The emerging world of serverless computing could soon see another viable option if the open-source Fission effort that Platform9 is helping to lead is successful.
Serverless computing, also sometimes referred to as event driven programming, is a model of cloud services deployment that doesn't require long lived servers in order to run application functions. It's a model that has been popularized by Amazon Web Services (AWS) Lambda in recent years. IBM is also active in the serverless space, with its Bluemix OpenWhisk tools.
Platform9 first emerged from stealth mode in August 2014, with the promise of helping to make it easier to manage OpenStack based cloud deployments. Platform9 has continued to evolve its management platform and on Jan. 24 officially announced the general availability of its managed Kubernetes service. The managed Kubernetes platform first entered into beta in July 2016.
The evolving open-source Fission effort makes use of Kubernetes to enable serverless capabilities for users.
"AWS Lambda helped to start the serverless movement and it's one of the most popular AWS services today," Madhura Maskasky, co-founder of Platform9, told eWEEK. "The challenge with Lambda is lock-in, as it's not fundamentally a multi-cloud solution."
She added that as an AWS service, Lamda is focused on the AWS cloud ecosystem. In Maskasky's view, developers prefer not to be locked-in.
"Fission is an open-source project that is designed to be the defacto open-source alternative to Lambda," Maskasky said.
Maskasky explained that Fission currently is built fully on Kubernetes. While Platform9 has worked to help make it simpler to use Kubernetes as part of its managed service, the goal with Fission is to make consumption of Kubernetes services even easier.
"Kubernetes presents a steep learning curve for some developers in terms of semantics and services," Maskasky said.
At a high-level, Fission provides an abstraction layer for the underlying Kubernetes micro-services and container infrastructure. In contrast with Lambda, Fission can run anywhere Kubernetes can run, which ranges from a developer's laptop to both private and public cloud deployments. Additionally, since Fission is open-source, Maskasky expects that it will be more extensible that Lambda, for developers to build whatever additional tooling and integrations that might be required.
Currently, the Fission project is being incubated at Platform9 with a public code repository on GitHub. The plan is to grow the project and have it become part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) at some point in the future. The CNCF is the open-source home for Kubernetes and associated cloud efforts.
From a development perspective, Fission today is a command line driven tool, though Maskasky said that work is progressing on building a graphical user interface. Maskasky expects that once Fission is mature it will be offered as part of Platform9's managed Kubernetes service.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.