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Serverless Computing: Ready for Prime Time | @CloudExpo #AI #DX #Serverless #DigitalTransformation

The major attraction of serverless computing is cost

Serverless Computing: Ready for Prime Time

The cloud ushered in a fundamental change in the way applications are deployed. Instead of worrying about how much dedicated hardware to order for your data center, you simply spin up as many servers as you need to do the job, then decommission them once the job is done. Yet, you still have to plan how many servers you will need at each stage of processing; you still have to remember to decommission them when done; and you pay for the entire virtual machine during the time you use it even though the server may be idle for most of that time.

The next stage in the evolution of the cloud is serverless computing. After all, the servers you order in the cloud are only a means to an end - they provide the plumbing needed to run your code in response to various events. In the serverless computing paradigm, you supply the set of events and the code to run when each event occurs. The cloud takes care of all the rest: identifying when an event has occurred and, in response to that event, deploying the relevant code to a server, running the code, and then decommissioning the server. The cloud also provides elasticity, i.e., it will automatically run as many instances of your code as needed to handle the workload.

Amazon was the first cloud provider to roll out serverless computing in 2014 with its Lambda service. AWS Lambda can automatically run code in response to multiple events, such as database table updates, modification of Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) objects, and event notifications. Since then, Google Cloud Platform has rolled out Google Cloud Functions, IBM has released an Open Source serverless platform called OpenWhisk, and Microsoft Azure provides its own take on serverless computing called Azure Functions. Today, support for serverless computing is ubiquitous on all major cloud platforms, which indicates how popular this paradigm has become.

The major attraction of serverless computing is cost. Suppose you have developed a cloud-based web portal that occasionally receives requests. For each request, the portal does a bit of processing and returns a response. Before serverless computing, this portal would require a dedicated server on the cloud, ready and waiting to receive requests 24-7, even though it actually processes requests for only a few minutes each day. If, alternatively, you design this portal as a serverless application, where the event is a new request and the corresponding code processes the request, then you only pay for the few moments per day when requests arrive, as opposed to paying for a dedicated server. It's no wonder then that many developers report a tenfold drop in their AWS bill by re-architecting their applications to serverless programming.

Before you jump on the bandwagon, though, be aware of the limitations of serverless programming:

  • High latency: If you use a dedicated cloud server, your code is already up and running when an event arrives, so the event can be processed within milliseconds. If you use serverless computing, then it can take several hundred milliseconds from the time the event occurs until it is processed. You must wait until the cloud platform allocates a server to your code, deploys the code, and starts the runtime environment needed to run the code (e.g., a Java Virtual Machine). This makes serverless computing a poor choice for applications that require quick single digit millisecond response to events.
  • Resource limits: Each cloud platform places limits on the server size available to run a serverless function, as well as on the total execution time of the code. For example, Amazon Lambda limits a serverless function to 1.5 GB of memory and no more than five minutes of execution time. This makes serverless programming a poor choice for applications that are memory intensive or require a long time to complete.
  • Development challenges: In a traditional procedural or object-oriented software architecture, a program consists of code that executes serially. A serverless program, on the other hand, consists of a set of code fragments whose execution order is determined entirely by the order in which events occur. This presents a challenge to the developer, because many of these events (e.g., a change to an Amazon S3 object) can only be generated in the cloud - there are currently no good tools to emulate cloud events in a local development environment. This can reduce developer productivity, because coding, especially at the initial stages, is far easier in the local desktop environment than in the cloud.
  • Testing challenges: It's not enough to individually test the code associated with each event. To implement a real-world use case that accomplishes useful work, you have to simulate the flow of events in the correct order as well as all other feasible orders. This requires a new set of test tools that is still evolving.

Serverless computing has matured since it was first introduced by Amazon in 2014, and today is used in production by many enterprises. It is an excellent choice for applications where:

  • The flow of the application can be expressed as responses to a series of events.
  • Events occur sporadically. If your application is going to be constantly bombarded with events, it will be cheaper to rent an entire dedicated server rather than paying per event.
  • Event processing is not resource intensive, e.g., does not require a lot of time or memory.
  • High latency (having to wait several seconds before an event is processed) is acceptable.

The bottom line: For the right use case, serverless computing is an excellent choice that is ready for prime time and can provide significant cost savings.

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo, October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.

Track 1. Enterprise Cloud | Cloud-Native
Track 2.
Big Data | Analytics
Track 3. Internet of Things | IIoT | Smart Cities

Track 4. DevOps | Digital Transformation (DX)

Track 5. APIs | Cloud Security | Mobility

Track 6.
AI | ML | DL | Cognitive
Track 7.
Containers | Microservices | Serverless
Track 8. FinTech | InsurTech | Token Economy

Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2017 Silicon Valley
(October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA)

Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2018 New York 
(June 12-14, 2018, Javits Center, Manhattan)

Download Show Prospectus ▸ Here

Every Global 2000 enterprise in the world is now integrating cloud computing in some form into its IT development and operations. Midsize and small businesses are also migrating to the cloud in increasing numbers.  

