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Hands-on: Create Your First Serverless Application in Apache OpenWhisk

An open source serverless platform from IBM, OpenWhisk is available in two modes, hosted and on-premises. Developers can easily get started with it for implementing event-driven, loosely coupled functions. IBM along with Adobe has submitted OpenWhisk to Apache Software Foundation, and was accepted as an incubation project.

Last week, we ran a tutorial on getting OpenWhisk running in the Bluemix cloud environment. This article covers the setup process and the steps in involved in configuring and testing OpenWhisk in your local environment. It then explores the key concepts to create actions, triggers, and rules. Within 45 minutes, you will be able to write and deploy your first serverless application in OpenWhisk.

Apache OpenWhisk’s architecture reflects a modern, containerized, distributed system. It’s fascinating to see how multiple technologies are utilized in designing this first open source serverless platform.

Setting up, Configuring, and Testing Apache OpenWhisk in a VM

Let’s first set up a Vagrant box to run Apache OpenWhisk on a Mac or Windows. It involves configuring both the platform and the command line interface (CLI).

Configuring the platform is simple and straightforward. Just clone the GitHub repoand run a command.

$ git clone

$ cd openwhisk/tools/vagrant

$ ./hello

Depending on your Internet bandwidth, this process takes approximately 30 minutes to finish. Wait till you see the following output on the screen:

wsk action invoke /whisk.system/utils/echo -p message hello --blocking --result


   "message": "hello"


Now that OpenWhisk is up and running, let’s go ahead and configure wsk, the CLI. Depending on the platform you are using, download the appropriate binary from the OpenWhisk site.

On a Mac or Linux, run the following commands to add wsk to the path.

$ chmod +x ./wsk

$ sudo mv wsk /usr/local/bin

Before we start using the CLI on the local machine, we need to point it to the Vagrant box. We also need a token to get authenticated with OpenWhisk. We can retrieve that by logging into the Vagrant box.

Read the entire article at The New Stack

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

Janakiram MSVHands-on: Create Your First Serverless Application in Apache OpenWhisk

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