Serverless Computing allows building applications without managing the infrastructure. Serverless doesn’t mean there are not any servers involved in application development. Servers are involved but they are provided as a back end service by a cloud vendor. A Serverless architecture enables software organizations to focus only on writing and deploying the code without worrying about the servers or underlying infrastructure. A cloud provider provides the complete back end services that include setting up the server, maintaining the server, managing the load balance, etc. The cloud provider allocates resources dynamically and charges based on consumption. The provider takes care of all hardware, virtual machine and container management.
Harnessing serverless infrastructure has revolutionized the way companies build software applications. It allows organizations to focus only on building the application without spending hours on implementing, maintaining and monitoring the infrastructure. In the cloud execution model, the provider allows dynamic scaling based on the organization’s requirement. The cloud provider holds the responsibility of allocation and provisioning of servers based on demand. The cloud execution model is also cost-effective as the pricing is based on time and memory allocated to run the code.
There are many serverless computing providers. Some of them include:
- AWS Lambda
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Cloud
- IBM Cloud
Serverless computing Models
Serverless computing services offered by cloud providers can be classified into the below platforms:
Function as a Service
Function as a Service is a serverless architecture that allows executing code in response to events. In this model, the cloud service provider enables the customer to deploy a piece of code and pay for the length of the time the code executes. This new model of cloud computing is mostly used to build microservices. Many cloud vendors are offering FaaS. Some of them include Microsoft Azure Functions, Google Cloud Functions, AWS Lambda, IBM cloud functions.
Backend as a Service
In Backend as a Service (Baas), the cloud service provider offers all back end services for a web or mobile application. The developer writes the code for the application frontend and outsources all back end activities to the BaaS vendor. The vendor provides cloud storage and manages activities that include database management, authentication and remote updating.
Serverless architecture offers numerous benefits to an enterprise. Some of them are listed below:
- Cost-Effective than renting or purchasing dedicated servers
- Scaling on demand
- Efficient use of resources
- Fewer maintenance tasks in managing infrastructure
- Rapid and Easy Deployment
- Eliminates hiring backend engineers
- Event-Driven and executed on demand
- Quick turnaround
- Ready to use third party services
- Reduced operational costs
There are some challenges with serverless architecture:
- Security vulnerabilities compared to traditional architecture
- Privacy issues as the application are shared with external resources
- Difficult to break contract and switch vendor
- Dependent on the vendor for debugging
In a nutshell, serverless computing is a new approach to application development. Organizations choose serverless computing to build flexible, scalable applications and to reduce the time to market. It increases the productivity of the developers as they focus only on the application code and business logic.