Serverless computing combines cloud computing with full application functionality. In this article, our PM Mariano Lopez tackles its main benefits and limitations and what to expect from now on.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the availability of computing services, such as servers, databases, storage, networks, software, analysis, and intelligence that can be accessible via the internet and offers a flexible and scalable architecture. It enables us to scale an infrastructure more effectively as a business expands and saves money.
What is serverless computing?
In a serverless computing environment, the resources are allocated as needed by the cloud service provider, which also manages servers on the clients’ behalf. The term “serverless” is somewhat misleading because cloud service providers still run developers’ code on servers. However, the capacity planning, configuration, administration, maintenance, fault tolerance, scalability of containers, virtual machines, and physical servers are managed by the service provider.
Instead of keeping resources in volatile memory, serverless computing does processing in brief bursts. An application is not given any computational resources when it is not in use, and the quantity of resources used by each application impacts the price of the service.
Serverless computing is the cloud of the future
Serverless computing is the next step in cloud computing because it combines cloud computing with full application functionality. It is a scalable, event-driven cloud computing execution model that provides built-in availability and fault tolerance. This enables businesses to create adaptable applications that can be easily scaled in response to a company’s demand and IT requirements. Only a fully functional Application Programming Interface (API) is run by serverless , so businesses can concentrate entirely on developing value-added features and functions.
Serverless is ideal for developing and hosting backend systems that manage web applications, containers, orchestration layers, AI models, and other user interfaces, as well as providing serverless computing services on a pay-per-use basis.
Content related: How to know if it is time to use serverless
Some of the serverless computing benefits
- Reduced operational costs are achieved by using shared runtimes and predefined runtimes (infrastructure is only required for a specific period).
- Faster Time-To-Market: The cloud provider manages the infrastructure, thereby freeing developers to concentrate on key or business responsibilities.
- High Scalability: The cloud provider can automatically manage infrastructure horizontal scaling and scaling up and down. This substantially lowers the cost of scalability compared to the PaaS approach.
Limitations of serverless computing
- Inefficient for long-running applications: The task of long-running execution is much more expensive when compared to a virtual machine or a dedicated server.
- Complex architecture: Many components (microservices, API gateway and cache server, container creation tool) contribute to the complexity of the architecture.
- Provider blockage: Its use is entirely dependent on an external provider. Users do not have complete control over their application.
- The tests and purification are becoming more difficult.
Serverless architecture: Cloud 2.0
Companies used to have to spend money on physical resources to run their own servers. As a result, labor, maintenance, and manufacturing costs rose. However, as the cloud computing industry grew, new services and solutions have emerged. The serverless computing execution model in the cloud has recently gained popularity as a solution to the server problem. Serverless architecture represents a new paradigm. It can help businesses overcome the typical cost and effort barriers that often stymie IT change.
When hosting software applications online, managing a server infrastructure is frequently required. This usually entails managing a physical or virtual server, as well as the operating system and other web server hosting tasks necessary to get an application up and running.
Although there is no need for physical hardware when using a virtual server from a cloud provider, some management of the operating system and web server software is required.
In contrast, serverless architecture users do not need to handle any servers, virtual machines, and containers, and they do not have to care about the scalability of the system since it is done automatically. It allows applications to be activated just when they are needed and charged for a specified period of processing or execution rather than by unit of storage.
Take a look at this: Serverless: From buzzword to reality
FaaS and BaaS
FaaS and BaaS are two different serverless architectures that differ because of how they are adopted. BaaS addresses backend functionality as a whole, whereas FaaS only addresses microservices in applications, responding to events as they occur. In other words, backend functionality is constant, whereas microservices are sporadic events that require immediate response. That is why the set of technologies required to make BaaS and FaaS work is so dissimilar.
Because BaaS addresses numerous backend frameworks, it includes the code required to create push notifications, geolocation, email verification, and a variety of other features.
FaaS can only handle simple events. It cannot handle complex tasks, but it can manage microservices with the speed and accuracy required.
What is BaaS?
BaaS is, at its core, an innovative cloud model that is widely used for developing mobile apps and websites. This third-party service is the custom backend feature set that serves as the foundation for fully functional applications that require only frontend maintenance. As a result, the execution model frees up your team’s time for other tasks rather than testing and deployment.
BaaS supports database management, push notifications, and user authentication, among other features that backend developers can quickly deliver. It provides access to an integrated infrastructure with ready-to-use APIs and SDKs for gaming apps, single page apps, websites, chatbots, and various industrial applications.
What exactly is FaaS? (Function as a Service)
FaaS is a serverless approach that includes ready-to-use code. It allows developers to work on the fly, react to events, and provide microservices.
You can run stand-alone functions (or pre-designed code snippets) in the cloud using the platform. Because FaaS is an event-driven model, it frees your developers from code execution and allows them to focus on other important tasks.
What to expect?
Most businesses have already adopted cloud computing. With its emphasis on technical aspects and a focus on managing virtualized infrastructure via cloud provider APIs, the DevOps movement has made configuring and maintaining servers, storage, and networks increasingly obsolete.
According to a RightScale survey, 81% of companies with 1,000 or more employees have a cross-platform strategy. That figure is expected to exceed 90% by 2024. Between 2018 and 2021, global investment in public cloud services rose 73%, from $160 billion to $277 billion. By 2025, Gartner predicts that 75% of commercial data will be generated and handled outside a cloud or conventional centralized data center. Edge processing is employed by enterprises in over 40% of cloud installations, and by 2022, IDC predicts that 25% of edge devices will run AI algorithms.
Despite all the scalability and cost optimization benefits, serverless architecture is not a magic tool for every case. It is not suitable for long duration tasks, such as those requiring a response from an external resource due to timeout limits. Heavy, CPU-consuming computations will eat up your budget quickly.
There are still a bunch of issues to be solved and concerns to be considered while migrating from a traditional application hosting to a serverless solution. Until now, serverless functions have lacked a critical component required to realize their full potential: peer-to-peer networking.
Many important use cases are either impossible to achieve or require so much heavy lifting that they are out of reach for most application developers without peer-to-peer networking.
The next step in serverless evolution will be to push the distribution even further and deliver it without the need for configuration. This means that our logic and data are distributed across many regions around the world, thereby reducing latency for our end users.
To sum up
Business and technology executives need to find methods to fully use cloud computing to compete effectively in this shifting environment, whether through the tools and systems they choose, the institutions they create, or the business strategies they emphasize. Businesses today may set the stage for success in the future by fusing the power of innovative IT with the distinctive resources they now have (such as customer relationships, excellent service capabilities, strong partnerships, market insights, or technology investment).
Serverless computing reduces many of the operational responsibilities associated with monitoring and expanding large-scale systems for developers. The serveless model is combined with resource scheduling to enable load balancing for applications, and the virtualization technology provides a strong backend and ensures stable performance.
Industry, the scientific community, and open-source organizations have made great progress in delivering critical programming concepts and tools despite many ongoing hurdles. Faster development, serverless deployment, lower running costs, and easier administration are just a few of the benefits of serverless computing.