Data and Security

What Is Serverless Computing?

One of the ways to get a productive and scalable environment for running software code is to use serverless computing. Here is what serverless architecture is, its design, and its advantages and disadvantages. 

What Does Serverless Mean?

Serverless computing is based on the principle that resources are allocated automatically when required, depending on the tasks that need to be done here and now. Are servers used in serverless computing? Of course. All processes run on hardware (servers, storage systems), but it is entirely disengaged from developing applications. There is another essential detail: serverless infrastructure is 100% managed by the service provider. It gives developers a simplified development environment that does not need to be scaled, maintained, administered or secured. 

Serverless cloud environment is used not only in development but also for real-time data analysis, batch processing, AI-enabled projects (e.g. to improve interaction between IoT devices). 

How Serverless Technologies Differ From Other Cloud Products

Development is intricately linked to the notion of PaaS,”Platform-as-a-Service” provides developers access to a cloud environment and the tools required to support the end-to-end application lifecycle. Yet PaaS remains a platform with pre-installed software with certain options to choose from. Serverless cloud, in turn, does not require any management by developers at all: all resources for processing requests are allocated automatically. 

How Does Serverless Computing Work? 

The cloud provider provides the developer with computing resources – processing power, memory, storage space and others – to run each application code fragment. During this process, resources are allocated automatically; a container with a ready environment is created in response to a specific request (event). As the code is executed, the number of containers changes: as requests appear and disappear, some containers are created, and others are destroyed accordingly.

FaaS and BaaS, Serverless Computing Features 

A serverless cloud environment includes two main types of services: 

FaaS (Function as a Servise or Framework as a Service) is a fully automated service for running and executing software code;

BaaS (Backend as a Service) is a set of services for building an application backend and data processing platform. It is usually an SDK or API gateway. 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Serverless Computing

A popular cloud service, just like all others, has a number of benefits and drawbacks.

Benefits of serverless computing

Convenience. Developers get an easy-to-deploy and easy-to-use environment where almost all business processes are automated. 

Serverless computing performance. Developers can easily get the required CPU power, memory capacity, storage space, and other resources to perform specific tasks.

Flexibility. The provider manages serverless computing entirely. It automatically provides computing power without the direct involvement of developers. 

Easy scaling in serverless computing. At a given point in time, all the code fragments being executed are provided with the resources required for their operations. 

Cost-effectiveness. Developers pay only for the resources they actually use, avoiding overpayments associated with volatile workloads, so the cost of serverless computing will be lower than that of the PaaS model with equal input data.  

Stability. Computing resources are always available from anywhere in the world. The provider fully guarantees IT infrastructure availability, serverless security and fault tolerance. 

Disadvantages of serverless computing

The main disadvantage of the serverless approach is often attributed to its low manageability, but it also has other challenges as well. For example, serverless platforms do not support all programming languages (but they support all the most popular ones), are not unified (each service provider has its own specifications), and there are delays in starting “cold” functions. 

Colobridge expert:

“Although serverless technologies were initially described as revolutionary, developers still haven’t switched to serverless computing en masse – its disadvantages quite often outweigh its benefits. In many scenarios, PaaS and even IaaS solutions will be more preferable. Although they have fewer automated processes, these cloud environments can also be customised to suit specific tasks and still gain more control over the underlying infrastructure”.

You can learn more about the cloud-based developer products available on Colobridge platform from our managers – call our contact number or leave a request on this page.

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