HERE
General Session Opportunities ▸ HERE
Diamond Sponsorship Opportunity ▸ HERE
Platinum Sponsorship Opportunity ▸ HERE
Gold and Silver Sponsorship Opportunities ▸ HERE
Bronze Sponsorship and Exhibitor Packages ▸ HERE
Benefits of Exhibiting at CloudEXPO 2019 ▸ HERE

CloudEXPO is the single event where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discus cloud computing and all that it entails. For more than a decade, sponsors and exhibitors of CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through our following unique tools. For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities call us at 954 242-0444 or contact us ▸ Here

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
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  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage
  • Unprecedented PR Coverage: Unmatched editorial coverage on Cloud Computing Journal
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FinTech and Blockchain Are Now Part of CloudEXPO 2019 Program

Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expensive intermediate processes from their businesses.

Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 23rd CloudEXPO, June 24-26, 2019 at Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA will find fresh new content in full new FinTech & Enterprise Blockchain track.

DXWorldEXPO Showcases Cutting-Edge IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Digital Transformation

Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation. DX encompasses the continuing technology revolution, and is addressing society's most important issues throughout the entire $78 trillion 21st-century global economy.

DXWorldEXPO® has organized these issues along 10 tracks, 22 keynotes and general sessions, and a faculty of 222 of the world's top speakers.

DXWorldEXPO® has three major themes on its conference agenda:

Technology - The Revolution Continues
Economy - The 21st Century Emerges
Society - The Big Issues

Global 2000 companies have more than US$40 trillion in annual revenue - more than 50% of the world's entire GDP. The Global 2000 spends a total of US$2.4 trillion annually on enterprise IT. The average Global 2000 company has US$11 billion in annual revenue. The average Global 2000 company spends more than $600 million annually on enterprise IT. Governments throughout the world spend another US$500 billion on IT - much of it dedicated to new Smart City initiatives.

For the past 10 years CloudEXPO® helped drive the migration to modern enterprise IT infrastructures, built upon the foundation of cloud computing. Today's hybrid, multiple cloud IT infrastructures integrate Big Data, analytics, blockchain, the IoT, mobile devices, and the latest in cryptography and enterprise-grade security.

Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. DX is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.

About DXWorldEXPO LLC

DXWorldEXPO LLC is a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based trade show company and the creator of DXWorldEXPO - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo. The company produces and presents the world's most influential technology events including CloudEXPO, DevOpsSUMMIT, and FinTechEXPO.

More Stories By Janakiram MSV

Janakiram MSV heads the Cloud Infrastructure Services at Aditi Technologies. He was the founder and CTO of Get Cloud Ready Consulting, a niche Cloud Migration and Cloud Operations firm that recently got acquired by Aditi Technologies. In his current role, he leads a highly talented engineering team that focuses on migrating and managing applications deployed on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.
Janakiram is an industry analyst with deep understanding of Cloud services. Through his speaking, writing and analysis, he helps businesses take advantage of the emerging technologies. He leverages his experience of engaging with the industry in developing informative and practical research, analysis and authoritative content to inform, influence and guide decision makers. He analyzes market trends, new products / features, announcements, industry happenings and the impact of executive transitions.
Janakiram is one of the first few Microsoft Certified Professionals on Windows Azure in India. Demystifying The Cloud, an eBook authored by Janakiram is downloaded more than 100,000 times within the first few months. He is the Chief Editor of a popular portal on Cloud called www.CloudStory.in that covers the latest trends in Cloud Computing. Janakiram is an analyst with the GigaOM Pro analyst network where he analyzes the Cloud Services landscape. He is a guest faculty at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H) where he teaches Big Data and Cloud Computing to students enrolled for the Masters course. As a passionate speaker, he has chaired the Cloud Computing track at premier events in India.
He has been the keynote speaker at many premier conferences, and his seminars are attended by thousands of architects, developers and IT professionals. His sessions are rated among the best in every conference he participates.
Janakiram has worked at the world-class product companies including Microsoft Corporation, Amazon Web Services and Alcatel-Lucent. Joining as the first employee of Amazon Web Services in India, he was the AWS Technology Evangelist. Prior to that, Janakiram spent 10 years at Microsoft Corporation where he was involved in selling, marketing and evangelizing the Microsoft Application Platform and Tools.

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