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Google Cloud Platform Debuts Lambda-Like ‘Cloud Functions’ that Respond to Events

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This week, the Google Cloud Platform debuted Google Cloud Functions, a way to create lightweight, single-purpose functions that respond to cloud events without having to manage a separate server or a runtime environment.

Cloud Functions are written in Javascript and are exported in a Node.js module that runs on the Google Cloud Platform. Scripts can be triggered asynchronously in response to Google Cloud Storage and Google Cloud Pub/Sub events. For synchronous execution, HTTP invocation can also be used.

This can be useful for checking for the responsiveness of cloud infrastructure so that applications can quickly and elegantly deal with failures.

Many have pointed out the similarities between Cloud Functions and an existing service available from Amazon Web Services called Lambda, which also lets developers execute snippets of code to respond to events. There are subtle differences between Cloud Functions and Lambda, but a major difference is that Lambda currently supports a wide range of languages including Node.js, Java, and Python.

Cloud Functions was introduced as an Alpha release in a Thursday blog post, which noted that there may be compatibility issues with older software making is “not recommended for production use.” Individual willing to take the risk can request to use this feature, and Google provides a quick guide to get started with Cloud Functions.

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About the Author

David Hamilton is a technology journalist and Contributing Editor of the WHIR. Based in Toronto, David has covered the hosting industry internationally for the WHIR with particular attention to innovative hosting solutions and the issues facing the industry. He has written for the National Post and other news outlets, and is a graduate of Queen’s University and the Humber College School of Media Studies.

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