ACMES team

Samovar lab

Nightcore: efficient and scalable serverless computing for latency-sensitive, interactive microservices

Reading group: Etienne Devaux presented "Nightcore: efficient and scalable serverless computing for latency-sensitive, interactive microservices" (ASPLOS'21) at 4A312 the 17/2/2023 at 10h00.


The microservice architecture is a popular software engineering approach for building flexible, large-scale online services. Serverless functions, or function as a service (FaaS), provide a simple programming model of stateless functions which are a natural substrate for implementing the stateless RPC handlers of microservices, as an alternative to containerized RPC servers. However, current serverless platforms have millisecond-scale runtime overheads, making them unable to meet the strict sub-millisecond latency targets required by existing interactive microservices.

We present Nightcore, a serverless function runtime with microsecond-scale overheads that provides container-based isolation between functions. Nightcore’s design carefully considers various factors having microsecond-scale overheads, including scheduling of function requests, communication primitives, threading models for I/O, and concurrent function executions. Nightcore currently supports serverless functions written in C/C++, Go, Node.js, and Python. Our evaluation shows that when running latency-sensitive interactive microservices, Nightcore achieves 1.36ל2.93× higher throughput and up to 69% reduction in tail latency.