SEUSS: skip redundant paths to make serverless fast

May 8, 2020

This paper presents a system-level method for achieving the rapid deployment and high-density caching of serverless functions in a FaaS environment. For reduced start times, functions are deployed from unikernel snapshots, bypassing expensive initialization steps. To reduce the memory footprint of snapshots we apply page-level sharing across the entire software stack that is required to run a function. We demonstrate the effects of our techniques by replacing Linux on the compute node of a FaaS platform architecture. With our prototype OS, the deployment time of a function drops from 100s of milliseconds to under 10 ms. Platform throughput improves by 51x on workload composed entirely of new functions. We are able to cache over 50,000 function instances in memory as opposed to 3,000 using standard OS techniques. In combination, these improvements give the FaaS platform a new ability to handle large-scale bursts of requests.