Google, which has had to claw its way back into cloud relevance in the shadows of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, suddenly finds itself playing catchup again, thanks to the rise of serverless computing. Although Google Cloud Platform still trails AWS and Azure by a considerable margin in general cloud revenue, its strengths in AI and container infrastructure (Kubernetes) have given it a credible seat at the cloud table.
Or would, if the world weren’t quickly moving toward a serverless future.
Serverless software architectures have generated a lot of interest. How much interest? Like, 2000 people at a conference breakout session —that level of interest. The photo below shows Datadog devops evangelist Matt Williams delivering a session about Lambda at AWS re:Invent last December. The jam-packed venue was originally designed to house “Phantom of the Opera.”
I’ve been going to tech conferences for 25 years, and I have never been to a breakout that required a mezzanine before. Serverless is catching like wildfire.
While in Israel late last year, I caught up with Shaked Zin and Avi Shulman, co-founders of security company PureSec. PureSec was in a bit of a conundrum. It was doing important work but in a space that was still nascent: serverless computing. As such, it was having a hard time both articulating its value proposition and getting investors to understand and commit to their story.
I found this conundrum interesting. Serverless computing is, after all, pretty high on the hype cycle. Ever since Amazon Web Services (AWS) introduced the notion of serverless via its Lambda offering a few years ago, all vendors have been rushing to commercialize their own serverless offering.
News from the second day of Twilio’s annual developer conference, Signal. While yesterday’s big news focused around end-user functionality (in particular speech recognition and understanding), today’s news is more down in the weeds but no less important for a company at the cutting edge of the developer experience.
You see developers are, by nature, tinkerers and like to experiment with new stuff. Sometimes this is simply professional interest, but often it’s because of an almost pathological desire to do things effectively, efficiently and elegantly. A case in point is the current developer move towards serverless technologies. First commercialized by Amazon Web Services (AWS) with its Lambda product, but now matched by offerings from the other cloud vendors, serverless approaches mean that developers don’t need to set up servers to run their applications, they can simply rely on setting triggers, logical steps and the cloud vendor takes over the rest.
Nearly every major cloud now offers a serverless computing option: AWS Lambda, Azure Functions, Google Cloud Functions, and IBM Bluemix OpenWhisk, to name a few. APIs are a common use case for serverless, but few people want to build APIs on a system that doesn’t provide higher-order management functions for them.
Alpha Vertex is a year-old New York City startup with an ambitious agenda: It wants to create a graph database of global financial knowledge.
CTO Michael Bishop says the goal is to use predictive modeling to help companies judge risk and investors get insight on what drives the market. To do so has required the company to build a massive technical back-end that uses some hottest emerging technologies. Two of the most important are Google’s cloud-based machine learning algorithms and IBM’s OpenWhisk, a serverless or Function-as-a-Service platform.
It’s called serverless computing, introduced with services such as AWS Lambda and now Microsoft’s Azure Functions. These systems manage the starting and stopping of machines for you. They’re not really serverless, but the servers aren’t yours to buy or maintain. You’re billed as an abstract measure of the resources you used, not for the runtime of those servers.