6 main benefits of serverless architecture.

In the world of programming “What does serverless architecture mean?” is a fairly common question now.

The serverless architecture provides flexibility to meet ever-changing business requirements without having to dive into the intricacies of operating systems, provisioning servers, addressing and storage capacity, computing power and other technical aspects that are the deepest layer between the user and applications. In serverless computing, the allocation of machine resources is dynamically managed by the cloud platform, providing them on demand.

  • 01 Low entry barrier

Running code in a serverless environment is relatively simple. To get an idea of ​​how to program it to work in an ecosystem of an industrial level, it is enough to take any textbook and follow its recommendations. Learning the basics of deploying serverless environments is much easier than acquiring the basic knowledge of DevOps development; moreover, many of the agile development skills are not needed at all to implement a serverless architecture. These include, for example, server management skills, configuration, or patching. A low barrier to entry is one of the features of serverless computing.
This means that developers need less time to master them than to familiarize themselves with other IT architectures, and the general learning curve becomes steeper as you learn (mastering new material is easier). As a result, more and more developers are connecting to serverless projects, making an effective contribution to them. The ability to quickly learn new skills is one of the reasons that projects enter the market faster.
Each year, the IT infrastructure becomes more complex, filling up not only with physical equipment, but also with virtual ones, including virtual machines, containers, cloud applications, and linking all this economy is not so simple. Traditional tools, such as “infrastructure as code”, event log management, monitoring, and networking, do not lose their significance, and it is necessary to determine how each of these elements will interact with a serverless environment. If a developer possesses development skills other than serverless ones, he will have to master some of its features.

  • 02 Hostless

The lack of direct interaction with server clusters is the essence of a serverless architecture. Today there is a wide selection of hosts where you can install and run the service — whether it be physical machines, virtual machines, containers, etc. — without resorting to servers. To denote this phenomenon, in addition to the term “serverless”, you can resort to its synonym — “hostless”, or decentralized architecture. One of its advantages is significantly lower operating costs for servicing the server fleet — they are an order of magnitude less than the amounts required to maintain a traditional IT environment.
The enterprise does not need to worry about updating servers — security patches will be installed automatically. A hostless environment allows you to track some characteristics of the applications, due to the fact that most of the used basic services will stop displaying information about the processor, memory, disk size, etc. and therefore administrators no longer need to understand the low-level intricacies of the architecture. However, instead, they will have to learn how to configure the architecture. For example, AWS DynamoDB provides basic capabilities for monitoring and configuring read and write capabilities.
As for the features of AWS Lambda, it imposes a limit on the number of simultaneous requests (events), and not on the number of processor cores. But the features of this serverless service do not end there: for example, when the number of allocated memory changes, Lambda will change the number of processor cores. If you use a single AWS account for performance testing and commercial environments, and if performance testing unexpectedly runs out of concurrent events, then Lambda can be paused. As you know, AWS well documents the limitations for each of its services, so before making architectural decisions, you need to make sure that they are correct.
Although a hostless environment significantly reduces operating costs, it is worth noting that in some cases you have to change the settings of the base server. This is due to the fact that the application can rely on its own libraries and after updating the OS, you need to make sure that they are not out of order.

  • 03 Inability to save state

Functions as a service (FaaS) are ephemeral, therefore computing containers cannot store executable application code in memory — the platform will create and destroy them automatically. Thus, the impossibility of maintaining state (stateless) is another sign of serverless architecture. And this is a big plus for scaling applications horizontally.
The essence of stateless is that the user cannot save the intermediate states of the application. This allows you to scale more instances horizontally without worrying about the state of the application. It is noteworthy that this greatly reduces the risk of propagation of errors. Except, of course, computing containers — they can be re-deployed with state preservation, you should be careful here.

Conclusions

Analysts, users, and skeptics argue about how serverless technology matters. Is it evolutionary or revolutionary? Will it be used to execute most or only part of the applications? The market is still in its infancy, and there are no answers yet. But the hype around the technology and its potential benefits cannot be ignored. The most important difference between serverless platforms is that they pay exactly as much processor time as consumed, accounting accuracy is plus or minus 100 ms. At the same time, you do not need to wait for the servers to start up and adjust the load balancing — the tasks are simply performed automatically as many times as needed. Experts say that such platforms are faster than others, allowing developers to test ideas and bring products to the market.

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Originally published at https://geniusee.com.

Geniusee Software
Taras Tymoshchuck
@tarastymoshchuck

CEO at Geniusee Software Company

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Taras Tymoshchuck

Taras Tymoshchuck

CEO at Geniusee Software Company

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