Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Jyoti Bansal, Yeshim Deniz, Greg Schulz, ManageEngine IT Matters, William Schmarzo

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

FinTech Journal: Blog Feed Post

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.

@CloudExpo Stories
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of Soli...
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business. Though, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected with a majority of IoT projects having failed. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, Chief IoTologist at Wipro, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology portfolios and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will delve in...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies, has been named co-conference chair of DevOps at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, CTO and founder of Striim, will delve into four enterprise-scale, business-critical case studies where streaming analytics serves as the key to enabling real-time data integration and right-time insights in hybrid cloud, IoT, and fog computing environments. As part of this discussion, he will also present a demo based on its partnership with Fujitsu, highlighting their technologies in a healthcare IoT use-case. The demo showcases the tracking of pati...
Tricky charts and visually deceptive graphs often make a case for the impact IT performance has on business. The debate isn't around the obvious; of course, IT performance metrics like website load time influence business metrics such as conversions and revenue. Rather, this presentation will explore various data analysis concepts to understand how, and how not to, assert such correlations. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Sys...
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, exhibited at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which took place at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, in June 2016.Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere, IT is empowered to take control of their data ce...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the...
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
To manage complex web services with lots of calls to the cloud, many businesses have invested in Application Performance Management (APM) and Network Performance Management (NPM) tools. Together APM and NPM tools are essential aids in improving a business's infrastructure required to support an effective web experience... but they are missing a critical component - Internet visibility.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" ...
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, explained the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is rele...
Hardware virtualization and cloud computing allowed us to increase resource utilization and increase our flexibility to respond to business demand. Docker Containers are the next quantum leap - Are they?! Databases always represented an additional set of challenges unique to running workloads requiring a maximum of I/O, network, CPU resources combined with data locality.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and micro services. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your contain...