Serverless computing provides a platform which allows the developers to execute code in response to certain events without facing any complexity in building and maintenance of cloud infrastructure. These codes are usually used in conjunction with codes written in traditional server style, like microservices. For instance, part of web application can be written as both as microservices as well as serverless codes. These serverless codes are activated with the help of specific events such as registration with Amazon Cognito or can also be activated by configuring to run behind an Application Programming Interface (API) platform.
Even though there is a word “serverless” in the term “serverless computing”, but it should be remembered that this platform does require servers to run the code. The word “serverless” is used to signify that, the organization or an individual does not need to purchase, rent or provision any server or even virtual machines to develop an application.
One of the attraction of serverless computing deployment is that the cloud customer need to pay, only for the service usage and not for any of the cost associated with idle time or down-time.
Benefits of serverless computing
It is important to understand that despite the old way of computing which works fine, why would a developer go through the trouble of building a software through serverless computing. The following benefits are the key reasons which can provide an explanation for this.
Simplified management of operations
Serverless computing platforms are meant to provide clear distinction between the infrastructure services and the applications that are running at the upper end of the platform. Thus, the automatic scaling functionality of serverless computing (also known as Function as a Service) not only helps in reducing the computing cost, but also helps in reducing the operational management overheads. Thus, it allows the System engineers and the Software Requirement Engineers to focus on managing and running the underlying platform along with the core services like load balancers and databases.
Packaging and deploying a serverless computing system is easier as compared to the deployment of an entire server. As serverless computing system has no requirement of continuous delivery, continuous integration, and containerization tool thus, enabling the developers to write the code directly in the vendor console and therefore, there is no need of system administration in case of fully serverless solutions.
Reduction in operational cost
Serverless computing saves money, in terms of both, the computing power as well as the human resources. For a developer, it is important to understand that in case of serverless computing you need to pay only for the time your function or functions are running and since, you don’t run the app 24/7, this is a considerable cost saving.
From the perspective of a big company with the huge collection of apps, APIs and microservices, there is continuous resource utilization, no matter whether those resources are currently in use or not. With the help of serverless computing, the company can execute the function for any number of apps in demand and share all the resources, without running the apps 24/7 thus, it reduces idle time to almost zero and provides a fast response time. Therefore, with the introduction of serverless computing, the days of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for servers are gone.
Ease of innovation
Serverless computing has alleviated the problems of system engineering and its underlying platform, thus making it easy for product engineers to innovate at a rapid pace. This less time for operations translates into a smooth application of agile methodologies which is highly attractive to enterprise cloud users.
Serverless computing can handle the regular concerns of the internet facing applications such as identity management, storage, etc. Thus, with the ease of innovation through serverless computing due to its various features, it’s not a dream but the reality that product engineers can thereby focus on developing the actual business logic of the application.
An interesting fact about serverless computing is that, it is not meant to replace the existing delivery models rather, it complements them. The world’s largest online media streaming provider, Netflix planned to reduce the rate of errors and save time by replacing the inefficient processes and use AWS lambda to build rule based self-managing infrastructure. Thus, serverless computing seems to provide a promising future in the betterment of computing scenario.