If you are reading this post it means you are in the right place for content about Alibaba Cloud. In this blog post, I will go through the Alibaba Cloud Serverless ecosystem. I am assuming you know what serverless means and what are the benefits, features and use cases.
In case you are not familiar with Serverless Computing and want to learn about it, Alibaba Cloud wrote a very detailed article explaining the concept, benefits, and features. You can find it here.
Despite of being a very popular and trendy topic nowadays, there is a lot of confusion about what serverless really means, since serverless does not mean that there is no server, it is just that you do not need to care about the underlying resources. What is a real evidence is that the acceptance and use of serverless technologies are constantly increasing. In the same way, the serverless ecosystem is continuously developing, becoming more versatile, flexible, and robust.
Alibaba Cloud Serverless Framework
The Serverless Framework helps you develop and deploy serverless applications using Alibaba Cloud Function Compute. It’s a CLI that offers structure, automation, and best practices out-of-the-box, allowing you to focus on building sophisticated, event-driven, serverless architectures, comprised of Functions and Events.
You can find the official Serverless documentation here.
Alibaba Cloud Serverless Ecosystem
Alibaba Cloud has emerged as a major player when it comes to serverless capabilities. Alibaba Cloud offers all the tools that are required by enterprises in order to start their serverless journey.
Function Compute is the core serverless computing product offered by Alibaba Cloud. However, there are many other serverless products, such as Alibaba Cloud Serverless Kubernetes, API Gateway, Object Storage Service (OSS), TableStore, MQ, Data Lake Analytics and more.
In the picture below you see a list of Alibaba Cloud serverless services:
Function Compute (FC) is the Alibaba Cloud Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) product, an event-driven and fully-managed compute service. With Function Compute, you can quickly build any type of applications or services without considering management overhead. Function Compute prepares computing resources for you and runs your codes on your behalf elastically and reliably (Languages supported).
Function Compute provides log query, performance monitoring, alarms, and several other features. You only pay for resources actually consumed when running the codes. No fee is incurred for application codes that are not run.
Function Compute integrates different services in an event-driven manner. When the event source service triggers an event, the associated function is automatically called to process the event. You can trigger function invocation by using OSS, Log Service, API Gateway, Table Store, or Function Compute SDK and API.
Alibaba Cloud Serverless Kubernetes (ASK) is a fully-managed service that essentially allows running containerized applications in the cloud without the hassle of managing or maintaining clusters. ASK is very well integrated with other Alibaba Cloud services and provides high performance and scalable Kubernetes environments for containerized applications.
Serverless Workflow is the Alibaba Cloud workflow orchestration product, a fully-managed service used to coordinate and orchestrate the execution of multiple distributed tasks. It is committed to simplifying tedious tasks, such as task coordination, state management, and error handling required to develop and run business processes.
It is possible to arrange distributed tasks in 3 different ways: sequence, branch, and parallel. Serverless Workflow coordinates and orcherstrates task executions according to the set sequence and tracks the state transition of each task. Thus, it is easy to follow the process step by step.
API Gateway is an API hosting service and provides API lifecycle management services, including API publishing, management, maintenance, and monetization. It enables simple and fast microservice integration, front and back end separation, and system integration at low costs and low risks.
One of the main benefits of API Gateway is the integration with other Alibaba Cloud services such as Function Compute. It supports distributed deployment and Auto Scaling to respond to large numbers of requests with low latency.
Object Storage Service
Alibaba Cloud Object Storage Service (OSS) is the classical cloud storage service provided by any cloud provider. Highly secure, highly available, cost-effective, and fully-managed by Alibaba Cloud. Very well integrated with other Alibaba Cloud services.
OSS was the first service released by Alibaba Cloud. Commonly used for application data storage, content distribution, big data analysis, and disaster recovery and backup.
TableStore is a fully-managed NoSQL cloud database service built on Alibaba Cloud’s Apsara distributed computing system. Higly available and highly data reliability.
TableStore enables seamless expansion of data size and access concurrency through data sharding and server load balancer technologies, providing storage of and real-time access to massive structured data.
Data Lake Analytics
Data Lake Analytics (DLA) is an end-to-end, on-demand, serverless data lake analytics and computing service. DLA provides a platform to run Extract-Transform-Load (ETL), machine learning, streaming, and interactive analytics workloads. It is very well integrated with other Alibaba Cloud services and can be used with various data sources, such as Object Storage Service (OSS) and databases.
Data Lake Analytics supports SQL and Spark engines, based on Apache Presto and Apache Spark respectively.
Message Queue for Apache Kafka is a distributed, high-throughput, and scalable message queue service provided by Alibaba Cloud. Message Queue for Apache Kafka is widely used in big data fields such as log collection, monitoring data aggregation, streaming data processing, and online and offline analysis. It has become an indispensable part of the big data ecosystem.
Alibaba Cloud MNS is a distributed messaging service that provides high efficiency, reliability, security, availability, and scalability. MNS allows to transfer data and notifications between the distributed components of an application and build a loosely coupled system. MNS provides queue-based MNS services and topic-based MNS services.
In the following video, Alberto Roura explains the Alibaba Cloud Serverless Ecosystem.
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