Serverless, also known as Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) is the latest innovation of Cloud computing where all the responsibility for selecting, testing and managing the infrastructure needed to execute an application will be delivered by the service provider. Major cloud providers like Google Cloud, AWS and Microsoft Azure are already offering such all-inclusive services.
The major advantage of serverless when compared to other types of hosting is that, it helps to considerably reduce the hidden costs related to IT infrastructure. These hidden costs come mainly in three forms.
1. Choosing the necessary configuration and sizing the system hardware and software as well as other components required an initial high cost and was usually performed by the application developer.
2. There need to be proper testing carried out at every stage to ensure that an application functions as required when positioned onto an infrastructure configuration selected during the initial stage. This usually requires the support of system administration staff. The testing needs to be repeated every time when the associated components are updated.
3. There are several costs associated with the ongoing operation of an application such as production, backup and maintenance that are usually handled by the operations staff.
The ideal IT infrastructure alternative is one that significantly reduces or eliminates all three of the Hidden Costs. That is where the importance of serverless creeps in. It can handle infrastructure responsibilities for applications. Serverless applications don't need establishment or administration of hardware and software components. Thus, developers can be relieved from any responsibility other than managing application code. Likewise, management team and operations staffs are relieved of any responsibility of maintaining operating system, resource provisioning, integration testing, right-sizing, scaling, and ensuring availability of infrastructure.
Benefits of Serverless
• Serverless eliminates the need to provision or maintain costly infrastructure thereby reducing the company expenses.
• It helps applications to scale automatically and gives more flexibility compared to servers.
• Serverless helps to cut down the costs significantly as there is no need to pay when the application is not running. It also eliminates the need to pre-provision or over-provision infrastructure and storage, as they can be scaled up or down as per requirement
• It gives high performance and fault tolerance to the application. As everything is inbuilt, there is no need to implement them separately.
• Serverless helps to simplify the method of deploying code into production. It is possible to conceal scaling, planning and maintenance operations from the developer or operator.
• In short, Serverless eradicates the need for any virtual image, hardware configuration and software configuration.
Limitations of Serverless
• Serverless although a preferable option for the future, it poses certain limitations which should be overcome in order to make it an ideal choice.
• As there is no standard technology for serverless, migrating across various cloud providers may be challenging for businesses. This may result in getting locked to a single cloud provider.
• You may face challenges with regard to security, as the conventional security tools are not supported in Serverless.
• Security may be a challenge since conventional security tools are not supported.
• Serverless may pose latency challenges. Serverless platform will take a few seconds to load the functions at the initial stage.
• Serverless may become complex with an increase in the number of functions in the application. It needs tools such as Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) to simplify the development of complex serverless applications.
From the above given facts, it is sure that Serverless will gradually become the choice of both new and existing applications, as it offers a considerable reduction of workforce and infrastructure for businesses. But, this will be possible only if the limitations and challenges posed by Serverless are successfully removed and it is made more business friendly.