Understanding Characteristics of Commodity Serverless Computing Platforms

Jinfeng Wen, Yi Liu, Zhenpeng Chen, Yun Ma, Haoyu Wang, Xuanzhe Liu

Serverless computing becomes the new trending paradigm in cloud computing, allowing developers to focus on the core application logic and rapidly prototype applications. Due to the great prospects of serverless computing, in recent years, most major cloud vendors have rolled out their commodity serverless computing platforms. However, the characteristics of these platforms have not been systematically studied. To fill this knowledge gap, this paper presents a comprehensive study on characterizing mainstream commodity serverless computing platforms (i.e., AWS Lambda, Azure Functions, Google Cloud Functions, and Alibaba Cloud Function Compute). First, we qualitatively analyze these platforms from development, deployment, and runtime aspects to form the taxonomy of characteristics. Additionally, we quantitatively evaluate the actual performance of different serverless computing platforms through our designed benchmark platform. Our benchmark platform has two types of benchmarks, i.e., microbenchmarks and macrobenchmarks. Based on the results of qualitative and quantitative analyses, we derive a series of findings and provide insightful implications for both developers and cloud vendors.

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