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. IBM, Microsoft, 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
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
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