May 7-10, 2017 Asilomar, California

Compositional Programming Models For the Serverless Cloud

Rodric Rabbah

Since the introduction of serverless computing as a new cloud native programming paradigm almost two years ago by Amazon Web Services, all major cloud vendors have launched products that compete in this space. Serverless computing supports event-driven applications built from stateless event handlers. Event handlers accrue charges as they run, with charges metered at a millisecond granularity. Fine-grained billing, together with a function-based deployment model, encourage developers to decompose solutions into short-running tasks.

This new model of computing is still in its infancy, and we believe it poses interesting new questions regarding the design of appropriate high-level programming models for a cloud-native applications. In this talk, I will identify three competing constraints that are central to the serverless value proposition, and will explain how these influenced the design and implementation of Apache OpenWhisk, which was borne out of our group at IBM Research and now powers the IBM Bluemix serverless platform.