UPDATED 20:52 EDT / FEBRUARY 21 2018


As ‘serverless’ computing takes off, Amazon opens up cloud app repository

Following a speedy beta testing phase, Amazon Web Services Inc. said today that its AWS Serverless Application Repository for deploying serverless applications and components is now generally available.

Serverless computing is a cloud computing execution model in which the cloud provider automatically manages the allocation of machine resources. The main promise of serverless computing is that developers don’t need to worry about the underlying hardware on which the applications they build runs, making their lives much easier.

With serverless computing, cloud providers such as Amazon manage the hardware instead, allowing developers to focus on writing commands around events – for example if a user uploads a photo – that issue functions or instructions to follow them. Serverless computing has other advantages too, such as enabling users to pay cloud providers by the second rather than by the hour, thereby saving money.

The AWS Serverless Application Repository offers the easiest way for users to discover, configure and deploy serverless apps and their components on the AWS cloud, Jeff Barr, the company’s chief evangelist, said in a blog post. Amazon’s enterprise customers, partners and independent developers also can share serverless creations, he added. The repository can now be accessed via the AWS Lambda console.

Consumers can use the repository to tap into Amazon’s growing ecosystem of serverless apps and components, in order to complement projects that use technologies such as machine learning, image processing, the “internet of things” and other work. These apps and components can be consumed “as is” or they can be adapted to suit individual user’s purposes, Barr explained. As for publishers, the AWS Serverless Application Repository provides a venue for them to host their serverless apps and components.

Amazon said AWS Serverless Application Repository is available in its US East (Ohio), US East (N. Virginia), US West (N. California), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Asia Pacific (Seoul), Asia Pacific (Mumbai), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Canada (Central), EU (Frankfurt), EU (Ireland), EU (London), and South America (São Paulo) regions.

The launch of AWS Serverless Application Repository is yet another validation of the growing serverless technology market in general. Public cloud providers have rushed to accommodate developers who are interested in the model in the past year. For instance, Amazon in November announced Aurora Serverless, which gives users an option to create database instances only when they’re needed, which can be scaled up or down according to demand. Not to be left behind, Microsoft Corp. recently launched its Azure Event Grid service, which provides developers with easy way to manage serverless computing functions.

“Serverless is a fast growing infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service category and it needs marketplaces,” said Holger Mueller, principal analyst and vice president of Constellation Research Inc. “Whether or not these have to be separate from the existing marketplaces remains to be seen. AWS has certainly made its decision with the repository, and we will see how the rest of the IaaS vendors will help developers go to market with their serverless applications.”

Industry bodies have also latched onto the movement. Just last week, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which heads the development of important open-source projects such as the Kubernetes container orchestrator software, said it’s working to encourage interoperability around serverless computing. “Serverless is the natural evolution of cloud-native computing,” said Chris Aniszczyk, chief operating officer at the CNCF.

Analysts are bullish on the serverless computing market, too. A recent report from Research and Markets predicted a new industry segment called the “function as a service” will emerge out of the concept, and will be worth $7.72 billion a year by 2021.

Photo: Robert Hof/SiliconANGLE

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