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Current state of "Serverless"

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Slides from the Disruptors in Tech meetup at Sydney University Business School on 14th March 2017.

The session provided an overview of the Serverless ecosystem along with an introduction to the Serverless Framework.

The session was geared toward aligning attendees on the subject matter prior to live demonstrations of deployment to FaaS platforms providing context for the session provided by Elliott Spira from GorillaStack on best practice when developing Serverless functionality. A few quick mentions were made of new tools and services including StdLib (https://stdlib.com/) and FaunaDB (https://fauna.com/).

Relevant links from the slides:

AWS Summit (Sydney):

A Cloud Guru (Free workshop in Sydney on 4th April 2017):

Global Serverless meetup network:

Serverless Framework:

Clark Youngman website:




Dave Clark on Twitter (@dkcwd):

Link to the video feed from the session (periscope.tv):

Elliott Spira's talk on best practices when creating Serverless functions:

Elliott Spira's memebot project:

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Current state of "Serverless"

  1. 1. Current state of “Serverless” Serverless provider ecosystem, use cases and points of interest March 14th 2017 – Disruptors in Tech Twitter: @dkcwd
  2. 2. Before we get started…
  3. 3. Reminder about this session The slides will be made available after the session and you are more than welcome to share them. Any relevant links will be posted in the description on the SlideShare page. We have people attending with different backgrounds with different levels of experience. You’re more than welcome to ask questions and share knowledge both during and after the session. Let’s get started….
  4. 4. Some announcements…
  5. 5. AWS Summit (Sydney) – next month 5th and 6th April 2017 Hordern Pavilion & Royal Hall of Industries, Sydney - Excellent sessions planned - Make sure you register!
  6. 6. Free serverless workshop – next month 4th April 2017 Cliftons Sydney, 60 Margaret Street, Sydney, 2000 Interested in a hands on workshop? - Make sure you register! Upon arriving you will meet your instructor, and receive a Serverless workbook with step-by-step instructions on how to build a video streaming app.
  7. 7. Quick overview of “Serverless” ecosystem
  8. 8. YAAaaS – Yet Another Acronym as a… You may have been seeing more “as a Service” acronyms including: - FaaS (Function as a Service) - BaaS (Backend as a Service) - MBaaS (Mobile Backend as a Service)
  9. 9. BaaS solutions Backend as a Service BaaS solutions include offerings such as AWS Cognito AWS Cognito is a user management and data synchronization service designed to provide user related backend functionality for an application without the need to reinvent the wheel and/or maintain any servers directly.
  10. 10. FaaS solutions Function as a Service FaaS solutions facilitate the “on demand” execution of custom code in response to specific events. While most Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions are designed to be “always on” and ready to handle requests, FaaS solutions are initialized and shut down on every single request.
  11. 11. Tonight, we’re focused on FaaS FaaS provider platforms enable you to deploy the smallest units of functionality, functions... There’s a good chance that most people here tonight will have heard of AWS Lambda but there are others which we’ll discuss shortly
  12. 12. Who thinks “Serverless” is the right term?
  13. 13. Serverless: There are still servers everywhere Please DO NOT sack your ops team… 8-D And repeat: “Serverless Architecture” is not the answer to every question...
  14. 14. Serverless: There are still servers everywhere People often feel the need to mention, “there are still servers involved”: - Developers write functions - Functions are packaged for deployment - Platform provider executes functions - Limited control over the execution…
  15. 15. No servers and configuration to manage? You may not need to directly maintain servers or containers but there is definitely still work to do in terms of configuration That’s one of the reasons for growth in the number of frameworks which are emerging to assist with deployment to FaaS platforms
  16. 16. Why would my team “go Serverless”? There is potential to reduce your infrastructure spend by avoiding charges for idle servers (including container hosts) and increase the rate at which your team can develop/deploy new features Subject to the usage policy of a given “Function as a Service” provider, there may be significant benefits for you in terms of scalability in addition to the points mentioned above
  17. 17. Common Serverless use cases Some common use cases: - Collecting and processing analytics - Export, Transform, Load (ETL) operations - Image/video processing (e.g. resize/transcode) - Interactive backends (e.g. chatbots and webhooks) - Scheduled function execution (e.g. “Cron as a Service”)
  18. 18. About the FaaS platform providers
  19. 19. Introducing the FaaS platform providers The main providers are: - AWS Lambda - Microsoft Azure Functions - Google Cloud Functions - IBM OpenWhisk
  20. 20. All providers have different offerings Make sure you understand the programming model for the vendor solution you are considering so you can work out your development strategy accordingly For example, thinking about provider interoperability, separating business logic and provider logic
  21. 21. Lambda at the Sydney AWS Summit (2016) At the AWS Summit in Sydney during April of last year, there was a lot of excitement surrounding Serverless programming paradigms using AWS Lambda There was significant focus on examples of image processing and customer enablement
  22. 22. AWS Serverless Computing Manifesto: - Functions are the unit of deployment and scaling - No machines, VMs, or containers visible in the programming model - Permanent storage lives elsewhere - Scales per request; Users cannot over or under provision capacity - Never pay for idle (no cold servers/containers or their costs) - Implicitly fault-tolerant because functions can run anywhere - BYOC - Bring Your Own Code - Metrics and logging are a universal right
  23. 23. Various concerns about adopting Lambda The examples shown at the AWS Summit were compelling however: - adding functions via AWS interface seemed cumbersome - lack of understanding how to deploy functions via CLI - many concerned about “vendor lock-in”
  24. 24. Enter the frameworks…
  25. 25. Tonight, we’re focused on…
  26. 26. Introducing Serverless framework The project exists at: https://github.com/serverless/serverless The first commits to the project were made on April 21st, 2015 Working toward supporting major vendors reducing lock-in fear
  27. 27. Are there example projects? Yes! You can find out more here https://github.com/serverless Note: Elliott Spira created an excellent tutorial on creating a HipChat Connector Check it out here: https://bitbucket.org/gorillastack/serverless-hipchat-connect
  28. 28. Can you show me a reference diagram? Yes! For those building web apps, I’ll show you one for a simple website on the next slide. The “serverless backend” is based on our website https://www.clarkyoungman.com
  29. 29. What is the workflow like?  Vendor configuration before anything else  Initial project setup via CLI  Development  Local testing  Deployment of endpoints and functions via CLI  Rinse & Repeat
  30. 30. Demo time We’ll go through some deployments...
  31. 31. Quick mentions…
  32. 32. “Serverless” things to keep an eye on…  New tools and services are being marketed/released (StdLib)
  33. 33. “Serverless” things to keep an eye on…  New tools and services are being marketed/released (FaunaDB)
  34. 34. Global meetup network  Learn and share with members of the community  If there isn’t one near you, you can find support to start one… https://www.meetup.com/pro/serverless
  35. 35. Enjoy and share what you do… I’m on Twitter: @dkcwd LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/daveclarkprofile