Architectural implications of function-as-a-service computing

Mohammad Shahrad, Jonathan Balkind, David Wentzlaff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Serverless computing is a rapidly growing cloud application model, popularized by Amazon's Lambda platform. Serverless cloud services provide fine-grained provisioning of resources, which scale automatically with user demand. Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) applications follow this serverless model, with the developer providing their application as a set of functions which are executed in response to a user- or system-generated event. Functions are designed to be short-lived and execute inside containers or virtual machines, introducing a range of system-level overheads. This paper studies the architectural implications of this emerging paradigm. Using the commercial-grade Apache OpenWhisk FaaS platform on real servers, this work investigates and identifies the architectural implications of FaaS serverless computing. The workloads, along with the way that FaaS inherently interleaves short functions from many tenants frustrates many of the locality-preserving architectural structures common in modern processors. In particular, we find that: FaaS containerization brings up to 20x slowdown compared to native execution, cold-start can be over 10x a short function's execution time, branch mispredictions per kilo-instruction are 20x higher for short functions, memory bandwidth increases by 6x due to the invocation pattern, and IPC decreases by as much as 35% due to inter-function interference. We open-source FaaSProfiler, the FaaS testing and profiling platform that we developed for this work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMICRO 2019 - 52nd Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, Proceedings
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Pages1063-1075
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450369381
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 12 2019
Event52nd Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO 2019 - Columbus, United States
Duration: Oct 12 2019Oct 16 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO
ISSN (Print)1072-4451

Conference

Conference52nd Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO 2019
CountryUnited States
CityColumbus
Period10/12/1910/16/19

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hardware and Architecture

Keywords

  • Architecture
  • Cloud
  • Faas
  • Function-as-a-service
  • Open whisk
  • Serverless

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  • Cite this

    Shahrad, M., Balkind, J., & Wentzlaff, D. (2019). Architectural implications of function-as-a-service computing. In MICRO 2019 - 52nd Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, Proceedings (pp. 1063-1075). (Proceedings of the Annual International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO). IEEE Computer Society. https://doi.org/10.1145/3352460.3358296