Microservice architectures have emerged as the preferred way to engineer robust, scalable cloud-native solutions. They encapsulate application logic in small, loosely-coupled, distributed services communicating via language-agnostic APIs.

Despite their benefit, microservice-based solutions remain difficult to be build using mainstream cloud technologies often requiring to control a complex toolchain and a complex build- and operations pipeline. Hence, especially small and agile teams are seeking more and more for a simplified way to build their solution as they are still spending too much time dealing with infrastructural and operational complexities, such as fault-tolerance, load balancing, auto-scaling, and logging features. They are seeking for a way that allows them to focus on developing value-adding code and, at the same time, being flexible enough that it allows them to reuse existing skills, stick to the tools they know and love and pick the technology (e.g. programming language) best suited to solve a particular problem.

Thus, they would obviously benefit from a better way to quickly build their microservice-oriented solutions in a radically simplified fashion.

They require…

  • … a rich set of building blocks that they can easily glue/stitch together.
  • … the ability to focus more on value-add business logic and less on low-level infrastructural and operational details.
  • … the ability to easily chain together microservices to form workflows via composition.
OpenWhisk introduces a new way to build such solutions in the cloud. OpenWhisk provides a distributed compute service to execute application logic in response to events.

Our value proposition and what makes us different is:

  • OpenWhisk hides infrastructural complexity allowing developers to focus on business logic.
  • OpenWhisk takes care of low-level details such as scaling, load balancing, logging, fault tolerance, and message queues.
  • OpenWhisk provides a rich ecosystem of building blocks from various domains (analytics, cognitive, data, IoT, etc.).
  • OpenWhisk is open and designed to support an open community.
  • OpenWhisk supports an open ecosystem that allows sharing microservices via OpenWhisk packages.
  • OpenWhisk allows developers to compose solutions using modern abstractions and chaining.
  • OpenWhisk supports multiple runtimes including NodeJS, Swift, and arbitrary binary programs encapsulate in Docker containers.
  • OpenWhisk charges only for code that runs.
The OpenWhisk model consists of three concepts:

  • trigger, a class of events that can happen,
  • action, an event handler — some code that runs in response to an event, and
  • rule, an association between a trigger and an action.
So, services define the events they emit as triggers, and developers define the actions to handle the events.
The developer only needs to care about implementing the desired application logic – the system handles the rest.

Out of the box, OpenWhisk allows any webhook-enabled service to emit events.
Additionally it provides an open API, allowing any party to contribute a package of actions and triggers to the OpenWhisk ecosystem.

If you want to learn more about OpenWhisk, visit our development center at: https://developer.ibm.com/openwhisk
If you want to see OpenWhisk running in IBM Bluemix sign-up for the experimental program here: https://new-console.ng.bluemix.net/openwhisk/

59 Comments on "OpenWhisk: Radically simplifying the development process for small and agile teams"

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