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 Level: Intermediate
Secondary topics:  Best Practice, Framework-focused

Who is this presentation for?

Software developers, architects, devops

Prerequisite knowledge

Distributed systems. Web technologies. Cloud-based online applications.

What you'll learn

Understand the architecture implication of adopting a stateful application model and 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.


This talk offers a deep look into the architecture and technology choices of a real-world online application (real-time whiteboard) to illustrate why it is both feasible and desirable to keep the client-side programming model stateful while at the same time leverage 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 boom, we 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 currently a software engineer at Google responsible for the frontend networking frameworks for Google’s online applications and cloud APIs. He has contributed to various web protocol-related standards and open source projects. His current work involves building scalable and robust real-time messaging stacks for internet clients to interact with cloud services. Wenbo holds a PhD degree in computer engineering and has authored the so-called COLOR algorithm for managing performance/consistency trade-offs of geographically replicated cloud services.

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