The functions-as-a-service (FaaS) market is developing rapidly as vendors elevate their offerings to meet enterprise needs. Driving demand is a shift from the cloud-born startup development shop to the large-scale enterprise, where FaaS platforms are helping developers rapidly deploy new capabilities into production without wrangling with Kubernetes clusters or building out application servers.

To help our enterprise clients incorporate FaaS into their development programs, last year, Forrester published Getting Started With Serverless, Demystifying Serverless Computing, and Serverless Development Best Practices. We followed that up this year with The Function-As-A-Service Platforms Landscape, Q1 2023, providng an overview of the core platform providers in the FaaS market, along with a look at some of the players in the extended ecosystem of supporting tools.

The Forrester Wave™: Functions-As-A-Service Platforms, Q2 2023, just published, is focused on serverless development platform offerings in the public cloud. We limited this evaluation to the public cloud to ensure that direct platform comparisons remain valid, but if you are interested in deploying FaaS on edge infrastructure, keep an eye out for our upcoming landscape research and Forrester Wave evaluations on edge development platforms.

Evaluation Criteria And Participants

As with all Forrester Wave research efforts, the evaluation looks at criteria within the vendor’s current offering, strategy, and market presence. For this research, 32 capabilities were grouped into seven categories to evaluate the vendor’s current offering: developer experience, programming model, runtime execution environment, observability, integrations, security features, and support for specialized workloads. In total, 32 different capabilities and eight strategy and market presence criteria were used to evaluate FaaS platforms from 9 major public cloud vendors: Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, DigitalOcean, Google, Huawei Technologies, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Tencent Cloud. For a full working model of all 40 criteria and the associated weightings, Forrester clients can download the full model linked at the top of the Wave report.

This cloud-native development research pushed vendors to demonstrate their ability to provide developers a robust platform to build and deploy serverless functions through both native and third-party capabilities. The current offering capabilities that we evaluated address challenges that organizations are facing in onboarding new developers and delivering secure, scalable solutions that are both cost-efficient and delivered with speed. The evaluation identified which vendors could differentiate themselves the most with strong offerings across all 32 capabilities and help enterprises to deliver on a variety of use cases.

How The Vendors Stacked Up

Right off the bat, the market matured a great deal since the last Forrester Wave. All vendors demonstrated very strong offerings but not always across all 32 capabilities. In some cases, vendors offered a strong capability with a third-party integration but not natively. It might offer a great partner ecosystem in their region but lag behind in terms of global reach. We emphasized strengths that provide the greatest impact to enterprise customers, and the top performers paired strong features to the biggest enterprise needs.

One vendor was best able to demonstrate a strong and differentiating offering across all 32 capabilities, though the other Leaders were not far behind. In this highly competitive market, they demonstrated the ability to offer leading or near-leading capabilities that provide developers the widest range of functionality when developing and deploying functions. The full report, The Forrester Wave™: Functions-As-A-Service Platforms, Q2 2023, provides a deeper dive on the capabilities of each provider and how they stack up against the rest of the market.

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