Serverless Computing Architecture: Benefits, Limitations, and Vendors
In recent times, the use and utilization of serverless computing architecture have significantly increased. This adoption’s key purpose is to increase automated scaling on a need-by-need basis and substantially reduce operating expenses.
The adoption of rapid application development and a rising need to reduce server maintenance are two of the most important factors driving the emergence of serverless architecture.
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What is Serverless Computing Architecture?
Serverless computing enables developers to focus solely on the front end of a website or application without considering any back-end operations.
The front-end of a website or application consists of visible, interactive, and memorable components – namely the graphics, typography, and other visual characteristics.
The back-end of a website or app consists of the components that consumers do not see, yet are necessary for a seamless online experience. These back-end components may include:
- Data files: The back-end is where various data is stored. These can be inventories of available items, locations of open stores, and lists of blog articles
- Processing: The back-end is the data crunching occurs. Every user interaction needs processing power, memory, and storage
- Security: Users may need to log in to see specific data. While the user is presented with the login page to enter their credential, the actual function happens in the back
These back-end functions are made up of separate pieces of code that don’t do anything until a user needs them.
Developers write application code and put it into the serverless computing environment. It stays there and waits for something to happen to start the code, such as a user action. When that happens, the serverless computing provider takes over and runs the code in the cloud. After the event, the code goes back to sleep.
In the serverless computing model, these separate pieces of code are called “functions.” For example, a website might have a feature that lets users upload photos that are resized and then formatted. The function starts when a user uploads a picture.
Scaling is possible because the serverless model is based on these functions, which may or may not be running all the time. If the website or app gets many visitors, the cloud can provide more space and processing power (for a fee). If there is less traffic, there is less need, so the price decreases.
The serverless model can sound undefined. However, true serverless applications have four attributes:
- Variable in price: You only pay for what you use
- Self-maintaining: You, the client, do not to perform server maintenance
- Scalable: Serverless architecture can be scaled up and down continuously with no client input
- Reliable: Serverless computing providers operate high availability and fault tolerance environments
Understanding Function as a Service (FaaS)
When learning about Serverless, it’s important to know what Functions-as-a-Service, or “FaaS,” means. Even though Serverless and FaaS are sometimes used interchangeably, it is essential to understand that they are not the same thing.
FaaS means developers can break down their apps and run them without knowing anything about the server underneath. The reason is that the developer is no longer in charge of them. Instead, the Cloud provider is in charge of them. So, basically, FaaS makes it easier to put applications in the Cloud.
FaaS makes it easier for a developer to put software into use because it focuses on the services themselves instead of the server platform.
Serverless Computing: The Advantages and Disadvantages
By utilizing the serverless computing model, developers do not need to be concerned with server configuration, capacity management, maintenance, fault management, or support.
As a result of this fundamental advantage, serverless architecture is favored by many businesses.
Key Benefits of Serverless Computing Architecture
As stated previously, serverless architecture has grown in popularity since it is an event-driven architecture whose primary purpose is to save expenses. Here are some advantages of a serverless architecture:
Serverless architecture can be significantly more cost-effective than installing and maintaining real servers. There are cloud service providers with a pay-as-you-go pricing model.
This is a highly lucrative choice, as consumers are not charged for virtual computers or servers that are not in use.
This design may be more cost-effective by offering efficient bin-packing of machine resources rather than an auto-scale mode.
Deployment is an essential component of every system. Serverless architecture might be advantageous for software as a service.
Using this design, customers may deploy solutions in hours and days instead of the standard framework’s weeks and months.
This makes the task of users even simpler since they just need to concentrate on the coding and front end of the program and may quickly release it.
While serverless designs provide scalability, concurrent constraints must be considered, as this architecture is essentially an event-driven system, each application subcomponent is autonomous.
This implies that, in the case of a failure, just the specific subcomponent is affected.
Since developers do not need to focus on server-level maintenance and support, they just need to concentrate on application deployment and code.
This boosts the developer’s productivity and facilitates the quick growth of operations.
Providers of serverless architecture, namely cloud providers, are responsible for satisfying the capacity requirements of developers so that developers do not have to spend time configuring auto-scale capacity.
In contrast, depending on the application’s traffic, the instances on the server are automatically added or withdrawn, hence ensuring the application’s scalability.
Serverless Architecture: Understanding its Limitations
serverless computing architecture isn’t perfect. It is still a developing design, leaving some adopters unprepared. Here are some of the limitations of serverless computing:
- Long-running application inefficiencies: Long-running workloads might be more expensive to execute on serverless. Utilizing a dedicated server is frequently more effective.
- Third-party dependency: Serverless design needs reliance on the service provider. You lack complete control, and changes may affect you without warning. The availability of the platform is contingent upon its terms.
- Cold starts: When a platform must commence its own resources, this is referred to as a “cold start.” Your serverless architecture may require some time to process the initial function request. You may prevent a “cold start” by maintaining the function’s active status. Periodically making queries to it serves this purpose.
Leading Vendors of Serverless Computing
Most cloud-based serverless architecture providers provide it as a FaaS. (Function-as-a-Service):
- AWS Lambda: AWS Lambda, developed by Amazon and released for the first time in 2014, focuses on event-driven, serverless computing and interaction with AWS.
- Cloudflare Workers: Cloudflare is the most recent addition to this list, having introduced Cloudflare Workers in 2018. Its primary objective is to build a platform that can rapidly distribute code throughout the globe using edge and performance computing.
- IBM Cloud Functions: IBM announced its IBM Cloud Functions serverless computing solution in 2016. This system offers event-driven and serverless computing using the Apache OpenWhisk open-source project.
- Google Cloud Functions: Google Cloud Functions was designed by Google and distributed for the first time in 2016. This solution provides serverless computing, similar to Microsoft and Amazon’s. Google Cloud Functions supports GCP connectors, which is a distinct element.
- Microsoft Azure Functions: This is a Microsoft product that was released in 2016 for the first time. AWS Lambda offers event-driven and serverless computing and interaction with Azure Services.
Next Steps: Why should you adopt Serverless Computing Architecture?
Serverlessness enables developers to concentrate on what they do best: writing code. Businesses are utilizing this increased agility to build, test, and iterate on apps more swiftly than their competitors and to create new customer-beneficial applications.
As businesses outsource the management of their servers and databases, becoming serverless is a terrific method to save money.
In addition, serverless computing requires fewer computer resources and personnel. No longer must hundreds of thousands of dollars be spent on servers.
DevOps is no longer responsible for upgrading and adding compute resources, a significant advantage of serverless computing. Serverless applications can swiftly, smoothly, and automatically scale up to handle traffic surges; conversely, they may also scale down to accommodate fewer concurrent users.
Reduced operational expenses and more innovation are two of the tangible business benefits of serverless computing.
It also enables developers to construct scalable, dependable systems more rapidly and simply than with server-based designs. The capacity to increase agility and decrease time-to-market provides substantial commercial benefits.
Serverless computing enables businesses to develop and test new goods or services swiftly, then pivot effortlessly in response to market feedback.