Back in the day building an application would bring along the need to have one’s own physical infrastructure. This, invariably, was an expensive and painstaking activity. However, something that had no way around. As we know that necessity is the mother of invention, the need to reduce the burden of server management, came the whole idea of serverless computing. While we will discuss the various advantages of serverless computing over traditional cloud computing, the bottom line benefit it brings along is simplicity. More often than not, organizations are moving towards serverless architecture owing to its high levels of efficiency and resource optimization. In fact, with an annual growth rate of 75%, serverless is the fastest growing cloud service model today. Without further ado, let us have a look at the specific benefits of serverless computing.
First things first. Serverless computing does not mean that there are no servers. Servers do exist in the backend. It is the onus of server management that has undergone a change with serverless computing. Traditionally, the onus of server management lay with developer. He or she would be responsible for the setting up and maintenance of the server. This translates to accountability for any bugs, security breaches, downtime and efficiency. The serverless architecture takes away this added burden. The onus of server management now falls on the vendors or cloud service providers who are responsible for ensuring that everything is up-to-date and you get everything served on a silver platter without wanting to pull your hair out.
It is a day in paradise for developers when they do not have to worry about server management and can actually just concentrate on their job at hand. Invariably, this translates to greater efficiency and resource utilization. When the developer is free from server management, his/ her sole purpose can be programming, resulting in better services for the consumer.
To understand the cost effectiveness of serverless computing, it is important to understand its dual benefits. Firstly, serverless computing allows precise allocation and utilization of resources. Traditionally, developers had to anticipate their usage during peak times and allocate a chunk a chunk of resources in advance. Generally, developers added 2GB, 4GB, etc to meet their peak usage demands. However, with the advent of serverless computing, developers can undertake precise allocation up to decimal points, like 4.16GB. What may not be visible to the naked eye here is the fact that optimization of allocation is on the cards. Unlike the olden days where you had to allocate resources irrespective of utilization or not, going serverless allows you to allocate only those resources that you actually need.
The second benefit comes along the payment model that going serverless brings along. You may want to visualize this transition as a shift from fixed bill mobile plans to the pay- as- you- go ones. This translates to the fact that under serverless, you literally pay for what you use from moment to moment. The best part, fluctuations in your usage are adapted so that you don’t pay a single penny over your usage. Invariably, the bill each month is different which equals high savings. Ask yourself, “Why should I pay the full price for the month if my usage is going to be hardly 20%”? If this makes sense to you then going serverless is your road to tread.
A related advantage that comes from server management and cost is the property of scalability. Under traditional cloud computing, since resource allocation is a pre usage process, scalability is a cumbersome task. The rationale is simple. Once you allocate your resources and demand a specific usage, that becomes your fixed server space. This means that any scaling needs that you may come across need prior anticipation. Scaling post resources allocation is a nightmare, and most not a viable option.
On the flip side, serverless computing brings along the beauty of auto-scaling. Since you pay on the go and your resource allocation is what you actually use, scaling is automatic for voluminous and variable workloads and you do not have to bang your head against a wall for scalability.
Taking cue from the payment model, one can positively say that serverless computing makes cost management a piece of cake. In fact, cost savings could go as high as 70% for organizations, when the usage is lower than peak months. Well, the rationale is again dual. Firstly, you guessed it right, the pay as you go model boosts cost savings manifold. You do not pay a fixed amount every month, therefore, wastage is almost negligible. The other side to more effective cost management comes from the reduction of overhead expenses. Setting up and managing servers is an expensive affair. Not only are there costs related to the hardware infrastructure, costs also go up due to the need to on board extra human resources for in- house maintenance and management. Invariably, cost management with serverless computing is a boon to the developer community.
As a developer, what would be the ideal working conditions for you? ‘Dividing your attention between your core expertise and focusing on infrastructure too, lagging behind on your deliverables’? Or ‘Focusing entirely on application development, while someone else takes care of the infrastructure for you’? Invariably, your heart will go with the second option. And that’s the kind of workflow serverless computing brings to the developers. Complete focus and attention on programming and application development. Gone are the days of Jack of all and master of none. It’s now time to master coding without dividing your attention and focus on business logic.
Serverless Computing- Yay or Nay?
By now it must be clear to you that serverless computing brings along numerous benefits of traditional computing for the developers today. However, the ultimate decision lies in what your needs are and how you wish to power your organization with cloud computing. The bottom line being, make an informed choice.