In an increasingly self-aware and knowledge-driven software world, understanding the execution behaviour of an application is mandatory for cost-effective delivery. This applies especially to cloud functions, because many complex applications are composed of those functions. Similar short-lived, event-driven processing models can be found inside databases and message brokers. This means systematic tracing of cloud functions should be conducted so that a large variety of applications benefits from rightsizing memory allocation and associated fair microbilling.
We recently reported on our upcoming presentation on generating static trace profiles for cloud functions. In general, tracing techniques help reporting with high precision how much memory an application requires. But in practice, the memory needs depend on a number of factors that change over time. Similar to how static environment variables have been replaced by dynamic queries to updateable key-value stores to increase dynamics, we should be able to produce dynamic traces that show at least a correlation to certain values within the function, like the number of rows in a table. This research blog post shows one approach to do that.
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!
The International Workshop on Serverless Computing (WoSC) has become an established forum to discuss new serverless technologies, ranging from application development to runtime concerns. Despite FaaS having raised the bar for not being billed for many hours of idle server processes, we are constantly thinking from an application engineering perspective into how the pay-per-use models could become even more fine-grained and fair. Thus, we are happy to announce that an appropriate autotuning approach has been accepted for being presented at WoSC6 in December 2020.
For software development to succeed in Switzerland, that is to justify the relatively high development cost, it is essential to offer unique advantages in terms of timeliness and quality assurance. At Zurich University of Applied Sciences, we are proud to have contributed a number of tools for quality assessment and linting especially for cloudware – among others, the first Docker Compose checker, the first multi-Dockerfile linter, and the first advanced Helm and SAM consistency scans.
As we also teach Python programming to first-year engineering students, we consider it important to encourage the frequent use of linting tools. This blog post introduces such a service, naturally doubling as informal case study on how to deliver SaaS linting functionality without much effort through serverless technologies.
ESOCC 2020 – the 8th European Conference on Service-Oriented and Cloud Computing – was originally scheduled to happen in April on the wonderful isle of Crete. Due to the pandemic circumstances, it will now run from September 28 to 30 as online event. We will highlight some of our recent work in an invited talk on «The Great Puzzle: Cloud Functions, Data, Services, Less Servers and More Insights».
Check out the conference website for more information on the technical programme, workshops and European R&D project presentations, and for pointers on how to participate.
We are delighted to organize the next iteration of International Workshop on Cloud, IoT and Fog Systems (and Security) – CIFS 2020 which will be colocated with UCC and BDCAT conferences to be held online this year.
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.
As we have recently been granted Google Cloud Research Credits for the investigation of Serverless Data Integration, we continue our exploration of open and public data. This HOWTO-style blog post presents the application domain of financial analytics and explains how to run a cloud function to achieve elastically scalable analytics. Although there are no research results to report yet, it raises a couple of interesting challenges that we or other computer scientists should work on in the future.