Serverless has become something of a buzzword lately - but it’s much more than a trend.
Its benefits have gained the attention of professionals and amateurs in the tech industry, mainly due to how much cloud vendors have raved about the design.
For mid-sized ventures, the idea of serverless is exceptionally appealing, for those looking for budget-friendly, but useful pieces of technology. It’s genuinely breaking the ground and is sure to make even more moves in the tech industry.
What is serverless?
Serverless, is precisely what it says on the tin - a serverless way to manage your network.
It’s essentially a design pattern where applications are hosted by a third-party service, this eliminates all the need for server software and hardware management by a developer.
A serverless application runs in stateless, computer containers and fully managed by the cloud provider.
Many cloud providers have invested heavily in serverless; which could be further proof at just how popular and helpful serverless is.
Serverless is already being used in big production companies, like Netflix, Telenor, AOL, and Reuters. Industry-wide adoption is increasing rapidly, including small and medium-sized businesses.
Traditional vs. serverless
Obviously, whether or not serverless is for you is entirely subjective, it could prove to be extremely beneficial for you and your company, or traditional servers could be the best option for you.
With this in mind, it’s essential to know the difference between traditional and serverless.
For years, applications have run on servers. These servers had to be updated and patched continually - you might already know the issues that they caused.
If you managed them, all responsibility for proper functioning was on you.
Serverless differs in this way, as you don’t need to worry about underlying servers. They’re not managed by you, and the responsibility falls on the Cloud vendors.
This is one less thing to worry about. Hence, why they’re so popular.
So, what are the specific benefits of opting for serverless? We explore them below.
One of the main benefits of going serverless is definitely the pricing.
For mid-sized businesses, the burden of not only provisioning servers but maintaining them 24.7, proved to be a giant hole in a pocket.
“The cost of a serverless design is execution-based. This means that you are charged for the number of executions. You pay for what you use, which seems a lot fairer. As a mid-sized company, it’s only wise that you look for budget-friendly options. In this case, serverless architecture is the clear winner.” — Emma Kovacs, Senior Tech Writer at IsAccurate.
3rd party dependencies
The majority, maybe even all, of your projects, have external dependencies. You’ll know, these rely on libraries that aren’t built into the language or framework that you use.
These libraries can be extremely dense - with cryptography, image processing, and other accessories.
The reason we’re mentioning this is that, as a mid-sized business, serverless still proves to be better than traditional servers.
Applications with few dependencies, it’s a straightforward choice.
No server management necessary
Even though serverless computing does technically take the place of a server, you never have to deal with it yourself.
They are managed by the vendor and reduce the necessary investment.
Obviously, this helps with the pricing point - as expenses are much lower. It also frees up time, allowing you to focus on other tasks and pieces of work.
Lowering employee downtime is, as you know, a highly important aspect.
Also, as your business grows, you don’t have to update your server. It automatically does this. This means that you can create and expand your applications, without any kind of constrained by server capacity.
With mid-sized businesses, nothing is ever really specific. In fact, this is the same for any type of business.
You never know when you’ll have to relocate or change your office. Setting up in different environments is super easy, given that its pay per execution.
With serverless architecture, you don’t have to set up staging, production machines or dev.
With traditional servers, you risk losing a large amount of your data, especially when you change environments.
Again, this is why medium-sized companies should opt for a serverless design.
With a serverless infrastructure, you don’t need to do any kind of backend configuration. This means that no coding or work is had to be done, for you to release a working version of an application.
As it’s all done by a third-party, updates are all done, without you lifting a finger.
As a mid-sized business, you might not even have somebody in your team that focuses on updating servers. With a serverless design, this eradicates the need.
Obviously, with updates being easy and fast, this reduces downtime. It’s not necessary to make changes to the entire applications - instead, you can update one function at a time.
Serverless architectures are intrinsically scalable. Imagine if your company could increase the range of their server whenever they need to.
