Function-as-a-service is more than just a buzzword, it’s an evolution of application development and deployment that started with virtualization over a decade ago.
Back in the 90’s we used to essentially build applications and run them on hardware. One application per machine. It was inefficient and expensive. VMware changed this with virtualization. Users could package an application and run them in VM (virtual machines). However, you were still running the entire copy of the guest operating system to have isolation between the different applications.
Containers got rid of all that duplication of the guest OS. It provided the process-level isolation. It’s more lightweight and agile. Serverless or “Function-as-a-Service” (FaaS) is even more exciting because you’re now able to take code functions and run them at the granular level. All of the underlying machinery of having containers being spun up using communities is hidden behind the scene. That’s why “FaaS” is becoming so popular.
How popular is it? During the recent KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2017, Platform9 conducted a survey at its booth. In that survey, FaaS came up as the third most popular use case for Kubernetes.
“It’s a real area of interest not just from solution providers like us who are building solutions in the space,” said Sirish Raghuram, co-founder and CEO of Platform9. “People are interested in using functions as a service as a way to develop applications faster and get all the benefits of cloud-native without as much complexity in the plumbing.”
FaaS offers a cost-effectiveness, through Amazon Lambda and equivalent products offered by Google and Microsoft. But the real use cases, according to Raghuram, are: 1) building and shipping applications using cloud-native much faster; 2) Edge computing and the fact that functions as service can be more efficient to provide a seamless experience across edge devices; and 3) As a way to learn and come up to speed with cloud technologies like Kubernetes a lot faster than you would otherwise.
Raghuram dug into all these three use cases in this interview for this latest edition of The New Stack Makers podcast.
In This Edition:
0:56: What is “Functions as a Service?’”
2:43 What are the use cases where people see Functions as a Service as the ideal solution?
5:43: Edge computing and IoT devices
8:25: How much are functions as.a service being deployed and tested in production?
8:58: What role does Kubernetes play?
10:35: How are the traditional players catching up to the new ways of computing?