The Rise of Serverless Computing in The Era of The Cloud
Serverless computing has been gaining more attention these days. Its development started in 2014 when AWS launched AWS Lambda, one of the first serverless computing services to reach the market. With its popularity proven, AWS Lambda was then followed by Azure Functions by Microsoft and Cloud Functions by Google. But what is serverless computing? Why is it so popular?
What is serverless computing?
Serverless computing, or simply serverless, is a type of service offered by cloud providers where developers can purchase backend services on a pay-per-use basis. Using this service, developers can release themselves from all management responsibility for backend cloud infrastructure and operations tasks — provisioning, scheduling, scaling, patching, etc. — and hand it over to the cloud provider. This allows developers to focus on their core tasks, such as code writing, and other more important things, such as the business logic behind website and app development.
Although it’s called serverless, there are still servers providing the backend services. What makes serverless different is the fact that all of the server space and infrastructure concerns are handled by the cloud provider, so developers don’t have to worry about them.
The main computing model for serverless is Functions-as-a-Service (FaaS). FaaS is a service similar to PaaS but with a more flexible pricing structure as well as better scalability and greater level of control. Today, FaaS is also the most widely used serverless solution.
As mentioned, serverless is typically offered on a flexible ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis, meaning that developers only have to pay for the services they use. This means that they don’t have to pay for idle capacity. They only need to pay for the resources required to run their applications, and only when those applications are running.
What are the advantages of serverless computing?
Serverless offers developers three main benefits.
1. Better time and task management
As mentioned, serverless frees developers from the hassle of managing infrastructure. It gives them much more time to focus on things like task optimization, innovation, skills improvement, and the business side of their job.
2. Reduced costs
Generally, serverless is a cost-effective option. Traditional backend services offered by cloud providers often result in the user paying for unused space or idle CPU time. With serverless computing, developers only pay for what they use, allowing them to save the extra money.
3. Simplified responsibilities
Serverless architecture simplifies developers' jobs in various ways. For example, with serverless, developers don't have to worry about their policies to scale up their code. The cloud provider handles all of the scaling on demand. Serverless also simplifies backend code. With FaaS, developers can create simple functions that independently perform a single purpose, such as making an API call.
Who should use serverless in the future?
Serverless computing is suitable for developers who seek to reduce their go-to-market time and build lightweight, flexible applications which can be expanded or updated quickly. Serverless architecture will also benefit developers who want to push some or all of their application functions close to end users for reduced latency. Serverless does this by allowing developers to move some processes out of the origin server.
What is next for serverless computing?
Serverless computing has been gaining more and more popularity. Despite some current weaknesses, serverless continues to significantly evolve as providers come up with solutions to overcome these drawbacks. As we see more and more of the drawbacks of using serverless get addressed and the popularity of edge computing grows, we can expect to see serverless architecture becoming more widespread in a short time.