From September 2 to 4, 2019, Tampere University hosted the INFORTE.fi-supported summer school on Software Evolution: From Monolithic to Cloud-Native. The Service Prototyping Lab at Zurich University of Applied Sciences contributed with five lectures (and one coincidental serverless meetup talk) to increase theoretic knowledge and practical skills of Finnish doctoral students and developers on microservices and software engineering for the cloud. All presentations are available online but as usual the slides do not capture discussions and industry relevance, so read on to get to know more about this.
The Service Prototyping Lab will offer three in-depth presentations and hands-on sessions on several of its research topics and recent results in September and October. We hope to demonstrate valuable work and get feedback for our future research.
FI, September 2-4, 2019: «Summer School on Software Evolution: From Monolithic to Cloud-Native» @ Inforte Tampere – More information
CH, September 10, 2019: «Datengestützte Qualitätsanalyse von Microservice-Artefakten in der Softwareentwicklung» @ CH Open Workshop Days Rapperswil (in German with co-instructor support in English) – More information
DE, October 25, 2015: «CI/CD-integrated quality assessment of microservice implementation artefacts» @ Software QS-Tag Frankfurt – More information
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In two previous blog posts – here and here – we discussed our experience with deploying OpenWhisk on Kubernetes on OpenStack. As applied researchers at the Service Prototyping Lab, we are investigating potential use cases for such setups and for FaaS-based applications in general. In this blog post, we will therefore describe how we built a sample MQTT-based application that shows OpenWhisk in action for sensor data processing for future Internet of Things and smart dust scenarios.
The basic idea of the application is that it consumes data from an MQTT feed, stores it in a database and provides a means to access the database via a web UI. The architecture of the application is shown in the figure below. The application is based on this blog post.