The three big public cloud providers are all offering serverless services (AWS Lambda, Google Cloud Functions and Azure Functions). Obviously, the name is equally misleading as the term “cloud” itself – cloud services are run from within a data centre, serverless services run on compute infrastructure.
What then are the advantages of serverless computing (and after virtualisation, containers and now serverless will there be any smaller unit)?
The main advantages of serverless computing are
The aim of serverless computing is to run a “function” only when required. I.e. instead of consuming compute resources 24*7 (as in a local data centre), functions are only called, when required, perform their designated task and are terminated. The term “event-driven architecture” is frequently used in the context of serverless computing.
Care needs to be taken, when using functions to ensure these points are taken into consideration:
To complicate matters further, there are open source technologies that allow to build serverless frameworks. These can run in a public or private cloud environment.
Common use cases are in the areas of:
Like with all technologies there is not a “one size fits all”. Servers, virtual machines, containers and functions have all their own advantages and disadvantages. These need to be evaluated and assessed; once implemented, they need to be controlled and managed.
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