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All Self-Hosted Faas Solutions Suck?

I have a few small projects where I need a serv­er as back­end. That means I need to run a server, which usu­al­ly means I need to do a lot of stuff. BUT these are as­ton­ish­ing­ly sim­ple back­end­s. Usu­al­ly just one end­point, which does one thing.

For ex­am­ple, con­sid­er nom­bres a web­site where you can ex­am­ine his­tor­i­cal in­for­ma­tion about names in Ar­genti­na. Like, how has the pop­u­lar­i­ty of the name "Juan" changed over time?

Like this:

The name Juan is the most popular male name in Argentina

That is lit­er­al­ly one func­tion that takes as ar­gu­ment names, does a cou­ple of queries to a database, builds a chart and re­turns that. De­ploy­ing that should not re­quire me set­ting up in­fra­struc­ture spe­cial­ly be­cause I have like 5 or 10 of those and they are ac­cessed 10 times a day or so.

If I were to use "the cloud" the so­lu­tion would be to use AWS Lamb­da, or the sim­i­lar clones in Azure or Google Cloud. But I don't want to pay for things, so I looked for a way to do that in my own server, which I al­ready have and has more than enough pow­er to han­dle it.

So, I did it! I used faasd which lead to a whole slew of prob­lems that you can see in this post.

Ba­si­cal­ly faasd hates shar­ing the ma­chine it's in with any­thing else, so I seg­re­gat­ed it to a VM us­ing Ig­nite. Now, I am con­sid­er­ing mov­ing to a new­er, more pow­er­ful serv­er (A Radxa Rock 5C) and I look at set­ting up Ig­nite and ... it's ob­so­lete.

It says the re­place­ment is Flint­lock­... which is "on hold", which means aban­doned.

So I try set­ting up a VM us­ing lib­virt, but since this is ar­m64, things are a bit com­pli­cat­ed, so I say, damn, let's just use QE­mu, which works ... as long as I don't use KVM, be­cause it makes the VM su­per flaky.

So I can choose a su­per flaky VM, or a very slow VM, or use ob­so­lete soft­ware, all be­cause I want to run a func­tion that takes a few sec­onds to run and is ac­cessed 10 times a day and faasd is needy.

So, I say­d, what the heck, faasd can't be the on­ly thing. Let's look again!

  • Open­Faas: by the same peo­ple as faas­d, needs ku­ber­netes, way overkill
  • Fx: looks good and sim­ple, lit­er­al­ly does­n't work.

You don't be­lieve me? Here is what hap­pens when I fol­low the in­struc­tions to run fx, on a nor­mal x86 ma­chine:

> curl -o- | bash
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100  1471  100  1471    0     0   4138      0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:--  4143
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100  8635  100  8635    0     0  17948      0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-- 17914
Downloading fx from
Download complete, saved to /home/ralsina/fx/fx.tar.gz
Installing fx to /home/ralsina/fx
fx installed successfully at /home/ralsina/fx
fx version 0.9.48
Cleaning up /home/ralsina/fx/fx.tar.gz

> cat > func.js
module.exports = (ctx) => {
  ctx.body = 'hello world'

> ./fx up -p 8080 func.js
2024/06/28 10:52:54  info provisioning localhost ...
exit status 125

I spent an hour or so on it, it just does­n't work.

What else is out there?

  • Apache Open­Whisk looks promis­ing, I will try it out nex­t, need to see if it works in my re­source-lim­it­ed serv­er.

If it does­n't work out I swear I am rolling my own.

UP­DATE: Looks like I am rolling my own:

it needs kafka and couchdb?

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