Serverless architecture has been gaining wide popularity for a while now owing to its unlimited advantages such as being developer-friendly, offering high scalability and flexibility, faster time to release, and being cost-effective, to name a few. Opting for the right architecture is not just a part of your product development phase but it is what determines how well your system can pace up with the changing business requirements.
In order to come up with the best architecture approach, it is crucial to identify the benefits and limitations of models related to the architecture approaches as well as the benefits of serverless be it serverless backend, frontend, or overall serverless architecture. While the growing demand for serverless architecture signifies its high potential, it also denotes that you need to know the best of this architecture advantage to make the best out of the serverless architecture.
To give you a glimpse of its surging demand, the industry size of serverless architecture surpassed $7 billion in 2020 and is forecast to grow at 20% CAGR through 2027. But what advantages of serverless computing are driving its growth? Or, what exactly is this serverless architecture? We are going to walk you through these all.
What Is Serverless Architecture?
Serverless architecture is defined as an architectural approach in software designing that makes it easier for the developers to deploy, launch, run, maintain, and upgrade the relevant services without going through the overhead of handling the underlying infrastructure. Serverless architecture is mainly based on the concept of eliminating the hassles of server hardware, software, business & security logic, backup creation, and other relevant tasks by going serverless. Adopting serverless architecture ensures that all your developers will need to do is focus on application code while the rest of server-related work will be handled by third-party service and solution providers.
While serverless architecture can have different types and forms, Function as a Service (FaaS) serverless architecture is considered to be one of the most sought-after approaches among them. A serverless architecture approach often refers to a FaaS serverless architecture approach where every function is meant to execute a specific task as triggered by a relevant event.
Such functions along with the respective trigger events are deployed on a cloud provider account by the developers. So that the cloud provider can execute the function on a running server or can assign a new server for it. In this way, the intended task execution is taken care of and at the same time, the hassles of running a server, or maintaining it can be avoided.
One of the leading examples of such FaaS-enabled serverless architecture is AWS Lambda, the first mainstream FaaS platform introduced by Amazon in 2014. With time it has got the spotlight among diverse business players. Two vivid examples of FaaS offerings are Google Cloud Functions (GCF) and Azure Functions developed by Google and Microsoft respectively.
Benefits of Serverless Architecture
As already discussed, serverless architecture is often the first choice for developers and business players due to its hassle-free functionalities. But there’s more to it. Let’s walk you through the key serverless architecture advantage along with the top benefits of serverless architecture and serverless backend.
1. Great Observability
One of the key benefits of serverless architecture is it offers better observability for the developers, testers, and the relevant stakeholders. One of the top advantages of serverless computing is it emphasizes decomposition methods where an application is broken down into several smaller parts to simplify the relevant tasks.
This not only helps streamline the related activities but ensures greater observability where one can monitor each of the components and their respective functionalities easily. This also helps in catering to building a transparent system based on serverless architecture.
2. High Flexibility and Scalability
Flexibility is often considered the key serverless architecture advantage which is not only an important requirement during the deployment phase but also ensures seamless integration and scaling up as per your business requirements. Flexibility and Scalability are two prime qualities of a product or system and these two come hand in hand.
As various tasks related to the server such as deployment, maintenance, handling up-gradation, and others are not involved, the system becomes more flexible and scalable to accommodate the dynamic changes and requirements.
3. Reduced Architecture Cost
It is obvious that serverless architecture reduces the product development cost significantly by bypassing the complex task of deploying or integrating servers or handling the associated work. While opting for serverless architecture, an organization outsources the entire server and database management.
In this way, one can eliminate the heavy investments associated with internal architecture building, administration, and others. As a result, the overall architecture cost gets reduced drastically.
4. UX-Centric Approach
Another important serverless architecture advantage is - the deployment often becomes UX-centric where complete focus is given to building a fully functional, comprehensive, purposeful, and competitive UX for the end-users. As the server deployment, integration or other server-related tasks are no longer a point of concern for the developer team, they can emphasize more on deploying with a UX-centric approach that helps in better positioning in the current market.
5. Better Scope for Innovation
Innovation is the key to excel for organizations. And by going serverless, you can ensure that there is higher scope for innovation by incorporating or integrating relevant tools or solutions as per the industry standards and latest innovations. Be it catering to the prime requirements, or offering key solutions by incorporating cutting-edge tools and techniques - serverless architecture widens the scope to innovate, grow, and excel which makes it one of the key benefits of serverless architecture.
Limitations of Serverless Architecture
Undoubtedly serverless architecture has gained traction around the globe due to its unlimited benefits. But it is not free from limitations either. Let’s get some overviews of the limitations of serverless architecture.
1. Dependency on Third Party
While being free from the hassles of server maintenance is a key serverless architecture advantage, it also comes with one disadvantage - you have to rely on the third-party service provider for this. Despite being serverless and getting considered a key serverless architecture advantage, it can become inconvenient as you have to get everything done by the third-party website including fixing any required changes, new integrations, maintenance, troubleshooting, and others. There can be interruptions in the smooth execution of all these activities, especially, if the third-party service provider is not that reliable.
2. Issues of Cold Starts
It is often a common occurrence for the serverless architecture, where the execution of the first function request takes a longer time than usual. This issue is known as cold start.
In serverless architecture, cold starts may occur in the cases when the system needs to initiate the relevant internal resources but they are not initiated properly. However, this issue can be resolved and you can leverage the key benefits of serverless architecture instead by sending periodic function requests to keep the function in an active state.
3. Long-Running Workloads
Long-running workloads in a serverless architecture are - when the functions which are executed and run on a system for a long, incur high costs for being serverless. As all the server requests and related activities are executed and handled by the third-party site, it may not only take additional time but also causes higher investment due to the long-running workloads.
Serverless architecture has become one of the most common and strategic approaches to architecture development for several products or systems for organizations. If your focus is more on developing a competitive product with a high-quality UX, and optimum functionalities, or if you have limited time, resources or budget, then serverless architecture can be your go-to option.
Also, for organizations who don’t want to take the overhead of server maintenance, and other server-related work, can go for serverless architecture. The above guide will help you identify the benefits and limitations of models for serverless architecture as well as implement it in the best possible way as per your needs.
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