Welcome!

Release Management Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, David H Deans, Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Article

Understanding #Serverless at @CloudExpo | #DevOps #NoCode #LowCode #AI

Understanding the pitfalls and disadvantages of serverless will make it much easier to identify use cases that are a good fit

Understanding Serverless Cloud and Clear
By Martijn van Dongen

Serverless is considered the successor to containers. And while it’s heavily promoted as the next great thing, it’s not the best fit for every use case. Understanding the pitfalls and disadvantages of serverless will make it much easier to identify use cases that are a good fit. This post offers some technology perspectives on the maturity of serverless today.

First, note how we use the word serverless here. Serverless is a combination of “Function as a Service” (FaaS) and “Platform as a Service” (PaaS). Namely, those categories of cloud services where you don’t know what the servers look like. For example, RDS or Beanstalk are “servers managed by AWS,” where you still see the context of server(s). DynamoDB and S3 are just some kind of NoSQL and storage solution with an API, where you do not see the servers. Not seeing the servers means there’s no provisioning, hardening or maintenance involved, hence they are server “less.” A serverless platform works with “events.” Examples of events are the action behind a button on a website, backend processing of a mobile app, or the moment a picture is being uploaded to the cloud and the storage service triggers the function.

Performance
All services involved in a serverless architecture can scale virtually infinitely. This means when something triggers a function, let’s say, 1000 times in one second, it is guaranteed that all executions will finish one second later. In the old container world, you have to provision and tune enough container applications to handle this amount of instant requests. Sounds like serverless is going to win in this performance challenge, right? Sometimes the serverless container with your function is not running and needs to start. This causes slight overhead in the total execution of the “cold” functions, which is undesirable if you want to ensure that your users (or “things”) get 100% fast response. To get predictable responses, you have to provision a container platform, leaving you to wonder if it’s worth the cost, not just for running the containers, but also for related investments in time, complexity and risk.

Cost Predictability
With container platforms or servers, you’re billed per running hour, or, in exceptional cases, per minute or second. If you have a very predictable and steady workload, you might utilize at around 70%, which is still a lot of waste. At the same time, you always need to over-provision because of the possibility of sudden spikes in traffic. One option would be to increase utilization, which would come with fewer costs, but also higher risk. With serverless, in contrast, you pay by code execution to the nearest 100 milliseconds, which is much more granular and close to 100% utilization. This makes serverless a great choice for traffic that is unpredictable and very spiky because you pay only for what you use.

Security
You would expect cloud services to be fully secure. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for functions. With most cloud services, the “attack surface” is limited and therefore possible to fully protect. With serverless, however, this surface is really thin and broad and runs on shared servers with less protection than, for instance, EC2 or DynamoDB. For that reason, information such as credit card details are not permitted in functions. That does not mean it’s insecure, but it does mean that it can’t pass a strict and required audit…yet. Given the high expectations for serverless, security will likely improve, so it’s good to get some experience with it now so you’re ready for the future.

Start with backend systems with less sensitive data, like gaming progress, shopping lists, analytics, and so on. Or process orders of groceries, but outsource the payment to a provider. Like credit card numbers, these things are on their own sensible piece of data, but if data in memory is leaked to other users of the same underlying server, a credit card number exposure can be exploited, but an identifier like id: 3h7L8r bought tomatoes cannot.

Reliability
Another thing to think about with security is the availability of services. A relatively “slow” service that can’t go down is generally better than a service that is fast but unavailable. Often in a Disaster Recovery setup, all on-premise servers are replicated to the cloud, which adds a lot of complexity. In most cases, it’s better to turn off your on-premise and go all-in cloud. If you’re not ready for this step, you can also use serverless as a failover platform to keep particular functionalities highly available, not all functionalities of course, but those that are mission critical, or can facilitate temporary storage and process in a batch after recovery. It’s less costly and very reliable.

Cloud and Clear
Until recently, it was quite tricky to launch and update a live function. More and more frameworks, like Serverless.com and SAM, are solving the main issues. Combined with automated CICD, it’s easy to deploy and test your serverless platform in a secured environment. This ensures the deployment to production will succeed every time and without downtime. With cloudformation or terraform you “develop” the cloud native services and configure functions. With programming languages like nodejs, python, java or C#, you develop the functions themselves. Even logging and monitoring has become really mature over the last few months. The whole source gives you a “cloud and clear” overview of what’s under the hood of your serverless application: how it’s provisioned, built, deployed, tested and monitored and how it runs.

Conclusion
AWS started in 2014 with the launch of Lambda, and although this post is mainly about AWS, Google and Microsoft are investing highly in their functions, and in the serverless approach as well. Over the last couple of months, they’ve shown very promising offerings and demos. The world is not ready to go all-in on serverless, but we’re already seeing increasing interest from developers and startups, who are building secure, reliable, high-performing and cost-effective solutions, and easily mitigating the issues mentioned earlier. You can look forward to waking up one day and finding out that serverless is now fully secured, provides reliable performance (pre-warmed), and has been adopted by many competitors. So be prepared and start investing in this technology today.

This blog was originally published by Xebia at Understanding Serverless Cloud and Clear.

The post Understanding Serverless Cloud and Clear appeared first on XebiaLabs.

More Stories By XebiaLabs Blog

XebiaLabs is the technology leader for automation software for DevOps and Continuous Delivery. It focuses on helping companies accelerate the delivery of new software in the most efficient manner. Its products are simple to use, quick to implement, and provide robust enterprise technology.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "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," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...