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Google Challenges AWS Lambda with Cloud Functions

11 Feb 2016 9:48am, by

In 2014, Amazon Web Services’ launched the Lambda stateless computing service, with the goal of providing a backbone for developers to create run anonymous functions in a variety of scripting languages, in the cloud. For those creating event-driven services, AWS presented an opportunity for developers to upload their code and allow Lambda to run it when triggered by some external event, such as an API call.

Now Google is getting into the game as well. Wednesday, the company launched Google Cloud Functions, which offers a similar set of functionality.

“Google Cloud Functions is a lightweight, event-based, asynchronous compute solution that allows you to create small, single-purpose functions that respond to cloud events without the need to manage a server or a runtime environment,” The home page for Google Cloud Functions reads.

Google Cloud Functions adds a level of automation that allows developers to spend less time worrying about many issues that can happen when managing servers. Going stateless allows applications a layer of abstraction between data and the stack’s computing level though the term is a bit of a misnomer. ‘Stateless’ computing isn’t really stateless at all.

“In the end, there is always state, but to scale application layers, we use design tricks to make users believe that there is no state. Amongst other things, this allows servers to scale-out, fail, go up and down and be moved to different hardware transparently,” said Al Hilwa, program director of software development research at IDC, in an e-mail.

Google Cloud Functions offers developers the ability to program applications in Node.js which trigger when single events occur. This can be as simple as converting media assets to .PNG files, to verifying documents that have been sent or received when scanned.

Google Cloud Alpha Functions

Google Cloud Alpha Functions

Amazon AWS has seen hundreds of services created for Lambda since its launch. With the introduction of Google Cloud Functions, it will be interesting to see the variety of APIs and services scripted by the community for triggering events in Google Cloud Functions.

“In the recent past, serverless computing has gained industry attention mainly due to its simplicity and ‘NoOps’ model. Developers follow the fire-and-forget paradigm where they upload individual code snippets that are hooked to a variety of events at runtime,” noted consultant Janakiram MSV in Forbes. “This model offers a low-touch, no-friction deployment mechanism without any administrative overhead.”

The service responds to calls from services running on Google Container Engine or orchestrated on Kubernetes. For those using the Google product suite for their development team’s communication, Cloud Functions also offers developers the ability to create hooks between functions to trigger in Gmail and other Google offerings.

AWS Lambda Serverless Microservice Architecture

AWS Lambda Serverless Microservice Architecture

If you would like to jump into testing out Google Cloud Functions while it’s in Alpha, you’re in luck. Those interested in signing up can fill out a short form in hopes of getting access.

Feature Image via Pixabay


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