Serverless is a paradigm shift in cloud computing where services and applications are run without provisioning or managing servers. Serverless leverages the maximum potential of a cloud infrastructure - no need for scripts/configurations, real-time scaling, infinite capacity, faster delivery, no infrastructure, management or upgrade overheads.
Serverless cloud computing is uncomplicated and more cost-effective than traditional cloud services, as it eliminates the hardware, developers and application managers from resource provisioning. However, it doesn't end here - serverless computing is now also used for edge computing, as seen with AWS Lambda, the most popular serverless cloud platform.
What's happening is basically a re-engineering of public cloud services; though now we're seeing computing, storage and databases, you can expect that machine learning, analytics, and other higher-end cloud services will also be possible.
Serverless computing has several benefits for enterprises; management will not need to decide on sizing workloads anymore. When properly monitored, serverless computing can help reduce costs, and lead to more efficiency and better resource utilization. However, the term 'serverless' is a bit of a misnomer; this technology does use servers. The difference is that the end users don't have to manage the servers themselves. This technology executes code written by developers by utilizing the exact amount of computing resources necessary to execute it - nothing less or more.
The platform executes tasks when the code is triggered by pre-determined occurrences of events. The end-user is relieved of the burden to inform the provider how many times these events will take place. For every execution of a function, customers pay a minuscule amount. For this reason, some experts believe that event-driven computing is more apt a name than serverless computing.
This technology is still in its infancy, yet, many experts believe that this is going to be the future of the cloud.
The whole concept was introduced by Amazon with its serverless product Lambda. According to Matt Wood, the GM of AWS Strategy, it was inspired by Simple Storage Service, S3, one of their highly popular products. S3 is concerned with storing objects - you give the objects and S3 stores it. You don't need to know how and where it does this: it's not your headache. No more thinking of disk space, under-provisioning or over-provisioning.
Lambda took it one step further and applied it to computing; you deliver the function code, and the platform executes it on demand, without worrying about proper provisioning or resource allocation. In the traditional cloud infrastructure, the end customer provisions servers, storage, virtual machines, databases, security tools as well as management tools to handle it all. Applications are loaded on the virtual machines, using the tools to scale them as the need arises.
End users also need to implement software to manage the whole system: optimizing instance sizes and detecting VMs that were left running accidentally. But in event-driven computing, it is way simpler: you write code in functions; the serverless system executes the function when an event triggering it occurs. Say goodbye to capacity planning, load balancing and managing, and simply allow the tasks to execute themselves.
Wood says that this technology is useful in several instances: Let's take an example where a function for Lambda is so written that whenever a photograph (the object) is delivered to S3 for storage, Lambda makes copies of that photo in many different sizes so that it is optimized for computers and mobile devices.
You can also write code so that whenever you load some data into a database, it is instantly stored in a data warehouse, like say, Amazon Redshift, so that it can be retrieved and analyzed later. Lambda can be used to combine AWS services for carrying out tasks - say, report, schedule, and edit data, to prepare it for analysis.
In an IoT system, real-time responses are required on a massive scale - making serverless computing an ideal platform. It is especially helpful in areas of poor connectivity, so that routing through a data center can be avoided. By implementing Lambda, functions can be run on IoT devices through a special platform (Greegrass in the case of AWS).
Let's say, a security camera has Lambda functions running on it; whenever any motion is detected, it records that info and sends it to a database. With this system you can eliminate the need for a virtual machine server being made to sit idle for the whole day. Here, the code runs only when it is triggered to do by an event - in this case, the event is the movement/motion.
Serverless computing can be thought of as outsourcing - you just pay someone else to manage stuff like application logic, databases, and servers, which you would have had to manage yourself earlier. Here, the advantage is that you only pay for the exact computing that you utilize. You don't need to configure and perform load balancing or wait till the servers boot up. Developers can test their ideas and market them much sooner than other models.
Sure, it does have some drawbacks: the technology and the market are very much nascent as of now, and it's not that useful to manage serverless use cases at scale. As there are inadequate tools for managing function groups.
Even the software for monitoring, security and optimization are still in infancy. And most importantly, it does necessitate coding apps in a whole different way - making for a lot of unlearning and re-learning on their part. This system also places some restrictions on the software design and architecture which can be worrisome for few.
You have seen how serverless cloud computing can benefit your business - you can free up your time and precious resources and divert them to critical business operations. Allow us to manage the task of providing computing capability as per your exact requirements. We are Outsource2india, an ISO certified company that has been providing exemplary software development services & digital solutions for over 19 years to businesses globally.
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