Pivotal triggers launch of multi-cloud serverless platform

Pivotal Function Service

Pivotal made its move into serverless computing, claiming to be first to market with an open, multi-cloud serverless platform, albeit in alpha.

Pivotal svp for Cloud R&D, Onsi Fakhouri, unveiled Pivotal Function Service (PFS) in a blog post, describing it as a “Kubernetes-based, multi-cloud function service”, which according to the official documentation is built on the RIFF function as a service platform – also developed by Pivotal – which offers tooling for Knative.

In his post Fakhouri asked “why does PFS matter?” He then answered himself, saying “It’s open and gives you the same developer and operator experience on every cloud, public or private. It’s event-oriented with built-in components that make it easy to architect loosely coupled, streaming systems. It’s developer-centric with buildpacks that simplify packaging, and operator-friendly with a secure, low-touch experience running atop Kubernetes.

On a practical level, he explained that PFS would take and deploy function source code, with a software defined networking layer handling routing. Functions would “scale down to zero instances when inactive and scaleup based on traffic”. All without manual intervention, “So this feels truly serverless to the developer.”


He added that PFS had baked in Cloud Native Buildpacks, to detect dependencies and automatically build functions into runnable artifacts, meaning devs didn’t need to get bogged down in function packaging routines.

This is all installable on any Kubernetes environment, Fakhouri wrote, with PKS, GKE and Minikube docs available now, and Azure and VMware Cloud PKS amongst others on the way.

If this has you fired up, clicking through to the documentation and trying to register for the preview will curb that enthusiasm just a touch.

Pivotal was at pains to point out that PFS is alpha software, and should not be used in production. Riff itself is at an achingly early stage 0.2.0.

More to the point, hitting the “contact us” link to request early access will bounce you around the page, but doesn’t seem to want to take any details just yet. We expect this will be sorted very quickly, as Pivotal is saying PFS will be “soon be commercially available as part of Pivotal Cloud Foundry”.


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