Last December I travelled to Las Vegas for the Workshop on Serverless Computing, which was held in conjunction with Middleware 2017 to present the initial vision paper of the serverless activity within the SPEC RG CLOUD.
Besides having the opportunity to get feedback on our work, it was an genuinely interesting experience meeting other researchers in the field. Listening to the other presentations in both the workshop and the main conference, my main observation was that the research of distributed systems in its entirety is moving from functional to non-functional aspects.
Abstract - Cloud computing enables an entire ecosystem of developing, composing, and providing IT services. An emerging class of cloud-based software architectures, serverless, focuses on providing software architects the ability to execute arbitrary functions with small overhead in server management, as Function-as-a-service (FaaS). However useful, serverless and FaaS suffer from a community problem that faces every emerging technology, which has indeed also hampered cloud computing a decade ago: lack of clear terminology, and scattered vision about the field. In this work, we address this community problem. We clarify the term serverless, by reducing it to cloud functions as programming units, and a model of executing simple and complex (e.g., workflows of) functions with operations managed primarily by the cloud provider. We propose a research vision, where 4 key directions (perspectives) present 17 technical opportunities and challenges.
Explaining the goal and composition of the group at WoSC’17. Credits: @Jorge_Romeo