Rodric Rabbah  Rodric Rabbah photo         

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Principal researcher. Technical lead, Serverless Computing.
Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY USA


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Professional Associations:  ACM

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More information:  curriculum vitae  |  medium articles

In early 2015, a small group of us in Research started a new effort to bring a cloud-first and distributed event-based programming service to market. In February 2016 at IBM InterConnect in Las Vegas, OpenWhisk was announced publicly for the first time with availability on Bluemix and on GitHub. In December of 2016, the platform became generally available. OpenWhisk was also admitted into the Apache Software Foundation Incubator at about the same time.

OpenWhisk started as a small IBM Research endeavor, and grew significantly with two objectives: One, realize the compelling promise of serverless programming for cloud native applications. And two, seed the open source and research communities with a robust foundation on which further advances in serverless programming may be fostered. I am proud to be one of the founding members of OpenWhisk and to have continued my contributions to this work in what I think is a testament to a new and reinvented IBM.

I'm also responsible for the project name and the Whisk in OpenWhisk. Whisk, as in "to move nimbly and quickly". Code runs quickly and then its resources are whisked away. The name lent itself to a 3 character command line tool "wsk" which is pronounced Whisk as well. The Open prefix was added later, for open source.

In developing OpenWhisk, my colleagues and I took a vertical approach that crossed many levels of abstraction from applications, to programming model, runtime and system architecture. This holistic approach is characteristic of my past contributions to research and open source, and is made possible by working along IBMers that have both broad skills and deep expertise in many facets of computer science and engineering.

I am extremely excited by the potential OpenWhisk holds for IBM, the open source community, and academic research.



Older News

OpenWhisk news coverage from initial launch

  • "OpenWhisk is coming into the world more fully baked [than AWS' Lambda]" – InformationWeek
  • "The new open-source cloud product announced, OpenWhisk, is a shot across Amazon’s bow." – Forbes
  • "IBM’s work around Swift, OpenWhisk and API Connect are worthy of attention." – Redmonk
  • "OpenWhisk is IBM’s answer to Amazon Web Services’ event driven system Lambda."  – Business Cloud News
  • "OpenWhisk event-driven platform runs on Bluemix and has one advantage those other two platforms [Amazon Lambda and Google Cloud Function] don't". – InfoWorld
  • "IBM is also launching a new cloud service called Bluemix OpenWhisk that represents an answer to Lambda event-driven computing service from public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS)."VentureBeat
  • "The bottom line is that this serverless computing technology is ushering in a new way for developers to build applications, particularly apps serving the Internet of Things market."Network World
  • "Servers? We don’t need no stinkin’ servers."TechSpective