A Review of Serverless Use Cases and their Characteristics


The serverless computing paradigm promises many desirable properties for cloud applications—low-cost, fine-grained deployment, and management-free operation. Consequently, the paradigm has underwent rapid growth: there currently exist tens of serverless platforms and all global cloud providers host serverless operations. To help tune existing platforms, guide the design of new serverless approaches, and overall contribute to understanding this paradigm, in this work we present a long-term, comprehensive effort to identify, collect, and characterize serverless use cases. We survey 89 use cases, sourced from white and grey literature, and from consultations with experts in areas such as scientific computing. We study each use case using 24 characteristics, including general aspects, but also workload, application, and requirements. When the use cases employ workflows, we further analyze their characteristics. Overall, we hope our study will be useful for both academia and industry, and encourage the community to further share and communicate their use cases.

SPEC-RG-2020-5 Technical Report

This technical report is endorsed by SPEC RG and published on the SPEC Research Group (RG) website.