Fission: Serverless on Kubernetes with Soam Vasani

Serverless computing abstracts away the idea of a server node. Serverless lets programmers treat compute resources as high-level, reliable APIs, rather than unreliable, low-level compute nodes that might fail.

Serverless dramatically improves the efficiency of programmers. Instead of thinking of a database as a set of servers that need to be sharded and replicated, the programmer can think of a database as a place to read and write data. Instead of modeling an application as a large monolith running on an application server in a container or a VM, the programmer can think of their application as a decoupled set of functions.

Serverless computing is a natural evolution of software engineering in a world with cloud providers. The first version of FaaS came out of AWS with their Lambda service, which allows users to run functions in the cloud. Those functions are scheduled onto a physical server somewhere in an Amazon data center. They are executed, and they return the result.

With AWS Lambda, programmers got a new abstraction to model their applications with. But it requires the use of a closed-source API. Lambda is not open source, and this makes some developers reluctant to integrate with it too tightly.

Fission is an open source framework for serverless functions built on Kubernetes. Fission allows developers to deploy functions-as-a-service without being locked in to any specific cloud provider.

Soam Vasani is the creator of Fission and an engineer at Platform9. In a previous episode, Soam talked about the architecture for Fission and the design choices for solving the cold start and scheduling problems.

Soam joins the show today to discuss how serverless applications have evolved since last spoke more than a year ago. He also talks about how Fission itself has evolved, and the features that an open source serverless platform needs to have in order to compete with a fully developed cloud provider. Full disclosure: Platform9 is a sponsor of Software Engineering Daily.

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