What is Serverless computing?

One of the trendiest solutions in IT today is serverless computing, which has gained a lot of attention from industry professionals and experts, both in the academic and professional worlds.

With a focus on application rather than infrastructure, this new architecture transforms IT production modes, representing a real revolution, especially with regard to service scalability and cost savings.

But what is serverless, how does this strategy work and what are the benefits of using it in companies? Continue reading this article and understand!

 

What is serverless computing?

In the age of digital transformation, IT managers in various industries and organizations have opted for the cloud to avoid many efforts to prepare and operate rapidly changing IT resources. As the cloud upgrades, cloud operators face the new challenge of managing growing instances of the cloud. In addition to fixes and version upgrades for operating systems and applications, we have found ways to be free from ongoing management fatigue, including estimating cloud capacity for other IT services and internal communications for operations. This approach is termed as sserverless computing.

 Serverless computing implements applications in using a set of functions (in many languages if needed), without the need to prepare IT infrastructure in the data center or cloud. Supports changing resource demands with automatic scaling and replaces traditional backends. Therefore, serverless computing is sometimes called function as a service (FaaS) or back-end as a service (BaaS) because it abstracts the back-end system into an invisible service. There is some subtly in the definition of these terms but they are sometimes used interchangeably. We’ll follow up in the next article on Function as a service.

 

To better understand, it is important to know the concept of Functions as a Service (FaaS). It concerns an architectural implementation phase, in which developers can deploy an individual function. Its principles are:

●     no server management;

●     invocation-based billing, that is, only what is used is charged;

●     event-focused and instantly scalable, no need to contact for more space.

 

How does this strategy work?

There are four essential elements of a serverless architecture. This architecture consists of a web server framework, FaaS layer, user and database authentication service, and security token (in general, the details vary between providers but we’re starting to see standardisation efforts to make a function work on multiple clouds without changes).

 It works in a very simple way, so you don’t have to build or maintain a robust infrastructure for the application to work properly, the provider is responsible for this.

 Typically, this strategy is event-oriented and has a distinctive infrastructure. Instead of a series of compact units, it focuses on the input and output of an action rather than the means for its output.

Thus, those in charge do not need to focus on server management, leaving this to the cloud computing service provider.

 Some analysts and industry experts say that there are similarities with the Platform as a Service (PaaS) proposal, although there are some differences between them. For example, PaaS is more complex than FaaS since the second only needs to specify what functions will be performed.

 

Unlike traditional installations, where the resources on the server represent fixed and recurring costs. On the serverless system, the customer pays only for what they use, without costs associated with available resources.

 

The main purpose and function of serverless computing are to enable companies to carry out their activities and build their solutions and applications without worrying about the infrastructure needed to run it.

 

What are the benefits of investing in this solution?

Now questions may arise:  why should you focus on a serverless architecture? What are the advantages of your business implementation? Here are the top reasons to implement solutions with this architecture in your business IT.

 

Cost reduction

Costs in serverless architecture are greatly reduced. This is because they are execution-based. It is a scalable service, you can purchase only the space required for the application, and you do not need to hire space for it to run. This represents a significant reduction in costs as you only pay for continuous processing.

 

In addition, there is no need to devote hours to server infrastructure management (including storage capacity, server upgrades, and more), allowing specialists to devote more time to other roles, lowering total industry costs.

 

For example, more solutions can be delivered simultaneously, as it saves time, allowing professionals to focus on new projects.

 

Greater server flexibility

Because the goal is to focus on the core product, there is greater server flexibility. It will be used only according to the demand generated, it is not necessary to hire virtual machines or servers to run the application.

 

This allows for less concern with the management and operation of these servers and can devote that time to developing better products with greater scalability and reliability.

 

Risk and threat reduction

Serverless computing is more about the application itself than the infrastructure. This means that it requires greater care with existing vulnerabilities. This type of behavior requires a mandatory security patching routine. Constantly checking data traffic and recursively checks whether data is properly anonymized and encrypted.

 

As this stance is required, there is a reduction in risks and threats that may compromise the security of information circulating throughout the application.

 

Possibility of building scalable applications

A major benefit of serverless architecture is that they are highly scalable, so new applications can be launched on their own. The functions can be performed in parallel and scale automatically as the call volume increases.

 

Serverless architecture is a revolution in computing and IT and can bring a host of benefits for experts and companies who choose to implement it in their everyday lives. Thus, your organization has many benefits from its use over time.

 

Disadvantages of a serverless infrastructure

From the developer’s point of view, the dependency of serverless computing on the provider due to the specifications of the service (proprietary) is a major problem because it is tied to the provider (vendor lock-in). In this case, changing providers can be very difficult. Though as mentioned there is some effort to standardise this.

