What Is Serverless Architecture?

Serverless Architecture and Cloud Computing

With technology advancing at lightning speeds, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and like you’re being left behind. Serverless architecture (or serverless computing) is the latest big trend on offer from leading companies such as AWS, Google Cloud, IBM and Azure, among others.

Changes to company technology used to require careful evaluation because of the inevitable disruption to operations; the cloud is now totally reversing this practice. In the most basic terms, serverless computing allows providers to offer their customers a safer, infinitely scalable and more affordable way to run web applications and services.

While the topic of serverless architecture may seem complex, we’ve broken down the key points to make things easier to digest. Read on to learn about how serverless architecture could impact you or for more small business themed blogs, visit the Small Business page now.

The basics of how serverless computing works

To understand serverless architecture it’s important to first know how a traditional web application architecture functions. In this instance, you must manage your own infrastructure and maintain it so that it meets your scalability and security requirements.

Now, managing a traditional architecture typically requires you to scale-up your own servers by increasing capacity, upgrading to something larger, or running a number of different servers. The problem here is that detailed planning and effective resource management is necessary for traditional architectures while they also cost more.

So, how does a serverless architecture function in comparison? The actual approach is totally different as developers aren’t required to manage the infrastructure; this is all taken care by the cloud provider. Developers simply upload code to the cloud provider and everything will be completed in real time.

In terms of cost, going serverless is far superior. The interaction between cloud providers and developers is event-triggered and this means it’s (normally) measured in increments of 100 milliseconds. When it comes to billing, this is clearly a more cost-effective way of doing things.

What are the positives of going serverless?

As previously mentioned, one for the main benefits of serverless computing is that operation costs can be reduced. You’re essentially outsourcing your infrastructure operations, management and maintenance to a provider to take of. But with serverless architecture you only pay for the computing power that you use (generally measured in increments of 100 milliseconds). This is ideal for applications that require different load requirements or if your data requirements are low to medium.

Scalability is another huge benefit of serverless architecture. To put simply, serverless is infinitely scalable and this is all done automatically. Every aspect of scaling is handled by your provider and there is no limit on the amount of memory that you can access at any given time.

Additionally, serverless architecture mainly operates with web applications having to be broken down into separate concerns. In combination with isolated processes, functions that go down will not crash your server or cause other functions to fail. These added layers of security make addressing malfunctions far easier as well as causing less disruption to web applications and services.

What are the negatives of going serverless?

400x400

Unfortunately, serverless computing does have a few drawbacks to consider before you decide to switch. There is an aspect of control that you will lose when making the switch as you hand over a lot of power to your provider. You could face problems such as downtime, sudden data limitations, pricing changes, degraded functionality, mandatory API upgrades as well as others.

While there are huge cost benefits to be had when using serverless computing, running processes for a long time may incur larger costs. In this situation it’s worth considering running your own server, but this comes with added costs of having to maintain, manage and operate everything yourself. In the end, it’s going to be a judgement call based on what’s right for the unique needs of your business.

As with handing over aspects of control, you’ll also be ‘married’ to your provider of choice. This is due to the different programming frameworks that each provider utilises and this makes it harder to transfer if you wanted to switch to someone different. So, if you do decide to switch you’ll probably have to amend your operational tools as well as changing your code to suit your new provider.

To help avoid any unnecessary issues, it’s really worth taking the time to thoroughly research any provider you’re interested in before committing to a deal.

While making the switch to serverless architecture might seem a little daunting, Saxons has the expertise to manage the transition for you. To find out how our skilled team can help you with serverless computing today, please visit the IT Solutions page now.

Alternatively, you can read our other small business inspired blogs by visiting the Small Business page now.