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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.

About 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.

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HOUSE

Cisco

FALLOWS
Kaazing

THYKATTIL
TimeWarner

LEIDUCK
SAP

LYNN
HP

WAGSTAFF
BSQUARE

POLLACK
AOL

KAMARAJU
Vormetric

BARRY
Catbird

MENDEN-
HALL

SUPERNAP

SHAN
KEANE

PLESE
Verizon

BARNUM
Voxox

TURNER
Cloudian

CALDERON
Advanced Systems

AGARWAL
SOA Software

LEE
Quantum

OBEROI
Concurrent, Inc.

HATEM
Verizon

GALEY
Autodesk

CAUTHRON
NIMBOXX

BARSOUM
IBM

GORDON
1Plug

LEWIS
Verizon

YEO
OrionVM

NAKAGAWA
Transparent Cloud Computing

SHIBATA
Transparent Cloud Computing

NATH
GE

GOKCEN
GE

STOICA
Databricks

TANKEL
Pivotal Software


Testimonials
This week I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote at Cloud Expo New York. It was amazing to be back in the great city of New York with thousands of cloud enthusiasts eager to learn about the next step on their journey to embracing a cloud-first worldl."
@SteveMar_Msft
General Manager of Window Azure
 
How does Cloud Expo do it every year? Another INCREDIBLE show - our heads are spinning - so fun and informative."
@SOASoftwareInc
 
Thank you @ThingsExpo for such a great event. All of the people we met over the past three days makes us confident IoT has a bright future."
Yasser Khan
CEO of @Cnnct2me
 
One of the best conferences we have attended in a while. Great job, Cloud Expo team! Keep it going."

@Peak_Ten


Who Should Attend?
Senior Technologists including CIOs, CTOs & Vps of Technology, Chief Systems Engineers, IT Directors and Managers, Network and Storage Managers, Enterprise Architects, Communications and Networking Specialists, Directors of Infrastructure.

Business Executives including CEOs, CMOs, & CIOs , Presidents & SVPs, Directors of Business Development , Directors of IT Operations, Product and Purchasing Managers, IT Managers.

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@CloudExpo Blogs
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
The need for greater agility and scalability necessitated the digital transformation in the form of following equation: monolithic to microservices to serverless architecture (FaaS). To keep up with the cut-throat competition, the organisations need to update their technology stack to make software development their differentiating factor. Thus microservices architecture emerged as a potential method to provide development teams with greater flexibility and other advantages, such as the ability to deliver applications at warp speed using infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a ...
ChatOps is an emerging topic that has led to the wide availability of integrations between group chat and various other tools/platforms. Currently, HipChat is an extremely powerful collaboration platform due to the various ChatOps integrations that are available. However, DevOps automation can involve orchestration and complex workflows. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Himanshu Chhetri, CTO at Addteq, will cover practical examples and use cases such as self-provisioning infrastructure/applications, self-remediation workflows, integrating monitoring and complimenting integra...
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 settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management c...
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.
For DevOps teams, the concepts behind service-oriented architecture (SOA) are nothing new. A style of software design initially made popular in the 1990s, SOA was an alternative to a monolithic application; essentially a collection of coarse-grained components that communicated with each other. Communication would involve either simple data passing or two or more services coordinating some activity. SOA served as a valid approach to solving many architectural problems faced by businesses, as applications could be developed by more teams working in parallel and more productively by reusing orig...
It has never been a better time to be a developer! Thanks to cloud computing, deploying our applications is much easier than it used to be. How we deploy our apps continues to evolve thanks to cloud hosting, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and now Function-as-a-Service. FaaS is the concept of serverless computing via serverless architectures. Software developers can leverage this to deploy an individual "function", action, or piece of business logic. They are expected to start within milliseconds and process individual requests and then the process ends.
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 Architect, explored how storage and software-defined solutions from IBM have evolved for the road ahead. Lea...
Some journey to cloud on a mission, others, a deadline. Change management is useful when migrating to public, private or hybrid cloud environments in either case. For most, stakeholder engagement peaks during the planning and post migration phases of a project. Legacy engagements are fairly direct: projects follow a linear progression of activities (the “waterfall” approach) – change managers and application coders work from the same functional and technical requirements. Enablement and development mirror one another, progressing from proof-of-concept planning to final product delivery. Exce...
Gone are the days when application development was the daunting task of the highly skilled developers backed with strong IT skills, low code application development has democratized app development and empowered a new generation of citizen developers. There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday priorities of the business world. However, with the passage of time, this scenario is much more democr...
The use of containers by developers -- and now increasingly IT operators -- has grown from infatuation to deep and abiding love. But as with any long-term affair, the honeymoon soon leads to needing to live well together ... and maybe even getting some relationship help along the way. And so it goes with container orchestration and automation solutions, which are rapidly emerging as the means to maintain the bliss between rapid container adoption and broad container use among multiple cloud hosts. This BriefingsDirect cloud services maturity discussion focuses on new ways to gain container orc...
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across business networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost as well as advance trade. Are you curious about how Blockchain is built for business? In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, discussed the basics of Blockchain, previewed the Blockchain Reference Architecture, and introduced the mechanics o...
Blockchain. A day doesn’t seem to go by without seeing articles and discussions about the technology. According to PwC executive Seamus Cushley, approximately $1.4B has been invested in blockchain just last year. In Gartner’s recent hype cycle for emerging technologies, blockchain is approaching the peak. It is considered by Gartner as one of the ‘Key platform-enabling technologies to track.’ While there is a lot of ‘hype vs reality’ discussions going on, there is no arguing that blockchain is being taken very seriously across industries and cannot be ignored.
Blockchain offers impeccable security with its cryptography-based decentralized system as well as the plethora of possible uses retailers could exploit in the near future. In a world of increasing cyberattacks, internet fraud and online hacking, blockchain comes as a breath of fresh air. With its encrypted data and decentralized network system, it's a thorn in every hacker's side. Generally being associated with the finance sector, blockchain is now taking retail by storm. It's on a course that will change the retail industry as we know it. But how exactly is it going to achieve such a feat?
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.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Bitcoins are a digital cryptocurrency and have been around since 2009. As a substitute for legal tender, they are becoming the rage for investors and others but because there is no government agency auditing or performing regulatory oversights, you wonder if it is the perfect breeding ground for electronic nano crime. Since the introduction of the Bitcoin, some competitors have emerged and the whole segment of cryptocurrencies are defined as Altcoins. Altcoins include Dogecoin, Ethereum Feathercoin, Litecoin, Novacoin, Peercoin, and Zetacoin. Some of these cryptocurrencies are considered impro...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the public cloud best suits your organization, and what the future holds for operations and infrastructur...
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 looking at some significant engineering investment. On-demand, serverless computing enables deve...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration and discussed ways to control cloud costs.