In 2022, about 60% market share of the public Cloud deployment model was based on serverless architecture, according to a report from Global Market Insights Inc. [1]. The advantages of serverless computing, such as zero-server management, easy scalability of the IT solution, and its cost-effectiveness, have influenced its increasing adoption.

How does serverless computing work?

Serverless computing is a concept in which the Cloud service provider is responsible for running the application code through flexible allocation of resources. When billing, the time when the application was actually used is taken into account. Therefore, software development in the serverless model is often based on microservice architecture (communicating with each other but operating independently fragments of the application). Or Event-Driven Architecture (EDA) e.g., used to support systems that communicate within the IoT.

From the point of view of IT programmers, when it comes to software development in the serverless model, work is focused on delivering an IT product. No time is spent on managing and securing servers and IT infrastructure. This is the responsibility of the Cloud provider.

Serverless was pioneered by Amazon when it first launched the service in 2014, on its AWS Lambda Cloud. Today, the serverless approach is also available in Google Cloud and Azure Cloud, as well as in private server spaces, thanks to serverless Kubernetes solutions.

What are the advantages of serverless?

The huge advantage of serverless is the lack of a need to manage and maintain the IT infrastructure on the client's side. All duties are taken over by the Cloud provider. Serverless improves security by providing isolation of individual application modules.

However, it's worth underlining that responsibility for security of the infrastructure lies on both sides – both the provider of the Cloud solution and the client (e.g., protection against malware attacks on end devices - laptop, telephone).

The constant availability of our solution and billing for the actual time of using the Cloud infrastructure are other advantages of serverless. Regardless of whether the application is at idle or at the peak of system load, our IT product will always work the same. What's more, despite the readiness of our product and uploading it to a given Cloud, the fee we incur will be charged only for the time of actual operation of the software, and not for server startup time, which is a big change when compared to monolithic software.

It is worth mentioning the easier extension of the scope of our product and its automatic scaling (of course, we determine in advance when and how microservices can scale to the maximum). Thanks to dividing our product into really small elements, it is very easy to add or change something without loss for our clients.

Serverless is also the perfect solution to mix technologies. The use of various programming languages and utilising their advantages means that we can draw from them what is best in a given field. Below is a list of languages supported by each cloud:

  • AWS: Node.js, Python, Java, .NET, Go, Ruby;
  • Google Cloud: Node.js, Python, Go, Java, Ruby, .NET, PHP;
  • Azure: Node.js, Python, Java, .NET, Go, Rust.

Differences exist between individual Cloud providers. It is worth getting to know them before choosing a Cloud provider.

How does serverless benefit the company?

Above all, serverless has an impact on software maintenance costs and its development. However, one should highlight a few special advantages for companies:

  • A faster release of the application to the production environment. Many companies struggle with constant problems, e.g. appropriate environment configuration, appropriate product scaling, etc. With a serverless solution, we do not have to worry about it. When it comes to scaling, we can do it infinitely up and down to zero. In the case of machine configuration, the cloud provider is responsible for this.
  • More possibilities for less money. With classic microservices or other solutions, we pay more not only for slow runs, but also for adding more machines that may or may not be used 24/7. In the case of e-shops, where we have our peak points and downtime, the fee is only for the resources used, not for placing the machine and its operation.
  • Flexibility. By breaking down the software into very small services (sometimes down to small functions). Market volatility will not surprise us. We can treat our solution like Lego bricks. We can quickly and easily remove one and replace it with another, currently required by the client. Testing the application is also more efficient. The smaller the service, the easier it is to test.
  • Converting fixed costs into operating costs. The costs of maintaining and administering the infrastructure reach astronomical proportions. With a serverless solution, our cost is only the time of operations performed by our microservices. The smaller the service and the shorter the working time, the lower the cost.
  • An eco-friendly image, an element that is well perceived by today's clients. In cases where our product is in the idle phase, our company does not pay for a standing and power-consuming server. At the same time, someone else can use the unit for their own use. This is because we don't have a physically assigned entity, just a container that will run on any machine.

Where is serverless used?

The greatest advantages in using the serverless approach can be seen when the system is not loaded evenly around the clock. An additional advantage of this technology is the number of languages that we can use. Therefore, the serverless solution has been partially implemented by such giants as Codepen, Zalora, Nordstrom, Shamrock, Figma and Netflix. There are also portals such as SQQUID, that are 100% serverless.

[1] Serverless Architecture Market size to cross $90 Bn by 2032 - https://www.gminsights.com/pressrelease/serverless-architecture-market

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