Serverless computing, Serverless architecture or just Serverless, is picking up faster in the application development world. Three of the biggest cloud vendors – Google, Microsoft, and Amazon – have been deeply invested in this new concept. The latest news from Microsoft highlights the commitment behind this technology.
Naturally, Serverless architecture has triggered a lot of interest and sparked an intense discourse on the viability of Serverless architecture and its potential to change operational processes. Let’s examine the different aspects of Serverless architecture to understand why it’s being touted as the future of cloud computing.
What is Serverless Architecture?
Despite its nomenclature, the term Serverless does not mean an absence of servers. Simply put, the concept of Serverless is based on components of an application being distributed between different servers, eliminating the need for application owners to build or maintain the infrastructure to support these. This means the responsibility of putting together and maintaining the infrastructure is shifted to the computing service provider.
So, while Serverless may not actually be without servers, it does exactly what it promises – freeing application developers from the burden of installing, maintaining, tweaking and scaling a server.
At the very foundational level, this model offers the following key capabilities:
- Running code residing as functions independent of the user having to explicitly provide the infrastructure or manage it.
- Using an API that can associate a function with events that can act as triggers for its execution.
- Automatically provisioning and scaling a runtime environment needed to execute a function.
- Offering additional platform capabilities such as monitoring and logging for service assurance.
Serverless Architecture Use Cases
For most organizations, the idea of Serverless can still seem a little abstract. The right understating of the tools and best practices that enable Serverless computing to bring in full functionality with minimal coding and other peripherals can help bring a lot of clarity on the matter. These use cases can help with that:
- Backend for Mobile or Web: You can create fully Serverless websites and mobile application with user-facing content in both static web and native mobile apps. This front-end content can then be integrated with an API Gateway in the form of a backend service API.
- Virtual Assistants and Chatbots: It helps you build new ways to interact with your customers through virtual assistants and chatbots that can engage with users not just on your website or mobile app but also company’s social media pages.
- Internet of Things (IoT): You can implement Serverless architecture to backend operations for creating highly scalable and secure IoT applications that can be used in intelligent manufacturing facilities and connected consumer appliances.
Benefits of Serverless Architecture
Given that it is being positioned as the future of cloud computing, the advantages of Serverless Architecture are many. Let’s closely examine the top benefits of this new model:
- The first, and most relevant, the advantage is a sizeable reduction in costs. Not only in comparison to the cost of on-premises hardware servers but also vis-a-vis the cost of a typical cloud computing set up. Since different components of the application are stored on different servers you pay for just what you use and eliminate all costs incurred for idle time.
- It increases the possibility of using third-party services manifold. A major chunk of server-side logic can be implemented through third-party services such as BaaS. For example, database hosting for an application can be done through AWS DynamoDB. This reduces the development effort for mobile application backend architecture.
- Scalability is one feature all applications developers strive to achieve. With Serverless, you can be rest assured of an immensely scalable solution at least as far as horizontal scaling is concerned. Computing resources can be quickly cloned and distribute to measure up to the increased load without an exponential increase in costs.
- The approach of deploying applications as different functions allows you to increase the overall resilience of your product. Since each function is independent of the other, a single failure does not impact the overall performance of the application.
- With Serverless architecture, service availability is no longer a customer concern but the responsibility of the third-party provider.
To Go Serverless or Not?
The answer to that question depends on your own business needs, goals and resources. That said, Serverless architecture can prove to be a bankable option of easy and quick deployment of scalable web and mobile apps with rich UI.
Connect with our experts if you have any queries on Serverless architecture. Leave a comment below.