Serverless Computing and the Value it offers
We have transitioned from siloed building of functionalities and applications to an extremely connected technology landscape. By leveraging the power of Cloud and APIs, we have been able to build technology stacks that are fluid and scalable.
Gone are the days of bulky servers that would be hosted in your premises. We have left back the era, where there was always a silent battle being waged among technology teams for compute, storage, network, and allied resources to test their applications before going to production.
The era of Serverless computing is a welcome change. Serverless computing leverages the power of cloud infrastructure to provide instant access to storage, network, compute resources and as-a-service models. This has empowered organizations, especially the ones with limited or no legacy applications or IT infrastructure, to build and deploy seamlessly and much faster than ever.
With Serverless computing, the organizations can instantly access and run code exactly when they need to run it. The functionality can be availed and used as a service as against having to employ a physical server and ensure that its management – from cooling, to access authorization to maintenance and upkeep is managed well.
The age of the Full Stack Developers
By ensuring that the execution of their code can be done on a cloud platform that they have access to, developers have limited or no dependence on IT infrastructure and technology managers. They can focus on developing the code for their applications without really having to worry about maintenance of the server and IT infrastructure.
While this greatly benefits the speed of development, it can also significantly enable optimization of resources. While the code is executed only when needed, it is optimized for cost and resources utilization as against having to keep paying for utilization of storage, compute, network resources even during slack periods.
Another invaluable benefit of serverless computing is that the impact of failure is limited to the functionality being tested and it doesn’t significantly impact other functionalities or the overall application.
Most importantly, serverless computing is a guaranteed ticket for faster go-to-market as it takes capacity planning, resource allocation, maintenance, and wait time for infrastructure resources out of the equation completely.
Full stack developers who work with the server side and the client side of the application can greatly benefit from serverless computing and enhance the speed of innovation, product development etc.
Impact of Serverless Computing:
Leveraging APIs in web and mobile applications
Our websites and mobile apps often use services which need to be triggered only when an event occurs. For example: – If a university is inviting applications for admissions, the functionality to enable users to express interest and fill in relevant details needs to be active only during the admission window and not through the entire year. In such a case, peak loads may be experienced in these months and the volume of traffic or concurrent hits would be very low during the rest of the year. These situations can be best handled when serverless computing comes into the picture and enables dynamic allocation of resources.
Optimized Data Processing
With serverless computing, the system can be trained to process data only in case certain events or conditions are triggered. For example, a function may be called, and code may be executed only if there is a certain kind of data activity such as a video upload etc.
With such event-based processing, the load on compute requirements is much less and fluid in nature which enables developers to save time and money utilized on creating applications. With serverless computing, they can also leverage APIs to connect to external systems or databases, which can help them to save more time and do meaningful development at work.
Edge Computing and IoT
Today, computing has been taken right up to the edge of the network. Devices which leverage edge computing and IoT can greatly benefit from having code run as per the function that they want executed at a point in time. This enables them to ensure that they don’t have to pay for computing power unless there is an exchange of information or utilization of computing resources due to specific events being triggered. Since serverless computing empower organizations with the capability to almost automatically and seamlessly ramp-up and scale down, developers can focus more on building innovative IoT solutions rather than having to worry about usage patterns and availability of compute resources.
Serverless computing directly answers the question of pace of development in an uncertain world. While we realize that the innovation to execution cycle needs to be as short as possible, it cannot be done using the legacy method of writing and managing code. Organizations are building Dev-Ops and following the ‘continuous integration/ continuous delivery’ model to churn innovation with minimum turnaround time. Serverless computing is a great friend to developers and organizations that have keenly embarked on the path of continuous innovation.
(The author is Mr. Shrikant Navelkar, Director, Clover Infotech and the views expressed in this article are his own)