Serverless computing definition: What’s behind it?
Serverless computing is used to denote an innovative technology that has broken new ground in the spheres of software architecture and application evolution. A great deal of eminent leading market participants has been already adopting Serverless-based solutions to enjoy the prime mover advantage on the market. The acclaimed giants of cloud services, such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, IBM and others, on a wide scale basis offer the faultless deployment of serverless architectures and frameworks within their cloud platforms. In general, serverless computing is a disruptive innovation technology that:
- allows creating time-sensitive applications;
- is request- and event-driven;
- is cloud-based;
- provides developers with actionable execution environment;
- has a plethora of computing resources to cater for.
In other words, serverless enables to create the requested applications in real time, to react to and satisfy the quick-changing demand. Likewise, serverless architecture furnishes executive conditions in a blink of an eye, orchestrates on-demand computing resources and folds up having finished the work. Furthermore, enterprises that are up to deploying DevOps strategies in their business activity should opt for serverless computing.
Serverless vs microservices: Where’s the difference?
When it comes to defining Serverless computing, a commonplace question usually arises — What do serverless and microservices have in common and to what extent do they differ?
On the one hand, these two software development methodologies are quite alike: they similarly decrease deployment time and operating expenses, meet ever-changing development requirements, orchestrate multi-tenant resources and automate standard tasks.
On the other hand, you should bear in mind that there is some sufficient variability of each.
Microservices have gained significant traction due to the following features they provide:
- They are a type of service-oriented architecture (SOA);
- Give the possibility to deploy functional units, e.g. modules, and specify some popular APIs (like SOAP, RESTful, AMQP, JSON);
- Provide access to servers with necessary out-of-the-box libraries;
- Microservices keep being even in idle mode;
- The data processed is containerized and unpacked by request, while developers addressing a specific API;
- All the functional modules are deployed and maintained on the platform;
- Multiple computational operations are initiated and handled on the cloud.
Serverless computing has its own distinctive features, which will help it be ahead of the pack in the innovative technology race very soon.
- Its architecture enables dealing with cloud-based capacities on demand;
- Triggers the event-driven serverless functions;
- Executes the command-based input operations;
- Processes the results on the serverless platform;
- Computations are based on the predefined rules and algorithms;
- Spins down right after accomplishing the operations;
- Sparingly uses computational resources only if needed.
Serverless: How it works
Serverless in its core is a great example of event-driven architecture that utilizes distributed cloud-based services. This method enables the accessible orchestration of software development and application implementation workflow. Intrinsically, Serverless is generally represented in two basic models:
- BaaS — Backend as a Service;
- FaaS — Function as a Service.
The first notion stands for operational outsource multi-tenant backend service model that improves the server-side functionality. Developers are provided with a constant connection to cloud services, which in turn, are quite smart while addressing the needs of API calls and http requests.
At the same time, FaaS-oriented providers like AWS Lambda (the first cloud vendor who offered a FaaS platform) create the perfect environment for application management and development without involving personal servers. The benefit of FaaS lies on the surface: engineering pipelines are preset by specific events, messages or mouse clicks, for instance.
Three basic phases of Serverless can be outlined as follows:
- Events trigger the corresponding functions and that leads to the generating of the runtime environment in the cloud;
- The function is getting activated;
- The event-driven environment terminates, once the operation is executed.
All in all, the conjoint deploying of BaaS and FaaS creates perfect conditions for consistent computing workflows and programming processes as they enable developers to orchestrate large loads of data. To assist you in distinguishing between cloud services platform types and Serverless architecture patterns we represent their visualized comparison.
Using Serverless: Competitive advantages explained
Nowadays Serverless receives much appreciation because the beneficial features of event-driven architecture (EDA) systems are quite evident and highly appraised among software developers. To make it clear, we enlist the most essential advantages of Serverless computing, regardless of those drawbacks few in number, that professional development experts may point to.
- Economical effectiveness: Customers can take advantage of the payment policy — there is no need to pay weekly, monthly or annually, you pay only for what you actually use: computing resources or time involved during deployment. For instance, AWS Lambda provides 1 million free requests with subsequent $0.20/1 mln requests, and 400,000 GB-seconds of compute time per month free of charge, $0.00001667/GB-second thereafter.
- Provisioned support: The development workflow is often time- and effort-consuming, so with that in mind, one should consider involving a skillful crew of dedicated experts to guarantee successful maintenance. You will badly need such specialists if your ongoing tasks are not automated or not deposited on cloud servers. Instead, Serverless proves to come in handy for data adjustment and synchronization, processing structured and unstructured data, managing routine requests and other typical deployment tasks.
- Security: Serverless computing turns out to be extremely advantageous in providing well-conditioned security means. Programming flow protection, risks mitigation, fraud detection, HTTP floods monitoring , cross-site scripting forecast, bots identification, DDoS attacks prevention, and many other security aspects are quite solid in serverless computing.
- Functional value: Serverless cinches source code orchestration and seamless runtime environment operability on every functional step at software workflow implementation. In addition, users acquire personal access to all programming capabilities located on cloud servers.
- Scalability: Serverless claims to be highly flexible at smooth adjusting its abilities to satisfy evolving on-demand large data volumes. In addition, this model ensures scaling of various computing resources, executed functions, programming codes at any period of time and other challenging numbers.
On the whole, Serverless-backed solutions are expected to take the prominent leap forward in the next few years. The benefits given above are way more important than some minor shortcomings, which some boffins may point at. Serverless technology is, by all means, the prosperous future pattern of application software development.
If getting Serverless implemented in your business flow is your forthcoming goal, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org