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Bringing the best of serverless to you

July 24, 2018
Eyal Manor

General Manager/VP of Engineering, Application Modernization Platform

Every business wants to innovate—and deliver—great software, faster. In recent years, serverless computing has changed application development, bringing the focus on the application logic instead of infrastructure. With zero server management, auto-scaling to meet any traffic demands, and managed integrated security, developers can move faster, stay agile and focus on what matters most—building great applications.

Google helped pioneer the notion of serverless more than 10 years ago with the introduction of App Engine. Making developers more productive is just as important today as it was then. Over the past few years, we have been working hard to bring the benefits of serverless that we learned from App Engine to our compute, storage, database, messaging services, data analytics, and machine learning offerings.

Today, in tandem with the launch of Anthos, we are sharing several important developments to our serverless compute stack:

  • New App Engine runtimes
  • Cloud Functions general availability, support for additional languages, plus performance, networking and security features
  • Serverless containers on Cloud Functions
  • GKE serverless add-on
  • Knative, Kubernetes-based building blocks for serverless workloads
  • Integration of Cloud Firestore with GCP services

Expanding serverless compute

Today we are announcing support for new second-generation App Engine standard runtimes such as Python 3.7 and PHP 7.2 in addition to recent support for Node.js 8. Second generation runtimes provide developers idiomatic, open-source language runtimes capable of running any framework, library, or binary. Based on gVisor technology, these new runtimes enable faster deployments and increased application performance.

Also, Cloud Functions, our event-driven compute service, is generally available starting today, complete with predictable service guaranteed by an SLA, and a global footprint with new regions in Europe and Asia. In addition, we are bolstering Cloud Functions with a range of new and heavily requested features including support for Python 3.7 and Node.js 8, networking and security controls, and performance improvements across the board. Cloud Functions also lets you seamlessly connect and extend more than 20 GCP services such as BigQuery, Cloud Pub/Sub, machine learning APIs, G Suite, Google Assistant and many more.

Serverless and containers: the best of both worlds

Whether you’re using App Engine or Cloud Functions, Google’s serverless platform offers a complete mix of tools and services. However, many customers tell us they have custom requirements like specific runtimes, custom binaries, or workload portability. More often than not, they turn to containers for an answer. At Google Cloud, we want to bring the best of both serverless and containers together.

Today, we’re also introducing serverless containers, which allow you to run container-based workloads in a fully managed environment and still only pay for what you use. Sign up for an early preview of serverless containers on Cloud Functions to run your own containerized functions on GCP with all the benefits of serverless.

And what if you are already using Kubernetes Engine? A new GKE serverless add-on lets you run serverless workloads on Kubernetes Engine with a one-step deploy. You can go from source to containers instantaneously, auto-scale your stateless container-based workloads, and even scale down to zero. Here’s what T-mobile had to say about running their serverless workloads on Kubernetes Engine:

The technology behind the GKE serverless add-on enabled us to focus on just the business logic, as opposed to worrying about overhead tasks such as build/deploy, autoscaling, monitoring and observability

Ram Gopinathan, Principal Technology Architect, T- Mobile

With Knative, run your serverless workloads anywhere

While we believe Google Cloud is a great place to run all types of workloads, some customers need to run on-premises or across multiple clouds. Based on this feedback, we’re excited to announce Knative (pronounced kay-nay-tiv), which is an open-source set of components from the same technology that enables the GKE serverless add-on.

Developed in close partnership with Pivotal, IBM, Red Hat, and SAP, Knative pushes Kubernetes-based computing forward by providing the building blocks you need to build and deploy modern, container-based serverless applications.

Knative focuses on the common but challenging parts of running apps, such as orchestrating source-to-container builds, routing and managing traffic during deployment, auto-scaling workloads, and binding services to event ecosystems. Knative provides you with familiar, idiomatic language support and standardized patterns you need to deploy any workload, whether it’s a traditional application, function, or container.

Knative provides reusable implementations of common patterns and codified best practices, shared by successful, real-world Kubernetes-based frameworks and applications. For instance, Knative comes with a build component that provides powerful abstraction and flexible workflow for building, testing, or deploying container images or non-container artifacts on a Kubernetes cluster. By integrating Knative into your own platform, you don’t have to choose between the portability and familiarity of containers and the automation and efficiency of serverless computing. And you can enjoy the benefits of Google Cloud’s extensive experience delivering serverless computing whether you run on GCP, on-premises or in any other cloud. Get started today with Knative or join the conversation.

A comprehensive serverless ecosystem

Of course, serverless computing is a non-starter if you can’t easily build and deploy the code, store your data, and manage your applications in production as part of your overall IT environment. At Google Cloud, we’re committed to enabling the comprehensive ecosystem of serverless offerings.

Cloud Build, for instance, lets you create a continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipeline for your serverless applications. You can define custom workflows for building, testing, and deploying across multiple serverless environment such Cloud Functions, App Engine and even Knative.

Cloud Firestore, one of the most recent additions to our serverless stack, lets you store and sync your app data at global scale. Soon, app developers will be able to easily access Cloud Firestore within the GCP Console, and it will also be compatible with Cloud Datastore.

Finally, our Stackdriver suite has four core capabilities—monitoring, logging, application performance management (APM) and the newly released Service Monitoring—and lets you operate and rapidly diagnose your serverless applications in production.

Toward ubiquitous serverless computing

We’re firm believers in finding ways to simplify operations and bring solutions to market faster. Last week’s launch of commercial Kubernetes applications in GCP Marketplace demonstrates how third-party solutions providers are adopting new technologies rapidly to support enterprise demand for extensible solutions. Now, with these new offerings, we’ll help more developers adopt serverless computing in the languages and platforms of their choice.

Click here to learn about the full breadth of Google Cloud serverless technologies.

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