Alibaba Cloud recently partnered with Kitsune, a NowFloats company, to help businesses adopt a serverless architecture enabling them to scale up with speed and agility while also providing significant benefits.
ChannelWorld spoke to Alex Li, general manager, Alibaba Cloud APAC and Ronak Kumar Samantray, co-founder, NowFloats and Kitsune, on the partnership between Alibaba Cloud and Kitsune, and the strategy for serverless architecture in India.
Can you explain how serverless architecture works and what are its advantages?
Li: Serverless is one of the most attractive trends in the past few years. Alibaba cloud is very active and aggressive in developing the serverless product portfolio. We launched the product offering globally last year, and have also brought this to India recently.
Serverless architecture has unique advantages compared to traditional cloud or on premise services. With serverless architecture, it is much easier to scale and it is also quite cost effective. It is witnessing a very fast adoption rate and growth, hence, Alibaba wants to invest further and work with local partners to develop the sector.
Samantray: Severless architecture is an event based application architecture. When there is an event a compute wakes up to perform a function. That function can originate across any datacenter in Alibaba. It is just a piece of code that is running. It’s not an infrastructure - this makes it scalable and cost effective. And this way, no one has to pay for uptime.
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This is happening at a large scale now because there are smart phones and IoT which are drivers of servers. In case of IoT devices, only when a server works it wakes up talks to the device and functions. Similarly, in smart phones there is a lot of compute power at back-end running always. This has led to serverless function compute.
What about the controls that the company gets with serverless architecture, is it same as the other options?
Samantray: The control parameters remains the same. It’s a complete new framework that Alibaba has created where the usage of the hardware is what their IP is. So when someone triggers a compute - it wakes up functions. Hence, it is extremely easy to monitor and control. One just does not need to worry about the hardware or the monitoring. One has to only worry about the function based compute and nothing else.
Which industries do you see adopting it the fastest?
Li: This technology can be used for all types of companies from enterprise, SME's, startup to even developers. In terms of industries, the manufacturing sector will have the most use because of IoT and connected devices. Any traditional cloud company will also see a lot of use cases such as e-commerce, information aggregators, among others.
Do you think it will be difficult to convince big players who already have a cloud or a hybrid set up? Are you targeting only SME's and startups?
Li: From an Alibaba perspective, we want to give our customers all the options. We have different types of customers who have different requirements. For example, in the case of a financial institution, there are regulations for data storage and protection, so they will have a hybrid cloud setup.
Similarly, the internet companies are heavy users of this technology. So, for Alibaba it is an open policy - we will not convince the customer to choose this or that, but we will give them all the options possible. Alibaba has the strategy that all the platforms are available from Alibaba Cloud. For this, we plan to work with partners who specialize in each area.