That’s a crucial yet difficult decision to make, but an important one to consider. In the last few years going server-less or adopting a server-less computing architecture has become a big thing in the cloud paradigm. Server-less has become buzz-worthy especially after AWS introduced the Lambda Platform. Many contemporary names and ancient brands with modernistic rollovers have taken to the concept and have chosen the serverless way like Netflix, Nike, BBC, Airbnb, and many more. It has not proven to be a futile exercise for them, because their back-end efforts have optimized for the good.
To someone who is not well-versed with technology, going serverless could be a misleading term. Remember going serverless does not mean that this is the actual stage of technology. It still means that there is a server somewhere yet you do not have to go through the rigmarole of buying it, managing it all yourself and maintaining it. The entire server management is outsourced de-layering your cloud infrastructure.
How is it different from the traditional cloud model?
The server-less way of doing things is usually a decision-supporting key business decision. So there are third-parties that will handle your technical plans and issues if there may be, while all your focus is on delivering what you are good at. Sounds familiar?
A lot of you might be thinking that your infrastructure is already on the cloud and you don’t own any hardware, then how is this different?
The conventional cloud model often denoted as Cloud 1.0, what you do is merely moving storage and networking to the cloud. You will still have access and you would be able to monitor it from virtual machines(VMs) remotely. But going server-less is a different ball game altogether because here the programmer picks an environment in which the code is written. The code file is then uploaded and melds with the system automatically. Here the vendor’s own ecosystem is put to use. All you need to do is to identify how the services will communicate and where data can be accessed.
So there’s still a server somewhere, you are liberated of the duties to actually buy, and maintain it. The entire server management is outsourced to a 3’rd party which of course will add a layer of abstraction to your cloud infrastructure. Developers can now discover a much friendlier way to create applications as the entire server provisioning is taken backstage. For businesses who go the server-less way have more time to market. The actual people in charge of your server will take care of your technical concerns while you focus on delivering the results you are best known for.
Features of Server-less
For a much deeper understanding, it is important we list out the features and the benefits that come with the features.
–Serverless architecture works on a pre-programmed event which is apparently triggered based on the need and necessity for it. It works on a stateless basis meaning it acts on a task given to it or programmed for our use rather than do it as a method of a stored task or re-used requests.
–The serverless approach has immense benefits because of its ability to scale incessantly and almost automatically. This is one major difference between traditional cloud models and serverless because in this case, you do not have to buy the entire calculated amount of resource as flexibility is a characteristic. So, for those applications which are scaling, it is important that the serverless approach is used, else the growth of the project can be stalled. Ask our cloud consultants about how we used the serverless side for a major project allowing the management platform site to flexibly grow.
–Function-as-a-Service is yet another name to refer to serverless as it is about how developers assemble code into building blocks called functions. So here elements are split into several micro elements so that they are more manageable and can be scaled and updated in sync. The infusion of FaaS is a step ahead as it takes it to the next level and breaks it even further.
–While you were working with the traditional cloud model you would have noticed that your servers are needed to process requests at all times. So, when the server is put to use in this manner, it only leads to expensive back-end costs every month regardless of the CPU and memory usage. Server-less is different, here you can pay a small fraction of a price per request. So the cost ultimately will depend on the traffic you had for a particular month in question.
Pros of going serverless
While we have understood the concept well, it is also important we look at what set of benefits it gives us, but at the same time, it is not without its cons. So let’s take a look at both.
1.Companies can build a better user experience
An organization only works to serve the needs of its target customers. The customers have no inkling about which architecture you function on and why because all that they are concerned with is experienced with the software application. Now that you have decided to go serverless, it will take maintenance off your mind and help you dedicate more time and resources to ensuring that customer-facing elements are intact and not with loopholes. If you want users to get engaged with your application, UX is the key, and you are left with ample time to work on that.
We have already discussed this feature but it also seconds as a benefit, because when your scalability is shot up it gives you the chance to conceptualize high-end applications. When you are on serverless architecture, you can be assured that scalability is no more a concern for you. It means that your servers will automatically scale based on the traffic volumes. Serverless means enhanced presence around points of usage allowing the app to perform in a better manner regardless of the location of the users.
3.Lesser time dedicate to manage it
When you contact a third-party provider like us, you are shed off with the duty of maintaining the server architecture. This means when there are technical glitches, it is on the third-party to ensure they are tackled beforehand. All your worries and concerns regarding the functioning of the application at the back-end are taken over by the vendor while you focus on doing what’s best for your organization.
This is an advantage that has drawn several organizations to it because being low on operating costs have left them with a wider option to increase their profit base. When you are serverless, you pay only for what you use because there are no hardware costs. There are also no costs when your services are not in use. So, when you decide to go serverless your costs are considerably reduced. You also have the flexibility to use the ‘PAY AS YOU GO’ model which will help you optimally utilize the resource and wherein you do not have to pay for idle server time.
Now that we have seen the certain advantages, it’s time to move on to its disadvantages
Cons of going serverless
So now the control of your servers is with third-party providers, so it only means that you as an organization that is used to managing and updating servers lose control of it all. This can be a major downer because it might create issues inconsistency and also limit the resources available. In addition to this, when you have committed yourself to a service provider you are in it for the long run because it is a major transition and the switch takes a lot of effort. Hence to counter this, it is always important to go to vendors who are trustworthy, have a name for themselves in the market, and are more sensitive to client needs.
2.Complex to decipher
Serverless applications come with a learning curve that is steep. The particular units of integration with serverless are smaller compared to other architectures. This means additional time is needed to organize functions in a manner that aligns well with your data. Some functions are time-restricted also so when you have a task that requires large amounts of data, it could exceed run-time limits. This means that a lot of effort is then gone into rewriting the code in another architecture. You may also see the need to deploy different code for every function in your logical application.
We are always looking at using resources in a much more efficient manner and to do that, a service provider may run the software for several different customers on the same server. This is what we call multi-tenancy. So despite the fact that the workloads are isolated in different containers, there is a possibility of bugs in the early stages of FaaS. If your application consists of sensitive data, then potential bugs can majorly affect the performance of your application.
The future is serverless
Despite its flaws, we believe that it is the future because going serverless is all about changes in perception and not all technical. For companies functioning on legacy infrastructure, it can be a painful transition while for startups it could be slightly expensive. Yet, when you are with the right vendor, the transition is a piece of cake, and adoption even easier. As of now, Serverless is slow in mainstream adoption but Gartner in its Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2017 has predicted that by 2022 it will achieve its highest productivity. The technology is already available, the challenge is much larger in terms of determining the possible use cases.
For all of such assistance, we are here to help you understand how going serverless can benefit your business on a large scale.
Call us if going serverless is on your mind!