 

Which services or development organization is right for you?

Serverless computing has the characteristic of processing various events on the system in the form of functions, which makes it suitable for the functions of the repetitive batch processing that is expected when operating IT services.

 

For example, IoT devices can acquire surrounding information and continuously deliver it to a communication broker, or preprocessing tasks such as collecting logs collected from a client to create big data and analyzing it.

 

In addition, it repeatedly connects with other systems among the functions required for backend servers of general applications. Such as media log analysis of live video streaming provided in real-time, and basic AI functions that recognize voice or text and provide appropriately learned data. More specialized in the ability to deliver results that meet business requirements.

 

Organizations that are best suited for serverless computing are: It is a small-scale technical staff that needs to prepare for infrastructure and minimize the number of operating personnel. It is a start-up development organization that develops business and enters the market quickly. Organizations in the form of a systematic DevOps can easily create serverless functions, associate them with the source that fires the events.Implement and test the overall functionality that produces the results.Besides, if you develop functions in scripted languages ​​such as Node.js and Python, and are familiar with REST APIs, it’s a good idea.

 

 

Things to keep in mind when introducing serverlesscomputing?

Serverless computing is a new technology with many advantages, but all the new technologies coexist with the advantages and disadvantages of introducing them.

1. Understand the charging method and estimate the expected cost. For your use case, does it actually save you money? Are you introducing it because it solves a problem and the cost isn’t the main factor?

While the charging model of a typical cloud service is storage volume, traffic charges, etc. serverless computing uses a “pay as you go” charging model based on the number of transactions processed per unit time and the network and memory utilization.

 

In general, it can be a more economical model for transaction-less idle time service, but for a new service based on B2C, it is necessary to accurately estimate the cost of computing resource consumption of serverless functions in the estimating phase. Things can be difficult. Therefore, if serverless is chosen to reduce the cost of general cloud instances, it is necessary to estimate the expected service transaction and resource consumption costs and to observe the trend by operating the initial service in advance.

 

2. Internalizing technology within the organization

Technically, the adoption of serverless computing was chosen to reduce the burden on cloud infrastructure operations. It should be considered whether this part reproduced another management point. You need to make sure that your technical staff is familiar with the public cloud and ready to take advantage of the serverless environment.

 

3. Migration plan

From the start, it’s difficult to migrate a lot of running business logic back to the organization’s own environment by implementing IT services as serverless functions. As a result, you need to think about where you might have some dependencies on cloud vendors.

 

4. Prepare for performance degradation

Serverless computing often adopts a method of avoiding billing when the service is idle for a long time and completely shutting down disabled functions to free up computing resources.Uptime is required to bring the function back to production. This is called cold start, and often cold start can affect the overall application response speed. Therefore, to avoid this bottleneck, most serverless providers try to make this as fast as possible through various optimisations but it’s not the same as if calling a function in the same app.

 

5. Introduction from small service

Finally, serverless functions may be too much for implementing the business all logic of any enterprise environment. It is also a limitation of stateless functional languages ​​that are deployed to containers as needed and then automatically terminated. It can cause overall application performance issues depending on the conditions in the cloud region where the actual functions are executed and deliver the results.

 

Therefore, rather than moving all back-end logic to a serverless environment, it is desirable to prioritize IT services such as general back-end server logic in the form of simple, iterative processing, big data analysis, or machine learning.

 

A good starting point is to look at the features and pricing models of serverless products from major cloud operators, including Lambda from AWS, Azure Functions from Microsoft, and Cloud Functions from Google, and start with the suite that best fits your service.

You may also consider smaller providers such as Hypi’s BaaS and Serverless offerings which can provide the same features, often simpler.

What are the trends in this area?

Serverless computing is closely linked with cloud architecture, meaning future trends in cloud computing could be adapted and implemented in this area as well.

 One of the main trends is thestrengthening of Function as a Service (FaaS), a computing service thatabstracts from the server and the machines on which applications run, leavingthem running on a computing provider.

 

In addition, serverless computing isdirectly linked to NoOps, which has been viewed by manyindustry experts as a trend for years to come. This concept describesenvironments where there is no need for a technical team to manage internalprocedures. Thus, it can be seen that this concept is closely linked withserverless computing.

We can see that serverless computing is one of the key trends for the coming years, so it can generate a number of competitive advantages for IT organizations that choose to apply it. In addition, it brings a number of benefits to the company and inserts it into anew business model that is trending for years to come.

 

So, are you interested in preparing your company for this new moment in IT, with implementation and adaptation made to the specifications of your business? Get in touch with Hypi and ask your questions about this, serverless computing in your company or how else Hypi can help your organisation/team.

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