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Cyclops 3.1.0 is here!

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:

  • Improved error-handling
  • More meaningful logs, now able to identify errors more effectively and provide more information on generated records
  • Rule checkpointing, with the ability to roll coin rules back using git versioning and re-create affected records
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Serverless plumbing: Connecting a Nextcloud file store to Knative

In a previous post, we showed how it’s possible to trigger a Knative service when a database update occurs using the Debezium Kafka 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.

Serverless Platform with Database and Filestore integration
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Evaluation of AWS “Private Cloud” options for serverless computing

While hybrid, multi- and cross-cloud applications are on the rise, even for scenarios in which purely public cloud deployments are planned, having an equivalent private cloud stack available is useful in many ways. With the relative portability of popular open source cloud stacks, this is rather trivial to accomplish. For many large cloud providers, there are commercial solutions like Microsoft’s Azure Stack, IBM’s Cloud Private, Oracle’s Cloud Native Framework, Google’s Anthos (née CSP), Alibaba’s Apsara Stack and Amazon’s AWS Outposts (as well as Greengrass for Lambda and other specialised offers). Yet sometimes, these are not an option for technical or business reasons. In this blog post, alternative options are discussed.

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AWS Summit Madrid 2019

The past May 7th one of the multiple AWS Summit of this 2019 was held at IFEMA in Madrid and, of course, we were there to scout for important technological trends which may see adopters in need of research!

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Insights into AWS SAR

The Serverless Application Repository by Amazon Web Services (AWS SAR) is, in simplified terms, a marketplace for Lambda functions. You can speed up application development by building on the functions (or function compositions) provided by it, and you can share your own functions with other cloud application developers. AWS SAR was launched over a year ago. In the Service Prototyping Lab at Zurich University of Applied Sciences, we are investigating better ways of building applications for cloud and post-cloud environments. Consequently, we did a full year observation of AWS SAR to find out what’s in it and what’s going on. Read on for some interesting excerpts and findings and for accessing the study document.

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Serverless Plumbing: Streaming MySQL Events to Knative Services

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.

Figure 1: Architecture diagram
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The 5th Year of Serverless Computing – Research Coverage

The first four “wild” years of serverless computing, starting with simple Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) launches in 2014, are over, and we are in the fifth year now. All major cloud companies offer FaaS, corresponding Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS), and related “serverless” services such as frameworks for cloud function-based data processing at the edge or in constrained environments. Researchers from universities, research institutes and research divisions in companies have covered this development, and proposed improved systems and frameworks, since 2016 – trailing two years behind industry initially, but with promising designs and prototypes which may give the necessary impetus for a next-generation serverless computing paradigm. We have surveyed 130+ research papers and announce the Serverless Research Output website which makes the results accessible.

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Openshifter: Migrating Applications Between Openshift Instances

Migrating an application from one cloud to another is a challenging activity and one must be mindful of both potential incompatibility and data loss when migrating. It is also, however, often necessary, so a proper way to automate the process and ensure a working deployment on the other end is certain to be a handy tool to an administrator. Since we have been working with multi and cross cloud environments and application portability (see paper and blog), we present a tool to automate this process for Openshift.

As far as use cases for migration go, the easiest example to visualize is moving an application from the development environment to production. Minishift, the single node local development version of Openshift is a great way to develop and test a new application, isolated from the risks and expenses of exposing it to the outside world. But at some point, this application will need to be recreated on a production Openshift instance and while doing this ‘traditionally’ is easy for small applications, it can become cumbersome for larger cases, especially if parts of it were configured using the graphical dashboard.

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SPLab at Serverless Days 2019 Zürich

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to attend the excellent ServerlessDays Zurich event which brought together folks interested in serverless technologies in Zurich. It was an all day event with 66 folks in attendance.

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Open Source serverless technology choices: OpenWhisk or Knative

With interest in serverless computing increasing rapidly, the question of which technology solutions will win is receiving much interest. Although there is significant industrial activity relating to serverless – driven primarily by the AWS Lambda ecosystem – there is a clear need for solutions which are not premised on lock-in to a single provider and which can work across clouds. OpenWhisk and Knative are two technologies which focus on this space – here we consider the relative positioning of these technologies based on our experience working with them.

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