Interview with Erwin van Eyk, software engineer at Platform9 | JAX DevOps 2019

“Serverless provides you with a lot of opportunities to experiment”

Eirini-Eleni Papadopoulou interviewing Erwin van Eyk at JAX DevOps 2019

What are the pitfalls of serverless technology? We caught up with JAX DevOps speaker Erwin van Eyk in London and talked about his session, some common misconceptions around serverless and more!

Serverless promises on-demand, optimal performance for a fixed cost. Yet, we see that the current serverless platforms do not always hold up this promise in practice; serverless applications can suffer from platform overhead, unreliable performance, “cold starts”, and more.

In his talk at JAX DevOps 2019, Erwin van Eyk reviewed optimizations used in popular FaaS platforms and went over some recent research findings that aim to optimize the trade-off between cost and performance.

After his informative session, JAXenter assistant editor Eirini-Eleni Papadopoulou caught up with him and talked about some common pitfalls of serverless, common misconceptions, the current state of the technology and more.

Here are some quotes from the interview:

  • The serverless principles, separating the business logic from the operation logic, we see it happening with containers right now.
  • Since serverless is cheap and you can just deploy a function easily and tear it down again, it provides you with a lot of opportunities to experiment.
  • The serverless world, in general, is very immature and the downsides are there especially when you are running your functions at scale.
  • Serverless is not perfect for all applications. There is a small field of applications that very clearly benefit from serverless but there is also a big gray area of services for which serverless is not quite ready yet.
Erwin van Eyk works at the intersection between industry and academia. As a software engineer at Platform9, he contributes to Fission: an open-source, Kubernetes-native, Serverless platform. At the same time, he is a researcher investigating “Function Scheduling and Composition in FaaS Deployments” in the International Research Team @large at the Delft University of Technology. As a part of this, he leads the industry and academia combined serverless research effort at the SPEC Cloud Research Group.
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