Friday, March 1, 2019

Paper on Serverless Computing from Berkeley

Cloud Computing moves MOST of the administration from the Cloud consumers to the Cloud providers. No need to think about procuring hardware, networking, cooling, physical security etc. Serverless moves in the same direction, taking away even more administration from the Cloud consumers.

The name `Serverless` is a bit of misnomer as there are still servers involved. The only thing is that the Cloud consumers need not think in terms of Servers. Take the example of FAAS (Function-As-A-Service). Here are the sequence of steps, no where a SERVER is mentioned.

- Write and test a function
- Package the function
- Deploy the package to the Cloud
- Associate an event with the function (to be invoked automatically) or provide an API Gateway (to be invoked programmatically)

There is no mention of SERVER in the above and so the name Serverless. The good thing about FAAS is that it scales automatically and there is no need pay when the function is not invoked which is not the case of IAAS, PAAS and SAAS. We pay based on the number of function invocations and the amount of resources consumed.

Serverless has a lot to go, but applications can be built end-to-end without thinking about Servers and so Serverless. Here is a recent good read Cloud Programming Simplified: A Berkeley View on Serverless Computing about the pros, cons, challenges, research areas and finally predictions of Serverless computing.

Also to get a hang on FAAS, here is an blog I have written using AWS Lambda to to trigger a Java function which shrinks an image as soon as it has been uploaded to AWS S3.

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