Platform9 Debuts Fission Workflows
October 4, 2017
Workflows is an open source framework for serverless workflow
management. Built on Kubernetes and Fission, Fission Workflows
orchestrates sophisticated sequences of functions to enable developers
to write complex applications using the serverless paradigm. Unlike
public cloud serverless solutions, these applications can run anywhere,
across data centers or public clouds.
As developers increasingly adopt serverless technology to efficiently
run and manage applications, Fission Workflows addresses a key
limitation of the current landscape. While serverless makes it very easy
to write small functions, developing complex applications with many
interacting functions remains too challenging. For example, upgrading a
serverless application that uses dozens of functions, is error-prone,
time consuming and complex. This is the problem that Fission Workflows
solves by allowing users to orchestrate their serverless functions,
while improving operations, troubleshooting and management capabilities.
"Since introducing Fission earlier this year, there has been tremendous
interest and community momentum with growing contributions and usage,"
said Soam Vasani, software engineer at Platform9 and Fission author. "At
the same time, it became clear that complex applications require
interactions between functions, and there wasn't a good way for users to
reason about and express those interactions".
After evaluating several approaches to serverless function composition,
the Fission project found that combining a workflow engine with
functions produces a simple yet expressively powerful solution. This
approach brings development simplicity, availability, and operational
ease to complex serverless applications.
The industry's only serverless workflow framework that runs on a
Kubernetes cluster anywhere -- from a private datacenter to a public
cloud -- Fission Workflows is easy to use, extensible and open source.
As a serverless technology, it offers several advantages, such as time
to value and simplicity of developer experience.
Additional benefits include:
Users can easily compose larger application concepts as workflows that
can reuse serverless functions.
•Operability: With Fission Workflows,
users can monitor, troubleshoot and upgrade entire workflows as opposed
to individual serverless functions. Additionally, a centralized
dashboard provides a detailed look at the workflow's execution.
•Availability: Developers can use the
framework with confidence, relying on fault tolerant capabilities that
ensure a workflow is recovered and restarts from the right place in the
event of infrastructure failures.
Fission Workflows is a project from Erwin van Eyk, who joined Platform9
from Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. Professor Alexandru
Iosup at Delft University shared his perspective on workflows:
"Workflows and dataflows are at the core of engineering and scientific
productivity. They allow experts and novices to work together, sharing
best practices and composing complex applications. But workflows and
dataflows require specialized engines, which automate the tedious and
complex management tasks on behalf of their human operators. Without
workflow engines, operating a complex application is like managing a
thousand-employee company using only face-to-face communication; that
is, almost impossible and surely not efficient."