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Hands-on: Create Your First Serverless Application in Apache OpenWhisk

An open source serverless platform from IBM, OpenWhisk is available in two modes, hosted and on-premises. Developers can easily get started with it for implementing event-driven, loosely coupled functions. IBM along with Adobe has submitted OpenWhisk to Apache Software Foundation, and was accepted as an incubation project.

Last week, we ran a tutorial on getting OpenWhisk running in the Bluemix cloud environment. This article covers the setup process and the steps in involved in configuring and testing OpenWhisk in your local environment. It then explores the key concepts to create actions, triggers, and rules. Within 45 minutes, you will be able to write and deploy your first serverless application in OpenWhisk.

Apache OpenWhisk’s architecture reflects a modern, containerized, distributed system. It’s fascinating to see how multiple technologies are utilized in designing this first open source serverless platform.

Setting up, Configuring, and Testing Apache OpenWhisk in a VM

Let’s first set up a Vagrant box to run Apache OpenWhisk on a Mac or Windows. It involves configuring both the platform and the command line interface (CLI).

Configuring the platform is simple and straightforward. Just clone the GitHub repoand run a command.

$ git clone

$ cd openwhisk/tools/vagrant

$ ./hello

Depending on your Internet bandwidth, this process takes approximately 30 minutes to finish. Wait till you see the following output on the screen:

wsk action invoke /whisk.system/utils/echo -p message hello --blocking --result


   "message": "hello"


Now that OpenWhisk is up and running, let’s go ahead and configure wsk, the CLI. Depending on the platform you are using, download the appropriate binary from the OpenWhisk site.

On a Mac or Linux, run the following commands to add wsk to the path.

$ chmod +x ./wsk

$ sudo mv wsk /usr/local/bin

Before we start using the CLI on the local machine, we need to point it to the Vagrant box. We also need a token to get authenticated with OpenWhisk. We can retrieve that by logging into the Vagrant box.

Read the entire article at The New Stack

Janakiram MSV is an analyst, advisor, and architect. Follow him on Twitter,  Facebook and LinkedIn.

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More Stories By Janakiram MSV

Janakiram MSV heads the Cloud Infrastructure Services at Aditi Technologies. He was the founder and CTO of Get Cloud Ready Consulting, a niche Cloud Migration and Cloud Operations firm that recently got acquired by Aditi Technologies. In his current role, he leads a highly talented engineering team that focuses on migrating and managing applications deployed on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.
Janakiram is an industry analyst with deep understanding of Cloud services. Through his speaking, writing and analysis, he helps businesses take advantage of the emerging technologies. He leverages his experience of engaging with the industry in developing informative and practical research, analysis and authoritative content to inform, influence and guide decision makers. He analyzes market trends, new products / features, announcements, industry happenings and the impact of executive transitions.
Janakiram is one of the first few Microsoft Certified Professionals on Windows Azure in India. Demystifying The Cloud, an eBook authored by Janakiram is downloaded more than 100,000 times within the first few months. He is the Chief Editor of a popular portal on Cloud called that covers the latest trends in Cloud Computing. Janakiram is an analyst with the GigaOM Pro analyst network where he analyzes the Cloud Services landscape. He is a guest faculty at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H) where he teaches Big Data and Cloud Computing to students enrolled for the Masters course. As a passionate speaker, he has chaired the Cloud Computing track at premier events in India.
He has been the keynote speaker at many premier conferences, and his seminars are attended by thousands of architects, developers and IT professionals. His sessions are rated among the best in every conference he participates.
Janakiram has worked at the world-class product companies including Microsoft Corporation, Amazon Web Services and Alcatel-Lucent. Joining as the first employee of Amazon Web Services in India, he was the AWS Technology Evangelist. Prior to that, Janakiram spent 10 years at Microsoft Corporation where he was involved in selling, marketing and evangelizing the Microsoft Application Platform and Tools.