By the word ‘serverless’, some of you might think that it refers to the storage of data without the need for servers. That is a misconception as serverless computing is a form of cloud computing model whereby data are stored dynamically in multiple servers rather than in one dedicated server. A developer does not have to worry about the scaling and management of servers as dynamic allocation is ready for any type of application and scalability with reliability. The main concept behind serverless computing is to let the developers concentrate on the development of the product and leave anything and everything about server management to automation and robustness of the service provided by the server service provider.
The Rise Of Serverless Computing –
The concept of serverless computing was introduced by Google through their Google App Engine in 2008 and it executed the policy of ‘pay as you go’. It automatically used to get scaled as per the load on the application but it failed due to various limitations like supporting applications made in certain Python frameworks only. The successful launch of serverless computing was done by Amazon with AWS Lambda in 2014. When it first came out, it supported only Node.js but now it supports all the leading programming language based applications like Python, Java, C#, and others. Following the success of Amazon’s AWS Lambda, Google has upgraded its service and IBM has entered into the fray with open source serverless platform which takes it to another level of usage and popularity. Microsoft did not want to get left behind with Microsoft Azure.
Serverless Application Development –
To make it more available to the developers and get them interested, there are various serverless database systems that came up on the market. These systems are linked to RDBMS so that the transition is effortless and the need for physical database hardware consideration by the developers while developing an application is no more required. For example, Microsoft introduced Azure Data Lake which can dynamically scale data storage as per requirement. It can dynamically allocate resources to run an application as per its load at any given point in time. Just like Azure Data Lake, there are FaunaDB from Twitter and Amazon Aurora serverless that serve the same purpose.
Furthermore, there are various serverless frameworks available to promote the development of serverless applications which is where the future of development is headed. There is a framework that is called serverless framework where you can create applications with Node.js and Python and you can deploy such application effortlessly in AWS Lambda and Azure Functions. Fission is one of the most popular frameworks for serverless application development in Python, NodeJS, C# and even PHP. Similarly, there is Up framework, Kubeless, SLAppForge Sigma, AWS SAM, OpenFassS and various other frameworks to work on.
Advantages of Serverless Computing –
The reason why one should switch over from traditional computing and data storage to serverless technology can be easily explained by its benefits.
Fully Managed – A serverless computing service is a fully managed service which means the developer team does not have to concern themselves with all the events that happen after deployment. For example, there could be an exceeding load on the servers and the service will allocate the hardware resources accordingly. You can pay as per the resources used after usage or for the extra resources if there is a pre-paid system. This helps the developer team to concentrate only on business logic and leave the administrative task to the service providers.
Cost Effective – There is a general perception that when a service is fully managed, it has to be expensive. But in reality, serverless service is going to cost you less than purchasing a fixed space on a dedicated server. The reason is that when you buy a fixed space, you take the maximum limit of storage required and take into consideration the peak time of web traffics and loads. Therefore, more 75% of the time, space and hardware resources will be wasted. With serverless, your application is allocated only that much space and resources as needed at any point in time and you are billed according to the usage and not based on fixed assets.
Scalability and Less Complication – The reason for the popularity of serverless computing is scalability. The scalability of the application is seamless and automatic. The developer will not get any nightmare of applications getting slow or down when peak time. There is literally no configurations changes required and everything is done automatically without manual intervention. Due to this high scalability, the programmers do not have to do multithreading to increase performance and serve requests faster. There is also no need for handling HTTP requests directly in the code as everything is taken care of smoothly. This is certainly going to be a boost in the productivity of the developers.
Various large companies in the world are already making transitions from traditional server computing to serverless computing technology for their web applications as it is the future fo the web development and deployment world.