Companies are each developing their unique mix of cloud technologies and services, forming multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architectures and deployments across all major industries. Cloud-driven thinking has become the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, and the public sector.

Cloud Expo is the single show where technology buyers and vendors can meet to experience and discus cloud computing and all that it entails. Sponsors of Cloud Expo will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers.
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
  • Breakout Session Priority scheduling for Sponsors that have been guaranteed a 35-minute technical session
  • Online advertising in SYS-CON's i-Technology Publications
  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage.
  • Unprecedented PR Coverage: Editorial Coverage on Cloud Computing Journal.
  • Tweetup to over 75,000 plus followers
  • Press releases sent on major wire services to over 500 industry analysts.

For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities, contact Carmen Gonzalez by email at events (at) sys-con.com, or by phone 201 802-3021.

The World's Largest "Cloud Digital Transformation" Event

@CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo 2017 Silicon Valley
(Oct. 31 - Nov. 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA)

@CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo 2018 New York 
(June 12-14, 2018, Javits Center, Manhattan)

Full Conference Registration Gold Pass and Exhibit Hall ▸ Here

Register For @CloudExpo ▸ Here via EventBrite

Register For @ThingsExpo ▸ Here via EventBrite

Register For @DevOpsSummit ▸ Here via EventBrite

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsors of Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
  • Breakout Session Priority scheduling for Sponsors that have been guaranteed a 35 minute technical session
  • Online targeted advertising in SYS-CON's i-Technology Publications
  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage
  • Unprecedented Marketing Coverage: Editorial Coverage on ITweetup to over 100,000 plus followers, press releases sent on major wire services to over 500 industry analysts

For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities, contact Carmen Gonzalez (@GonzalezCarmen) today by email at events (at) sys-con.com, or by phone 201 802-3021.

Secrets of Sponsors and Exhibitors ▸ Here
Secrets of Cloud Expo Speakers ▸ Here

All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo@ThingsExpo, October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-4, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.

Delegates to Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo will be able to attend 8 simultaneous, information-packed education tracks.

There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content.

Join Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, for three days of intense Enterprise Cloud and 'Digital Transformation' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indispensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and (IIoT) Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) Digital Transformation in Vertical Markets.

Financial Technology - or FinTech - Is Now Part of the @CloudExpo Program!

Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 21st Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech, which will incorporate machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and blockchain into one track.

Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expensive intermediate processes from their businesses.

FinTech brings efficiency as well as the ability to deliver new services and a much improved customer experience throughout the global financial services industry. FinTech is a natural fit with cloud computing, as new services are quickly developed, deployed, and scaled on public, private, and hybrid clouds.

More than US$20 billion in venture capital is being invested in FinTech this year. @CloudExpo is pleased to bring you the latest FinTech developments as an integral part of our program, starting at the 21st International Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017 in Silicon Valley, and June 12-14, 2018, in New York City.

@CloudExpo is accepting submissions for this new track, so please visit www.CloudComputingExpo.com for the latest information.

Speaking Opportunities

The upcoming 21st International @CloudExpo@ThingsExpo, October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY announces that its Call For Papers for speaking opportunities is open.

Submit your speaking proposal today! ▸ Here

About SYS-CON Media & Events
SYS-CON Media (www.sys-con.com) has since 1994 been connecting technology companies and customers through a comprehensive content stream - featuring over forty focused subject areas, from Cloud Computing to Web Security - interwoven with market-leading full-scale conferences produced by SYS-CON Events. The company's internationally recognized brands include among others Cloud Expo® (@CloudExpo), Big Data Expo® (@BigDataExpo), DevOps Summit (@DevOpsSummit), @ThingsExpo® (@ThingsExpo), Containers Expo (@ContainersExpo) and Microservices Expo (@MicroservicesE).

Cloud Expo®, Big Data Expo® and @ThingsExpo® are registered trademarks of Cloud Expo, Inc., a SYS-CON Events company.

More Stories By Moshe Kranc

Moshe Kranc is Chief Technology Officer at Ness Digital Engineering. He has extensive experience in leading adoption of bleeding-edge technologies, having worked for large companies as well as entrepreneurial start-ups. He previously headed the Big Data Centre of Excellence at Barclays’ Israel Development Centre (IDEC).

Moshe has worked in the high-tech industry for over 30 years in the United States and Israel. He was part of the Emmy award-winning team that designed the scrambling system for DIRECTV, and he holds 6 patents in areas related to pay television, computer security and text mining. He has led R&D teams at companies such as Zoomix (purchased by Microsoft) and NDS (purchased by Cisco). He is a graduate of Brandeis University and earned graduate degrees from both the University of California at Berkeley and Boston University.

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