Everything You Need To Know About Serverless Computing

What is serverless computing?

Serverless computing is an umbrella term that covers various cloud-based models for deploying and managing applications. The defining characteristic of serverless computing is that it does not require the user to provision or manage servers. This can be done in several ways, but the most common implementation is through the use of Functions-as-a-Service (FaaS).

 

Serverless computing is described as “the concept of building and running applications that do not require server management. It describes a finer-grained deployment model where applications, bundled as one or more functions, are uploaded to a platform and then executed, scaled, and billed in response to the exact demand needed at the moment.” By the CNCF, Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

 

Instead, the user uploads their application code to a cloud provider and the provider takes care of deploying and managing the servers needed to run the application. This can greatly reduce the time and effort required to get an application up and running.

 

One can subdivide serverless computing models into two categories: function-as-a-service (FaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS). FaaS is a model where individual functions or small pieces of code are run in response to events, such as incoming requests from users or data changes in a database. PaaS is a model where entire applications are run on behalf of the user, including all necessary dependencies like databases and messaging queues.

 

The term “serverless” can be misleading, as servers are still used in these models. However, the user does not need to worry about managing or provisioning them.

 

What are some of the benefits of serverless computing?

Serverless computing has some benefits that make it an attractive option for deploying and managing applications. Some of these benefits include:

 

Increased agility and flexibility

It enables users to deploy and manage applications with greater agility and flexibility. There is no need to provision or manage servers, which can be a time-consuming and complex process.

 

Lower costs

It can be significantly less expensive than traditional models for deploying and managing applications. Users only pay for the resources they use, and there is no need to purchase or maintain servers.

 

Increased scalability

Users can scale their applications up or down quickly and easily in response to changes in demand. This is because the cloud provider manages the infrastructure, and no changes are required on the user’s part.

 

Improved efficiency

By streamlining the process of deploying and managing applications. This eliminates the need to manage servers, which can be a time-consuming and complex process.

 

Enhanced reliability

Serverless computing can improve reliability by ensuring that applications are always available. 

 

What are some of the disadvantages of serverless computing?

While there are many benefits to serverless computing, potential disadvantages need to be considered as well. Some of these disadvantages of serverless computing include:

 

Security

One potential disadvantage of serverless computing is that it can be less secure than traditional models for deploying and managing applications. This is because it relies on third-party services, which may not have the same security features as in-house servers.

 

Complexity

It can be more complex to use than traditional models for deploying and managing applications. Debugging can be more difficult as data may be coming from multiple locations and be tough to track down.

 

Privacy

Serverless computing can also raise privacy concerns, as user data may be stored in third-party repositories. This could potentially lead to data breaches or other security incidents.

 

Lack of Control

One final disadvantage of serverless computing is that users may have less control over their applications than they would with traditional models. This is because they rely on the cloud provider to manage all the necessary infrastructures.

 

What are the uses of serverless computing?

Serverless computing can be used for a variety of different applications, including web applications, mobile apps, where your business functions can be exposed as a REST API that your app consumes.

 

Apart from HTTP related use cases, serverless computing moreover, FaaS can be leveraged to:

 

Automate CI/CD pipelines

Developer actions can trigger automated actions to test or deploy to production. Process IOT data deals with a large amount of data from multiple devices and scales in a sustainable, struggle-free way.

 

Handle database logic

Deal with insert, update, trigger, delete actions on a database, and trigger asynchronous logic to make changes to another table or the same table.

 

Run short scheduled tasks

Jobs requiring parallel computation like sending mass emails or cron invocations.

 

Best serverless computing platforms:

AWS Lambda

It now supports Nodejs python go java c#. All you need to do is upload your code to lambda and it will handle the executions, which can be manually or automated through other AWS services like AWS API gateway. AWS offers 1 million requests and 400,000 GB-seconds compute time at no cost under the free tier.

 

Google Cloud

Google provides App engine a platform for web and mobile applications where you can deploy PHP, python, c#, node.js, ruby, go. You pay for what you use and can scale on-demand. Google also has Cloud functions, a FaaS to run node.js and python applications in the cloud.

 

Azure Functions

An Event-driven FaaS service that supports Node.js, C#, F#, Java, Python, PHP, Typescript, Bash, PowerShell. Pricing on-demand and Azure offers 1 million executions for FREE every month.

 

Cloudflare Workers

Cloudflare lets you execute JavaScript as a serverless function at as low as 5$ per month. 

 

Stackpath

Stackpath is a CDN that offers serverless scripting that runs your code at the edge, i.e., closest to the user, therefore, reducing latency lower than 50ms

 

Serverless technology can help developers and organizations focus on their applications and business goals, rather than on managing and scaling infrastructure. With so many different applications, careful consideration should be given to when it is most appropriate. Serverless Computing is a great fit for short-lived, event-driven processing.

 

Serverless computing is on the rise, and it has the potential to transform your business. Contact us today to learn how serverless computing can help you achieve your business goals. 

 

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