What is Serverless Computing
Updated on 19th Oct, 23 9.1K Views

The way businesses develop and deliver applications is changing because of a revolutionary technology called serverless computing. Businesses can significantly save on costs with serverless computing because they only pay for the resources they use. Additionally, serverless computing offers automatic scaling, allowing businesses to grow their applications and services to satisfy customer demand swiftly. So let’s find out why companies should consider using serverless computing!

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Introduction to Serverless Computing

Serverless computing refers to the methodology of building and running applications and services without having direct control over the underlying infrastructure. It frees developers from the need to manage servers, storage, and networking, providing them with a platform that handles these aspects in the background. This approach empowers developers to focus their efforts on creating and refining their applications and services without being burdened by the complexities of infrastructure management. 

Function-as-a-Service, or “FaaS,” is another name for serverless computing. In the FaaS concept, programmers create and submit their code to a serverless platform. The serverless platform then executes the code and controls the supporting infrastructure. Depending on the application or service demand, the platform will dynamically scale the resources as necessary.

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Benefits of Serverless Computing

There are several benefits of serverless computing to businesses, allowing them to stay competitive in a rapidly changing market. There are several reasons why serverless computing has become popular among developers. 

Some of the key benefits of using serverless computing include:

  • Auto-scaling: Serverless applications can automatically adjust to handle unexpected traffic spikes without manual intervention. This saves time and resources in managing infrastructure, ensuring your application remains responsive even during traffic surges.
  • Pay-per-Use: With a pay-per-use model, you only pay for the resources your function consumes while it’s running, reducing costs compared to traditional server-based solutions. You have cost-efficiency without worrying about idle resources.
  • Faster Time to Market: Serverless computing eliminates the need to manage servers, allowing developers to focus on code development. This accelerates the time it takes for new apps to reach the market, giving your organization a competitive edge.
  • Reduced Operational Overhead: Cloud providers manage the underlying infrastructure, which lowers operational expenses and simplifies application management for developers, allowing your team to focus on innovation, not infrastructure.
  • Language and Framework Flexibility: Serverless computing supports multiple programming languages and frameworks, giving businesses the flexibility to choose what best suits their needs. You can work with the tools and languages that align with your project’s goals and your team’s expertise.

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How does Serverless Computing Work?

In a serverless architecture, developers only need to write and deploy code, and the cloud provider takes care of the rest. When a user sends a request to an application, the cloud provider automatically provisions the necessary resources, runs the code, and charges the user based on the resources used. It makes serverless computing ideal for applications with unpredictable or fluctuating traffic, as developers only pay for the resources they use.

Serverless computing is often used with Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) platforms, such as AWS Lambda, Azure Functions, or Google Cloud Functions. FaaS platforms allow developers to write code in the form of functions, which are small, self-contained pieces of code that perform a specific task. These functions can be triggered by events, such as a user uploading a file or a database update, and can be written in various programming languages.

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Serverless Computing Tools

Serverless Computing Tools

For serverless computing, there are a variety of tools, each with a special set of features and advantages. Developers can choose the option that best satisfies their needs, allowing them to write and distribute code swiftly and worry-free.

  • AWS Lambda- Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers the serverless computing technology known as AWS Lambda. It enables programmers to create and distribute code without concern about the supporting infrastructure. Multiple programming languages are supported by AWS Lambda, which also connects with other AWS services.
  • Google Cloud Functions- A serverless computing platform is offered by Google Cloud through Google Cloud Functions. It enables programmers to create and publish code that reacts to actions taken by other Google Cloud services. Multiple programming languages, such as Node.js, Python, etc., are supported by Google Cloud Functions.
  • Microsoft Azure Functions- The serverless computing platform provided by Microsoft Azure is called Microsoft Azure Functions. It enables programmers to create and publish code that reacts to actions taken by other Azure services. C#, Java, and Python are just a few of the programming languages supported by Azure Functions.
  • IBM Cloud Functions- The serverless computing platform offered by IBM Cloud is known as IBM Cloud Functions. It enables programmers to create and publish code that reacts to occasions brought on by other IBM Cloud services. Swift, Python, and Node.js are just a few of the programming languages that are supported by IBM Cloud Functions.
  • OpenFaaS- OpenFaaS is a free and open-source platform for serverless computing that supports programmers to conduct operations on both on-premises and cloud infrastructure. It may be integrated across multiple platforms for container orchestration and supports several programming languages.

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Serverless Computing Examples

Serverless computing is used in a variety of applications. Below are some of the use cases of serverless computing that businesses across various sectors employ:

  • Web Applications
    Web applications can be created and deployed using serverless computing and can scale automatically based on user demand. This can range from small personal websites to significant e-commerce portals with millions of users.
  • Mobile Applications
    Serverless computing can be leveraged to develop and scale mobile applications efficiently and rapidly, catering to diverse user demands. It encompasses a wide range of mobile app types, from simple ones to sophisticated business software, empowering seamless growth and responsiveness without the hassle of infrastructure management. 
  • IoT Applications
    Internet of Things (IoT) applications can be developed and implemented using serverless computing, allowing for real-time data processing and analysis from connected devices. This can include everything from smart household appliances to industrial IoT sensors.
  • Data processing
    Serverless computing can process massive amounts of data quickly and effectively. This includes everything from batch processing and data warehousing to real-time data streaming.

Serverless vs. Traditional Server-Based Computing

Serverless and Traditional Server-Based Computing are two opposing pillars in the world of cloud computing. This section explains the difference between Serverless and Traditional Server-Based Computing so you can choose wisely for your cloud approach.

AspectServerless ComputingTraditional Server-Based Computing
Resource ManagementAutomatically managed by the cloud provider, requiring minimal user intervention.Requires manual management of servers, storage, and networking, often leading to operational overhead.
ScalabilityAuto-scales based on demand, handling traffic spikes efficiently.Scalability may require provisioning additional servers and infrastructure, leading to cost and complexity.
Cost StructurePay-per-use model, where costs are incurred only during function execution.Typically involves ongoing costs, even for idle resources, which can be less cost-efficient.
FlexibilitySupports a variety of programming languages and frameworks.Tied to specific infrastructure and may limit language and framework choices.
Server MaintenanceNo server maintenance required, as cloud providers handle it.Regular server maintenance, including patching and updates, is essential.
Cost PredictabilityPredictable cost structure with clear pricing based on usage.Cost fluctuations due to infrastructure maintenance and scaling needs.

Challenges and Considerations

Although serverless computing has many advantages of Serverless Computing, there are drawbacks as well. We’ll highlight the main obstacles to help you successfully traverse this environment.

  • Cold Starts: Serverless functions may experience delays when starting from an idle state, affecting response times.
  • Limited Execution Time: Serverless platforms often impose execution time limits, which can be a constraint for long-running tasks.
  • Vendor Lock-In: Adopting a specific serverless platform may result in vendor lock-in, making migration complex.
  • Debugging and Monitoring: Debugging serverless applications can be challenging, and real-time monitoring is crucial for performance optimization.
  • Security and Compliance: Robust security practices are essential to protect data and applications in serverless environments. Compliance with regulations is also a concern.
  • Resource Scaling: While auto-scaling is a benefit, it can lead to unexpected costs if not carefully managed.

Conclusion

Serverless computing aims to do away with server management, rather than servers. With this innovative cloud computing model, developers can concentrate on writing code and providing value to their customers as the cloud provider takes care of the infrastructure.

Serverless computing is likely to dominate as technology progresses, and we can anticipate fresh developments and advancements that will increase its usability and power for developers to accelerate businesses of any size, worldwide. 

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