Massivizing Serverless Computing: The Science, Design, and Engineering of Serverless Ecosystems

U. Waterloo Serverless Roundtable 2022 / Sep 19, 2022

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Wherever we turn, our society is digital. Science and engineering, decision-making and business-critical operations, and online education and gaming, often transparently, on the effective inter-operation of efficient computer systems into large ecosystems, managed largely without developer and even client input. However successful until now, we cannot take these _serverless ecosystems_ for granted: the core does not rely on sound principles of science and design, and there are warning signs about the scalability, dependability, and sustainability of engineering operations. This is the challenge of massivizing serverless computing. In this talk, inspired by this challenge and by our experience with distributed computer systems for over 15 years, we focus in this talk on understanding, deploying, scaling, and evolving serverless ecosystems successfully. We can achieve this through an ambitious, comprehensive research program. We posit that we can address the fundamental challenges of massivizing serverless computing by focusing on computer ecosystems rather than merely on (individual, small-scale) computer systems. We define serverless computing and explain its historical roots. We show early results in serverless computing, from considering a reference architecture and resource management and scheduling framework that can span the computing continuum, to developing real-world serverless engines for workflow and graph processing execution, from understanding availability across many services, to benchmarking performance with diverse workloads.This vision aligns with the Manifesto on Computer Systems and Networking Research in the Netherlands [1] that the speaker co-leads. Many of our examples come from real-world prototyping and experimentation, grand experiments in computer systems, and/or benchmarking and performance analysis work conducted with the Cloud group of SPEC RG [2].

[1] Future Computer Systems and Networking Research in the Netherlands: A Manifesto, 2022. [Online]
[2] SPEC RG Cloud

BIO Alexandru Iosup is a full professor at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), a high-quality research university in the Netherlands. He is the tenured chair of the Massivizing Computer Systems research group at the VU and visiting researcher at TU Delft. He is also elected chair of the SPEC-RG Cloud Group. His work in distributed systems and ecosystems includes over 150 peer-reviewed articles with high scientific impact, and has applications in cloud computing, big data, scientific and business-critical computing, and online gaming. His research has received prestigious recognition, including membership in the (Young) Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences of the Netherlands, the Netherlands ICT Researcher of the Year award, and a PhD from TU Delft. His leadership and innovation in education led to various awards, including the prestigious Netherlands Higher-Education Teacher of the Year. He has received a knighthood for cultural and scientific merits. Contact Alexandru at or @AIosup, or visit