Serverless is “the Uber of cloud computing” – it’s changing the way applications are built and deployed. Just like renting a taxi only when you need to go somewhere, serverless technology allows you to use expensive cloud resources only when you need them.
The global serverless architecture market size is projected to grow to $21.1B USD by 2025. Serverless has changed the way IT administrators and internal DevOps teams are offloading basic repetitive activities such as patching, provisioning, and monitoring. . Frees both DevOps teams and developers from worrying about back-end infrastructure. Instead, developers focus only on business logic while creating the best app.
Additionally, since most application development-related use cases involve a non-linear pattern of resource usage, pay-as-you-go pricing significantly reduces total cost of ownership (TCO).
What is serverless?
There are still serverless servers, just managing those servers is not your responsibility. It becomes the responsibility of the cloud service provider: servers, software, tools, backup, scaling, and more come with the platform.
Serverless computing aims to abstract server administration and low-level infrastructure decisions away from developers. Therefore, applications can be developed without worrying about server provisioning, monitoring, and scaling. Resource allocation is managed by the cloud provider rather than by the application architect.
Serverless platforms have two main components:
- FaaS- Works as a service provides computational power on the fly, to execute any function designed by the user. They are custom coding structures for executing code.
- BaaS – Back-end as a service It provides activities like user authentication, database management, caching, cloud storage, push notifications, hosting, etc., and they are readily available for scaling.
Why no server?
A traditional application development process that uses servers adds a lot of dependency. It takes more time to manage the infrastructure, and scaling it on demand becomes challenging. Additionally, setting up overhead like provisioning, patching, and monitoring increases time to market. The learning curve is high, as operational complexity is a concern. In a “server” scenario, companies pay for all hosting, regardless of how many times or how long the servers are actually used. But with serverless, you don’t pay for this idle capacity, you only pay when your code runs. Billing starts when the run starts and stops when the run stops.
Take the case of e-commerce applications, for example. During the festive seasons, usage spikes can peak, unlike other times when traffic remains fairly low and constant. Autoscaling helps address these drastic changes in usage, where resources are automatically scaled up or down based on volume. Usage-based pricing in serverless adds value to mitigate the application’s non-linear usage pattern; so you end up paying less when traffic is low.
Where serverless can help
The benefits that companies can obtain by going serverless are many. Here are just a few use cases:
Any platform with multi-language support is highly appreciated by developers. With support for multilingual applications and the power of BaaS APIs, launching your web and mobile applications quickly is a piece of cake. Serverless allows you to focus on building the logic, with the most appropriate language to achieve the given functionality, while provisioning, patching and other back-end infrastructure will be completely handled by the serverless platform. When you’re building your business from the ground up with the primary focus on moving from a brick-and-mortar store to the online world, serverless gives you the launch pad for development at lightning-fast scaling speeds. Going completely serverless helps you take advantage of pre-built microservices, meet your different business needs, use continuous integration pipelines to deploy faster, and help you stay ahead of your competitors. Serverless ensures that your business is digitized from day one; helping to improve the overall productivity of your teams.
- Driving a sales commission application
A sales commission app performs calculations for 300+ sales employees on various parameters such as direct sales, reseller channels, cross-sells, and upsells. This is a typical use case, where the application needs to run in discrete cycles. Since the calculations are performed only a few times a month, you can provision your expensive resources when you need them using a serverless platform, which helps reduce TCO. All you need to do is run functions, microservices, and data processing jobs using your serverless platform’s scheduler.
the right choice
Every business has its own unique set of needs – one size does not fit all! Serverless allows you to create tailored business solutions with automated control of the entire infrastructure.
An ideal serverless platform should go beyond FaaS or BaaS. It should help orchestrate workflows, build advanced custom applications, and add intelligence to turn ideas into innovation faster. If the goal is to automatically scale your applications, speed up the application development cycle, and lower overall TCO so deployments don’t break the bank, serverless is the right choice.
The author is Vice President of Growth and Revenue Management at Zoho Corporation.
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