skip to main content

Title: Enhancing Observability of Serverless Computing with the Serverless Application Analytics Framework
To improve the observability of workload performance, resource utilization, and infrastructure underlying serverless Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) platforms, we have developed the Serverless Application Analytics Framework (SAAF). SAAF provides a reusable framework supporting multiple programming languages that developers can leverage to inspect performance, resource utilization, scalability, and infrastructure metrics of function deployments to commercial and open-source FaaS platforms. To automate reproducible FaaS performance experiments, we provide the FaaS Runner as a multithreaded FaaS client. FaaS Runner provides a programmable client that can orchestrate over one thousand concurrent FaaS function calls. The ReportGenerator is then used to aggregate experiment output into CSV files for consumption by popular data analytics tools. SAAF and its supporting tools combined can assess forty-eight distinct metrics to enhance observability of serverless software deployments. In this tutorial paper, we describe SAAF and its supporting tools and provide examples of observability insights that can be derived.
; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
12th ACM/SPEC International Conference on Performance Engineering
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Serverless Function-As-A-Service (FaaS) is an emerging cloud computing paradigm that frees application developers from infrastructure management tasks such as resource provisioning and scaling. To reduce the tail latency of functions and improve resource utilization, recent research has been focused on applying online learning algorithms such as reinforcement learning (RL) to manage resources. Compared to existing heuristics-based resource management approaches, RL-based approaches eliminate humans in the loop and avoid the painstaking generation of heuristics. In this paper, we show that the state-of-The-Art single-Agent RL algorithm (S-RL) suffers up to 4.6x higher function tail latency degradation on multi-Tenant serverless FaaS platforms and is unable to converge during training. We then propose and implement a customized multi-Agent RL algorithm based on Proximal Policy Optimization, i.e., multi-Agent PPO (MA-PPO). We show that in multi-Tenant environments, MA-PPO enables each agent to be trained until convergence and provides online performance comparable to S-RL in single-Tenant cases with less than 10% degradation. Besides, MA-PPO provides a 4.4x improvement in S-RL performance (in terms of function tail latency) in multi-Tenant cases.
  2. Current serverless Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) platforms generally use simple, classic scheduling algorithms for distributing function invocations while ignoring FaaS characteristics such as rapid changes in resource utilization and the freeze-thaw life cycle. In this paper, we present FaaSRank, a function scheduler for serverless FaaS platforms based on information monitored from servers and functions. FaaSRank automatically learns scheduling policies through experience using reinforcement learning (RL) and neural networks supported by our novel Score-Rank-Select architecture. We implemented FaaSRank in Apache OpenWhisk, an open source FaaS platform, and evaluated performance against other baseline schedulers including OpenWhisk's default scheduler on two 13-node OpenWhisk clusters. For training and evaluation, we adapted real-world serverless workload traces provided by Microsoft Azure. For the duration of test workloads, FaaSRank sustained on average a lower number of inflight invocations 59.62 % and 70.43 % as measured on two clusters respectively. We also demonstrate the generalizability of FaaSRank for any workload. When trained using a composite of 50 episodes each for 10 distinct random workloads, FaaSRank reduced average function completion time by 23.05% compared to OpenWhisk's default scheduler.
  3. Serverless computing has freed developers from the burden of managing their own platform and infrastructure, allowing them to rapidly prototype and deploy applications. Despite its surging popularity, however, serverless raises a number of concerning security implications. Among them is the difficulty of investigating intrusions – by decomposing traditional applications into ephemeral re-entrant functions, serverless has enabled attackers to conceal their activities within legitimate workflows, and even prevent root cause analysis by abusing warm container reuse policies to break causal paths. Unfortunately, neither traditional approaches to system auditing nor commercial serverless security products provide the transparency needed to accurately track these novel threats. In this work, we propose ALASTOR, a provenance-based auditing framework that enables precise tracing of suspicious events in serverless applications. ALASTOR records function activity at both system and application layers to capture a holistic picture of each function instances' behavior. It then aggregates provenance from different functions at a central repository within the serverless platform, stitching it together to produce a global data provenance graph of complex function workflows. ALASTOR is both function and language-agnostic, and can easily be integrated into existing serverless platforms with minimal modification. We implement ALASTOR for the OpenFaaS platform and evaluate its performancemore »using the well-established Nordstrom Hello,Retail! application, discovering in the process that ALASTOR imposes manageable overheads (13.74%), in exchange for significantly improved forensic capabilities as compared to commercially-available monitoring tools. To our knowledge, ALASTOR is the first auditing framework specifically designed to satisfy the operational requirements of serverless platforms.« less
  4. We consider the setting of serverless Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) platforms, where storage services are disaggregated from the machines that support function execution. FaaS applications consist of compositions of functions, each of which may run on a separate machine and access remote storage. The challenge we address is improving I/O latency in this setting while also providing application-wide consistency. Previous work has explored providing causal consistency for individual I/Os by carefully managing the versions stored in a client-side data cache. In our setting, a single application may execute multiple functions across different nodes, and therefore issue interrelated I/Os to multiple distinct caches. This raises the challenge of Multisite Transactional Causal Consistency (MTCC): the ability to provide causal consistency for all I/Os within a given transaction even if it runs across multiple physical sites. We present protocols for MTCC implemented in a system called HYDROCACHE. Our evaluation demonstrates orders-of-magnitude performance improvements due to caching, while also protecting against consistency anomalies that otherwise arise frequently.
  5. Serverless computing is an emerging paradigm in which an application's resource provisioning and scaling are managed by third-party services. Examples include AWS Lambda, Azure Functions, and Google Cloud Functions. Behind these services' easy-to-use APIs are opaque, complex infrastructure and management ecosystems. Taking on the viewpoint of a serverless customer, we conduct the largest measurement study to date, launching more than 50,000 function instances across these three services, in order to characterize their architectures, performance, and resource management efficiency. We explain how the platforms isolate the functions of different accounts, using either virtual machines or containers, which has important security implications. We characterize performance in terms of scalability, coldstart latency, and resource efficiency, with highlights including that AWS Lambda adopts a bin-packing-like strategy to maximize VM memory utilization, that severe contention between functions can arise in AWS and Azure, and that Google had bugs that allow customers to use resources for free.