UPDATED 20:44 EDT / DECEMBER 11 2018


Developers can now deploy serverless workloads to any cloud on GitLab

Software code hosting provider GitLab Inc. is getting into the serverless computing game.

The company said today it’s teaming up with a firm called TriggerMesh Inc. on a new product developers can use to deploy serverless workloads to any cloud platform directly from the GitLab user interface.

Serverless computing is an execution model in which public cloud providers dynamically allocate resources whenever a piece of code is executed, and only charge for the amount of resources used to run that code. It’s growing in popularity with developers because it allows them to focus on what matters most, namely writing code, without worrying about the underlying information technology infrastructure.

The addition of a serverless computing option is a big deal for GitLab. The company has recently been busy trying to position itself as a viable alternative code management platform to developers worried about the repercussions of Microsoft Corp.’s acquisition of its biggest rival, GitHub Inc.

GitLab, which said its code management platform is used by more than 100,000 organizations, has moved well beyond its original focus on just hosting software repositories. The company has steadily been adding features to its platform to cover all of the major steps in the software building process.

For example, developers can now use GitLab to test their code, scan it for security vulnerabilities and discuss their progress with colleagues. GitLab also provides features that automate many parts of the code writing process.

GitLab Serverless, as the new offering is called, gives developers another tool in their arsenal, allowing them to build, deploy and manage serverless workloads. The product is based on Google’s open-source Knative project, which itself is based on the Kubernetes software used to manage application containers that host apps which can run on any computing platform.

Knative has picked up a lot of steam in the short time since it was open-sourced by Google this summer. Not only Google but also other companies including Red Hat Inc. and SAP SE have already delivered their own commercial offerings based on the platform.

Knative has also caught the eye of Chris Aniszczyk, chief technology officer and chief operating officer of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which is the organization that governs the development of Kubernetes and other open-source, cloud-native software projects. Speaking to SiliconANGLE’s mobile livestreaming event team theCUBE at this week’s KubeCon + CloudNativeCon event in Seattle, Aniszczyk said the technology was an essential ingredient for developers looking to build serverless models.

“It’s like a set of components that you can use to build your own sort of serverless framework,” Aniszczyk said. “I think if you want to provide your own serverless offering, you’re going to need the components in Knative to make that happen.”

In a blog post, GitLab said its Knative-based serverless offering should appeal to developers because it gives them an easy way to build and manage serverless workloads with the rest of their code in a familiar user interface.

“Serverless is the newest deployment option for enterprises and so it’s not a surprise to see DevOps players like GitLab provide for support for this environment,” Constellation Research Inc. analyst Holger Mueller told SiliconANGLE. “The idea is to make deployment of serverless apps easier, and the choice of Knative isn’t a surprise either as enterprises are looking for cross-platform capabilities and that’s what it gives to GitLab.”

GitLab Chief Executive Sid Sijbrandij said the company teamed up with TriggerMesh on the new offering to boost Knative’s capabilities. TriggerMesh sells multicloud serverless and function-as-a-service products and previously built a serverless platform called Kubeless, which is said to be a precursor to Knative.

GitLab Serverless will be made available on Dec. 22, with the forthcoming GitLab 11.6 release.

Image: GitLab

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