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Before the rise of serverless computing, businesses, more particularly the IT teams, were grappling with a series of challenges due to their increasing dependency on traditional server-based architectures.
To begin with, they were always unsure about the computing resources they would need to manage workloads efficiently. Estimating the computing needs and provisioning resources would strain their productivity.
However, the arrival of serverless computing upended the entire tech industry and helped businesses across industries imbibe a new sense of innovation and free up resources that led to increased time-to-time and improved customer satisfaction.
Here in this blog, we will help you understand how serverless computing can be a game-changer for businesses like yours and how to leverage this technology to ramp up your bottom line.
What is serverless computing?
Serverless computing is a complete game-changer for businesses increasingly leveraging technology as a strategic differentiator to build innovative solutions and enhance customer service. It's this new way of doing things where companies no longer have to worry about setting up or taking care of physical servers. Instead, these cloud companies handle all the nitty-gritty details of getting computing power ready and running. So, developers get to kick back and focus on what they do best: writing code.
Functions are pivotal for serverless computing to work. These functions are often small, event-triggered pieces of code that execute specific tasks. These functions are executed in stateless, ephemeral containers, activated by events such as HTTP requests, database changes, or timers. As a result, serverless computing allows for dynamic scaling, where resources are allocated in response to demand, ensuring optimal performance without manual intervention. Key players like Amazon Web Services (AWS) Lambda, Microsoft Azure Functions, and Google Cloud Functions are leading the charge in enabling serverless capabilities, with many companies across sectors migrating to this approach to enhance efficiency and innovation.
Serverless computing vs. traditional server-based computing (How it differs from earlier technology)
In many ways, serverless computing is the complete opposite of traditional computing models that depend on on-premises servers or data centers. At its core, serverless computing takes the weight off a developer’s shoulders and places it somewhere unknown (often, a cloud service provider, such as Google Cloud or Amazon AWS.) In such a setup, technology teams can focus on what matters the most (the architecture, the features, and the security aspects of the application being built) and considerably less on the computing side.
How businesses stand to gain big from serverless computing
- Improved developer productivity
Serverless technology allows your development team to focus on writing neat and clean code instead of wasting their time and resources on provisioning, managing, or scaling infrastructure.
- Rapid deployment
With serverless, DevOps teams don’t have to spend time defining any of the infrastructure needed for integration, testing, delivering, or deploying code. They simply write and deploy into production.
- Build with any language
Serverless computing allows development teams to build in any language or framework they are comfortable with, whether it’s Java, Node.js, Go, Python, .NET, or something else.
- Out-of-box scalability
A serverless architecture has an inherent ability to scale both upwards and downwards. In contrast to autoscaling methods in traditional cloud computing models that demand precise rule adjustments, the autoscaling feature in serverless setups is immediate and can even reduce scaling to a complete halt, down to zero.
- Flexible pricing
Companies struggle with the skyrocketing costs associated with owning and operating traditional data centers or servers, where they even need to incur expenses for idle capacity. This is not the case with serverless systems where the pricing models are based on the actual usage of compute and the time it takes to execute a function. With serverless services in AWS, Google Cloud, or any other service provider, you can reduce your operational costs while paving the way for faster development and deployment.
Companies of all shapes and sizes can interweave serverless computing in their technical arsenal to reap its benefits and, along the way, transform how they innovate, collaborate, and deliver value to their customers. However, you should also understand that serverless computing has limitations that must be addressed effectively.
Serverless use cases — Leading-edge brands generate intrinsic business value with serverless computing
Driven by a rapid rise in the demand for cloud computing and microservices, serverless technology saw a dramatic surge in its adoption across industries. Other factors that led to the growth in the serverless computing market included the increasing focus of business and tech leaders to enhance their agility, scalability, and pace of innovation without increasing costs. The companies that adopted serverless technology saw significant results. Here are a few leading-edge companies that harnessed the technology to reduce operational costs while improving developer productivity and customer satisfaction.
Slack: A cloud-based business communication platform that uses a serverless application called Marbot to send notifications from AWS to DevOps teams.
Netflix: Amazon Web Services Lambda is used by Netflix to run tasks that would otherwise require a great deal of computing time and effort.
Coca-Cola: AWS-based vending machine software. Since the vending machines communicate with the head office and transmit data for inventory and marketing purposes, the ability to pay for actual consumption significantly reduced the cost of the whole project.
Serverless computing is not a silver bullet
Eliminating the need to build and maintain the underlying infrastructure (servers) has its share of benefits. However, it can not solve all your business problems. Here are some disadvantages that often come when choosing serverless technology.
Drawbacks of serverless computing:
- Relinquished control over servers: Shifting to a serverless architecture leads to significantly reduced control over direct server management.
- Security concerns: Serverless companies may run your code along with multiple other clients on a single server, thus exposing your systems and applications to increased security risks. Isolation between clients can be challenging to ensure.
- Testing complexity: Replicating the production environment for testing purposes can be intricate within a serverless setup.
- Performance can take a hit: Serverless architectures can exhibit performance fluctuations since the code may run on different servers across executions, leading to varying processing times.
- Less economical for prolonged processes: Serverless services are billed based on code runtime, which makes them less cost-effective for tasks with extended processing times.
To make an informed choice between server and serverless computing, it's essential to thoroughly understand the advantages and disadvantages of each solution and align them with the specific needs of your business.
Serverless computing abstracts all the complexities of infrastructure management and allows companies to build and run applications at the speed of business. It also emerges as a quick way to gain agility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness in operations. However, like every other technology, it has its pros and cons, and thus, companies need to deliberate on whether they will benefit from serverless architecture or should stay away from it.
Whether you want to explore more about serverless platforms or supercharge your applications or development efforts with leading-edge serverless services, Kellton can help. To initiate a conversation, please connect with our experts.