Software engineers are interested in novel ways to convert their applications into formats that can run «serverless» on Function-as-a-Service. Many issues have to be considered – partitioning of the application functionality, short-livedness and memory constraints of functions, easy but limited language runtimes or rather difficult container wrappers around microservices. Our virtual guest researcher Leonardo Rebouças de Carvalho, from University of Brasília in Brazil, has recognised the issue and launched a community website faasification.com that contains a lot of tools, methodologies, articles, research insights and events related to shifting software into the world of FaaS. Bookmark that site if you are developing serverless software!
For the past five years, Zurich University of Applied Sciences has hosted the Service Prototyping Lab to investigate new ways to design, prototype, implement and deploy SaaS and related cloud application concepts. We have worked with many companies from all over Switzerland to come up with innovative solutions together. We still continue this way, but we also want to reflect technological change and the evolving requirements of our research and innovation partners as well as our students in education. Therefore, we are working on reflecting this evolution also in naming, and gradually move towards a positioning as leading research partner in Switzerland around the topic of Distributed Application Computing Paradigms.
Note: This information is to be understood under the condition of approval of the DIZH by the Canton Council.
The research efforts «Can virtual reality systems help us to design software as we talk?» and «Smart Cities & Regions Services Enablement» are among the first contributions to the digitalisation initiative of the canton of Zurich. They amplify the know-how on software engineering and data-intensive Internet services bundled at the Institute for Applied Information Technology for the support of commercial applications of the following decade.
Looking into a possible post-cloud world, we see mentions of different computing paradigms, many of them based on decentralised structures to overcome scalability and user control limitations. Among them is blockchain-as-a-service (BCaaS or BaaS), mimicking the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) user experience for both application providers and consumers. In PaaS, providers first sign up and subscribe to the platform, then design and build their applications and deploy them to the platform where it is executing either permanently or upon incoming network requests or other event triggers. Additionally, developers may advertise their apps at technology-specific hubs such as AWS SAR or Helm Hub. Consumers then adhere to the application terms, which might require a sign-up at the provider site, before being able to invoke and make use of the application.
We are announcing the latest release of the open source Cyclops framework, as part of our ongoing work to advance metering and monetization across cloud platforms, bringing improvements and new capabilities:
meaningful logs, now able to identify errors more effectively and
provide more information on generated records
checkpointing, with the ability to roll coin rules back using git
versioning and re-create affected records
In a previous post, we showed how it’s possible to trigger a Knative service when a database update occurs using the DebeziumKafka Connect plug-in connected to Knative; here, we continue this work by describing how we connected a Nextcloud file storage service to Knative, triggering a Knative service/function when a file is uploaded to Nextcloud.
In previous blog posts – here and here – we showed how to set up OpenWhisk and deploy a sample application on the platform. We also provided a comparison between the two open-source serverless platforms OpenWhisk and Knative in this blog post. In progressing this work, we shifted focus slightly to that other critical component of realistic serverless platforms, the services that they integrate with – so-called Backend-as-a-service – which are (arguably) more important. For this reason, in this blog post we look at how to integrate widely used databases with Knative and potentially OpenWhisk in future.
Our initial thoughts were to leverage database trigger mechanisms and write components which would listen to these events and publish them to a Kafka bus. Indeed, we started to write code that targeted PostgreSQL to do just that, but then we came across the Debezium project which essentially solves the same problem, albeit not in the same context, but with a much more mature codebase and support for multiple database systems. It didn’t make sense to reinvent the wheel so the objective then turned into how to best integrate Debezium with Knative.
SPLab was present at EclipseCon’18 France which was held on June 13-14 2018 in Toulouse, home of the Airbus Corporation. The hands-on sessions, keynote talks, the demo booth, the people who attended the 2 -day event made it really worthwhile to attend.