Engineering the Future of Software
29–31 Oct 2018: Tutorials & Conference
31 Oct–1 Nov 2018: Training
London, UK

Embracing stateful client-server communication in the era of serverless functions

Wenbo Zhu (Google)
16:5017:40 Monday, 29 October 2018
Distributed systems
Location: King's Suite - Balmoral
Secondary topics:  Best Practice, Framework-focused
Average rating: *....
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Who is this presentation for?

  • Software developers, architects, and DevOps engineers

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Familiarity with distributed systems, web technologies, and cloud-based online applications

What you'll learn

  • Understand the architecture implications of adopting a stateful application model
  • Learn how to adapt such a model to the serverless environment while retaining the key properties of stateful client-server communication, such as low latency, resource efficiency, and ease of use


Using a real-world online application (a real-time whiteboard) as an example, Wenbo Zhu illustrates the key architectural properties and underlying technologies to create and deploy a real-time, stateful application on top of the completely stateless serverless architecture. You’ll discover why it’s both feasible and desirable to keep the client-side programming model stateful while at the same time leveraging the stateless/serverless model to deploy the entire server-side stack. That is, there will be no stateful component to deploy on the server side. Moreover, the network communication between the client and server is serverless friendly too, in terms of load balancing, DoS prevention, and failure recovery. And you don’t even have to sacrifice any latency to achieve the best of both worlds (i.e., an architecture that is stateful to the application but stateless to the underlying cloud and serverless infrastructure).

Photo of Wenbo Zhu

Wenbo Zhu


Wenbo Zhu is a software engineer at Google, where he is responsible for Google’s frontend networking frameworks. His current work involves building scalable and robust real-time messaging stacks for internet clients to interact with cloud services. He has also contributed to various web protocol-related standards and open source projects. Wenbo holds a PhD in computer engineering. He is the author of the so-called COLOR algorithm for managing performance and consistency trade-offs of geographically replicated cloud services.