What is Serverless Computing?

Although serverless computing is the latest and greatest in the technology world, the serverless concept has been around in some form or another for over a decade. Serverless, a cloud computing execution model, offers computing resources on demand while offloading all responsibility for common infrastructure management tasks to cloud providers and tools.  

One major advantage of serverless is that it allows an application, or part of it, to be performed when it is needed without the need for an execution environment to run constantly, ultimately saving money. Companies no longer need to maintain a server 24/7 even when only using it part of the time; instead, they can deploy code in a serverless environment while only paying for the resources they actually consume. This means companies are charged based on their computation and not a fixed amount of bandwidth or number of servers.  

Although the name suggests otherwise, physical servers are still used. However, companies no longer need to be aware of them and can focus on their work without worry. In the past, anyone building a web application had to own the physical hardware needed to run a server—a burdensome and expensive commitment, but then came cloud computing.  

With cloud computing, fixed numbers of servers or server space can be rented. In order to accommodate for spikes in activity, companies who rent these units typically over-purchase so as to avoid exceeding their monthly limits. In so many cases, paid-for server space can go to waste. To amend this issue, cloud vendors introduced auto-scaling models; however, a spike in activity can still be expensive for the company. 

In contrast, serverless computing offers a flexible pay-as-you-go option for companies to only pay for the services they use. Think of it as switching your cell phone data plan from a monthly fixed limit to one that charges for each byte of data you use. 

There are generally two domains for the application of serverless computing: frontend and backend. The frontend is the application that users see, such as the visual layout, while the backend is the part that users do not see, including the server where the files live and the database where data and business logic are stored.  

When someone types a website address into a browser window, the browser sends a request to the backend server. The backend server then responds with the website data. However, the user will see the website, or frontend, which includes text, images, and form fields. If the user interacts with a form field on the front end and submits it, a request is sent to the backend, where the request is checked. Then the backend will relay the data back to the frontend, where the results will be displayed.  

Compared to traditional cloud providers of backend services, serverless computing typically costs less since companies only pay for the services they use. This advantage is just one of many. Additionally, serverless vendors handle the scaling on-demand, so companies do not have to worry about scaling up their code. Also, companies can utilize simple functions that perform a single purpose independently, simplifying their backend code. And without the need for a complicated deployment process to fix bugs and new features, companies can easily add or modify code as needed. 

Let Excipio Help You Migrate to Serverless Computing 

With our proven Economic Analysis Modeling and Methodology (EAMM) process, clients are provided a comprehensive analysis to help them make highly informed decisions about their technology strategy. If you are ready to learn more about what serverless computing can do for your organization, contact us or call 918-357-5507 today. Excipio’s elite team is ready to serve you.  

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