Likewise, your server will decrease when applications reduce.
Applications that are built with a serverless infrastructure will scale automatically - for instance, when the user base grows or as usage increases.
As a result of this, a serverless application will be able to handle an obscure number of requests, just as well as it can prepare an individual request from a user. This is one of the main benefits of this type of server.
Automatic scaling is really the future of severs - it allows your business to grow, without any worries is always a great thing.
Functions as a service (FaaS)
FaaS is an implementation of Serverless design. Engineers deploy an individual function or a piece of business logic, to the architecture.
They start with milliseconds, and individual process requests within a 300-second timeout imposed by most cloud vendors.
Faas allows complete management of servers, invocation-based billing, and event-driven and instantly scalable designs. FaaS are similar to functions that you might have come across when writing programming.
They’re small, separate, units of logic that take input arguments. They operate on input and return the result.
A medium-sized business might just find this incredibly appealing.
When you opt for serverless architecture, everything is stateless. This is great for backup purposes and also saving essential files.
For instance, if you lose some of your work on your computer, you can always check your server, and never risk losing your work.
You can also save a file to your desk, and expect it to be there at the next function.
It’s an extra bit of safety.
Of course, this depends on the type of company that you have and other variables. However, a serverless architecture can lead to more satisfied customers, especially when executed right.
Customers can access new features instantly, without having to wait for updates or small fixes. That’s incredibly important, and probably one of the main reasons why big companies, like Netflix, have decided to go serverless.
You don’t have to worry about infrastructure, you can release features and logic quickly and easily, that will improve the user experience.
As a company, you should always be looking for new ways to improve customer service, and serverless might just do this for you.
A focus for many companies and individuals at the moment is how to reduce their carbon footprint. It’s all with good reason, too.
Businesses that host data centers of their own servers need to run their servers continually.
This means that you need a huge about of data and physical resource to build these types of centers. Have you ever considered the energy required to do this?
“Serverless architecture means that you can buy servers on-demand, only when you need it. This reduces the number of resources you need - plus cloud data is known to be more eco-friendly than traditional forms.” — James Overbach, tech writer and editor, WoWGrade.
With the serverless design, you can handle users from every corner of the world. This is due to the access points that you can have on a global scale.
This benefit means that you can scale without affecting the performance of your application.
Again, this also improves customer service and enhances how many people can use your applications and sites.
You have more time for UX
If your application is customer-focused, you need to remember that your customers do not care about the infrastructure. They just want a simple, secure, and straightforward site to use.
They never see the coding, the graphics, or the work that went into your site. The only thing the customer will see is the interface.
This means that you have more time to focus on keeping your customer happy. Such as allocating resources to certain elements and making necessary changes.
Gain feedback from your users, and focus on making them happy.
Quick to deploy
If you need to create an app, and fast, serverless is your best option.
Traditional servers require weeks, even months to deploy an app.
With serverless, you can do it in a matter of days or hours.
This mainly falls with the fact that you don’t have to concern yourself with any kind of infrastructure. You can just focus on the code and release it immediately.
Also, as we mentioned, Scalability is automatic, and there’s no need to worry about any kind of provisioning needs.
Who should you go serverless?
Of course, it’s extremely subjective - serverless might not be the best option for everybody. Who is serverless really for? And what companies would benefit from it?
We’d say it is for developers who want to decrease their go-to-market time and also build lightweight, flexible applications. If it’s important that you can expand and update quickly, you’ll benefit significantly from opting for serverless.
As they reduce costs, there also highly effective for companies that are on a low to medium budget. Not to mention, they reduce employee downtime and ensure that there’s no issues or loss of business down the line.
Of course, they’re also the best option for developers who want to reduce latency.
We hope this helps you in deciding to go serverless. No doubt, it’s been on your mind - especially since it has fast become a big industry trend.
In short, mid-sized companies can highly benefit from going serverless - both economically, environmentally, and functionally.