Apache OpenWhisk is an open-source and serverless cloud platform developed for building cloud applications. The platform executes functions in response to events at any scale, offers rich software design for creating serverless APIs from functions, and uses a function-as-a-service (FaaS) model. Furthermore, it utilizes the model to manage infrastructure, cloud-based applications, and servers.

How Does Apache OpenWhisk Work?

Apache OpenWhisk is an event-driven platform executing code in response to events. It employs a trigger-action architecture invoked from external sources logic called actions. Triggers can originate from HTTP requests, database changes, IoT sensors, message queues etc.

Moreover, actions execute in runtime containers managed by OpenWhisk, providing a serverless, auto-scaling execution environment. The platform supports writing actions in languages like Node.js, Python, Swift, Java, etc.

The open-source platform dynamically allocates resources to execute on-demand code in response to triggers. Based on the load, this allows the system to scale automatically.

Overall, the OpenWhisk programming model can help modernize existing applications by making them event-driven.

Features of Apache OpenWhisk:

OpenWhisk offers numerous features for its users:

  1. Serverless platform: The platform doesn’t require any servers to manage as it runs application logic in response to events on a serverless execution environment.
  2. Event-driven: OpenWhisk enables writing event-driven logic, and functions are triggered by events, like HTTP requests, messages, or data changes.
  3. Open-source: A freely available-to-use platform modified under the Apache Software License and community-driven.
  4. Portable: Can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or at the edge on various environments including Kubernetes, Mesos, bare metal and cloud VMs.
  5. Distributed: It has a distributed architecture, scaling across servers and environments.
  6. Multi-tenancy: The platform isolates users, teams, or applications by supporting multiple namespaces.
  7. Multiple language support: Supports writing actions in multiple languages including JavaScript, Python, Swift, Java, PHP, Ruby.
  8. Scalability: To execute desired codes, the system rapidly spawns additional containers and handles traffic bursts.

Use Cases of Apache OpenWhisk:

  • Microservices: To quickly scale and update applications the platform breaks down complex applications into small, independent functions. In addition, it develops and manages microservices without worrying about server infrastructure.
  • Data processing: Employs short-lived functions triggered by data changes to perform efficient data transformations, filtering, and analysis. Based on the data volume, it dynamically scales compute resources.
  • IoT: OpenWhisk’s event-driven nature and ability to handle high volumes make it ideal for IoT scenarios. Furthermore, it triggers actions in response to sensor data or device events to automate IoT processes.
  • Real-time analytics: Performs real-time analytics with low latency and high scalability in response to data insertion into a message queue or database.
  • Serverless workflows: Compose multiple functions into complex workflows triggered by events. Therefore, it enables complex data processing pipelines and event-driven architectures to deprive of server management.
  • Machine learning Interface
  • Image and Video analysis
  • Chatbots and AI
  • Serverless functions as a service (FaaS)

Benefits of Apache OpenWhisk:

The software is developed and maintained by the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), one of the largest organizations supporting open source software. Rather than the infrastructure, the software focuses on the code for supporting.

The platform quickly deploys and iterates on applications through its per-request scaling and automatic resource allocation. OpenWhisk is vigorous, supporting countless concurrent triggers and actions, and its development is largely driven by IBM and Adobe.

Lastly, the serverless cloud platform design saves time by eliminating the need for infrastructure debugging, monitoring, and maintenance.


In conclusion, Apache OpenWhisk is an open-source and serverless cloud platform developed for building cloud applications. It offers several features like serverless architecture, event-driven environment, scalability, multiple language support and, etc.

From microservices to serverless functions as a service (FaaS), users can unlock a world of possibilities across diverse use cases. Additionally, you can dive into the lively community, explore its rich ecosystem, and experience the freedom of serverless development.