8 years ago

The Future of Cloud Computing is Serverless

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When it comes to cloud computing services, serverless is pretty much the newest kid on the block.

Going serverless with cloud computing is fast becoming the next “it” technology on everybody’s minds and it’s going to be the future of cloud computing services.

Serverless cloud computing might be classified as a misnomer. It does not mean that you would be using cloud computing services without a server, as most people would have thought. Instead, going serverless means that you can focus on your tasks instead of servers. You do not think about the servers at all, and you will not worry about operational concerns.

The three layers of serverless cloud computing

To fully understand serverless architecture, think of it as having three layers that are right on top of your current storage, computer and network resources. These layers are functions, framework and fabric.

  1. Having a serverless fabric allows you to avoid the operations and functions that you used to worry about. That means you can focus on the more important things.
  1. You will have an event-based programming model that will be useful for IoT and other adaptable applications, which usually have a huge number of output and inputs.
  1. Functions as a service (FaaS). This layer provides the patterns, references and packages architectures that you need to create your application. FaaS is the brains, logic and code that brings you the right response.

The difference between serverless and Platform as a Service (PaaS)

You can say that PaaS is the earliest example of serverless, but using a PaaS service means that you would still worry about the number of virtual machines that you need, even when you do not manage them. Serverless cloud computing gives you more than that, because you really do not need to think about your required capacity in advance.

PaaS also requires you to have one big application. When you go serverless, you can break down the application into smaller programs and functions. Each of these smaller functions is then available on demand instead of running all the time, which happens with a PaaS application.

Benefits of going serverless when using cloud computing technology

That brings us to the benefits of using serverless cloud computing technology. Going serverless with your cloud computing technology has two distinct advantages for you.

  1. First, it is very scalable. The platform you use to host the code is responsible for scaling the application when demand spikes up. This means that you would need not concern yourself whether the application has 100 or 100 million users. You do not need to think about pre-provisioning or overprovisioning your servers.
  1. It can also save you money. In the past, you would have runtime models that have constantly running processes that you would need to pay for even when you are not using them. A serverless cloud service means that you will not pay a fixed amount for every deployed instance, but rather, when these instances are being used.

Serverless cloud computing services and the Internet of Things (IoT)

Probably one of the most obvious use cases for serverless cloud solutions is the Internet of Things. But there are others, such as REST APIs, back ends for mobile applications, and cognitive bots.

With the IoT, the final output is better outcomes and decisions. The applications developed for IoT are very flexible and new features are introduced every so often. A serverless cloud service can ensure that even with the constant updates, your applications will not break.

For instance, a smart device that informs its user about any parts that may need maintenance would make use of information gathered from a variety of sensors. These IoT data will be coming from different sources and would include information on the warranty, the customer, and what parts are being monitored. Serverless would be able to bring together all of these data, allowing the user to respond promptly.

The event is the broken down part of the device. Then a serverless function would verify if the user has warranty and if the part is covered by the warranty. This search is done quickly. A serverless cloud service would be able to handle unpredictable loads and allows you to connect or add value to other business lines as well as improve customer service.

IoT workloads are very sporadic. Unpredictable loads are perfect for the serverless cloud.

However, not every workload is ideal for serverless cloud computing. Take that into consideration before you invest in serverless cloud computing services. Instead of going serverless for every IT undertaking, you can use it as a tool in creating applications that are native to the cloud.

What you need to know about going serverless

When it comes to cloud computing services, serverless is pretty much the newest kid on the block. Because it is a new technology, there are very few tools and software that can help you manage a serverless environment. This can make managing and monitoring your cloud services a bit of a chore. The tools that you have available now are best suited for apps that run for a longer period of time instead of the functions that run only for a second or less.

Serverless cloud solutions are also more complex because you would be breaking down the applications into smaller standalone functions. The sheer number of standalone programs will make the whole system even more complex. You are no longer managing just one big application, but a dozen or more smaller apps.

Even so, these problems are going to go away once more and more companies go serverless.

Going serverless? Four Cornestone can help!

Serverless certainly has the potential to change the way businesses write and deploy code for their apps and cloud solutions. You would not need to think about one single app, long running processes, and instead enjoy the cost saving benefits working with smaller apps that runs only when an event occurs.

If you want to try out serverless cloud computing, contact Four Cornerstone. We can help you with our team of experts ready to assist you as you move your applications on Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, as well as other cloud services that offer serverless functionality. We can also assist you in creating your own in-house serverless environments.

Photo courtesy of Berkeley Lab.

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