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Serverless in Practice

Understanding how serverless FaaS platforms work is challenging because the leading products are either partially or entirely proprietary. Early efforts to innovate on FaaS devoted significant effort to understanding how FaaS platforms might be implemented [1,2]. More recent work by Wang et al. [3] has thoroughly analyzed the major FaaS platforms, documenting their isolation mechanisms, elasticity, coldstart latencies, and container recycling policies. Lee et al. [4] provide another evaluation of FaaS providers.

Other reports and analyses of real-world experiences are valuable as well. Shahrad et al. [5] describe the production workload of Azure Functions as well as policy optimizations that improve efficiency and quality of service. The Wonderless Dataset [6] contains open source serverless applications extracted from GitHub. Eismann et al. [7] review various serverless applications and attempt to explain why and when they are successful. Mohanty et al. [8] evaluate open source serverless computing frameworks.

  • [1]Eric Jonas, Qifan Pu, Shivaram Venkataraman, Ion Stoica, and Benjamin Recht. 2017. Occupy the Cloud: Distributed Computing for the 99%. In Proceedings of the 2017 Symposium on Cloud Computing, ACM, 445–451.
  • [2]Scott Hendrickson, Stephen Sturdevant, Tyler Harter, Venkateshwaran Venkataramani, Andrea C. Arpaci-Dusseau, and Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau. 2016. Serverless Computation With OpenLambda. 8th USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Cloud Computing (HotCloud 16) (2016).
  • [3]Liang Wang, Mengyuan Li, Yinqian Zhang, Thomas Ristenpart, and Michael Swift. 2018. Peeking Behind the Curtains of Serverless Platforms. In 2018 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX ATC 18), 133–146.
  • [4]Hyungro Lee, Kumar Satyam, and Geoffrey Fox. 2018. Evaluation of Production Serverless Computing Environments. In 2018 IEEE 11th International Conference on Cloud Computing (CLOUD), IEEE, 442–450.
  • [5]Mohammad Shahrad, Rodrigo Fonseca, Íñigo Goiri, Gohar Chaudhry, Paul Batum, Jason Cooke, Eduardo Laureano, Colby Tresness, Mark Russinovich, and Ricardo Bianchini. 2020. Serverless in the Wild: Characterizing and Optimizing the Serverless Workload at a Large Cloud Provider. In 2020 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX 20), 205–218.
  • [6]Nafise Eskandani and Guido Salvaneschi. 2021. The Wonderless Dataset for Serverless Computing. In 2021 IEEE/ACM 18th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR), IEEE, 565–569.
  • [7]Simon Eismann, Joel Scheuner, Erwin Van Eyk, Maximilian Schwinger, Johannes Grohmann, Nikolas Herbst, Cristina Abad, and Alexandru Iosup. 2021. The State of Serverless Applications: Collection, Characterization, and Community Consensus. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering (2021).
  • [8]Sunil Kumar Mohanty, Gopika Premsankar, Mario Di Francesco, and others. 2018. An Evaluation of Open Source Serverless Computing Frameworks. In CloudCom, 115–120.