April 23, 2021 By Javier Perez 2 min read

If you have been around the software industry long enough, you have seen architectural changes and new computing paradigms from time to time. From monolithic to client-server architectures, and from web applications to containerized cloud-native applications, we see a constant evolution with more software available thanks to the proliferation of open source software.  

Serverless computing advances 

Driven by open source technologies, serverless computing is a computing paradigm that has been around for a few years, and all public cloud vendors, including IBM Cloud, offer the service. Serverless computing typically refers to the approach of building and running applications hosted by a third party, but unlike with cloud computing, you do not manage the infrastructure. 

The hosting of serverless applications is only part of this new computing paradigm. The most important aspect is the model of breaking up applications into individual functions that can be individually invoked and scaled. This more finely grained development and deployment model allows for applications to have one or many functions that can be executed and scaled up or down on demand. 

Introducing Red Hat OpenShift Serverless 

Today we are announcing that you can now build and deploy serverless computing on IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE with Red Hat OpenShift Serverless. This new offering is available as a no-charge add-on to the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.  

One of the most complete open source projects for serverless computing is Knative, a platform that provides components to build and run serverless container-based applications on Kubernetes. Yes, you can create container-based applications broken into functions to run on stateless containers orchestrated by Kubernetes. 

Red Hat OpenShift Serverless is based on the Knative project and runs on an OpenShift cluster. Capabilities include Knative Serving, Knative Eventing, and Knative CLI. You can deploy serverless applications in practically any programming language and enable auto-scaling to scale up to meet demand or scale down to zero when not in use. You can invoke serverless functions using plain HTTP requests following CloudEvents specification. You can also trigger serverless containers from a growing number of event sources, and it comes with out-of-the-box project templates to jumpstart your code. 

As is customary, software developers from IBM and Red Hat contribute upstream to open-source projects including all Knative components, and they continue to enhance functionality and ensure everything works smoothly in the s390x architecture for IBM Z and LinuxONE. 

This is a significant new capability for all those Linux on IBM Z and LinuxONE deployments in the largest and most important enterprises in the world. You now have the option to migrate applications or to build new applications based on individual functions while combining both containers and serverless functionality.   

Serverless computing is well-suited for parallel processing, event-driven, streams and message queues. Most applications with large volumes of transactions, including AI-related ones such as Monte Carlo simulations, database updates and event processing of data with small payloads (such as the IoT) are ideal for serverless computing. Moreover, unlike function-as-a-service offerings, with your Z or LinuxONE, you do not trade control and visibility of your infrastructure when you are doing “serverless.” 

To summarize, you now have the opportunity to develop applications based on functions with discrete units of code for event-based execution. This will bring development velocity and rapid benefits to the business. 

Try a new computing paradigm on IBM Z and LinuxONE and stay tuned for more OpenShift add-ons, support for more event types, and more great technology powered by open-source innovation available to you in integrated and easy-to-deploy supported packages. 

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