The revolution of Serverless Computing is here to stay, and this is because this new technology enables application development without having to go through the management and administration of a server. Under this model, applications can be grouped and loaded onto a platform and then run and scaled as demand for them increases.
Although “Serverless Computing” does not suppress the use of servers when executing a code, it does eliminate all activities related to its maintenance and updating. This creates an efficient model where developers manage to disassociate themselves from those routine tasks to focus on more productive activities, thus increasing the company’s operational efficiency.
What is Function as a Service (FaaS)?
Function as a Service (FaaS) is a model that allows for the execution of several computing actions based on events, and thanks to it, developers can manage applications, “bypassing” the need for servers during their management.
In the world of computing, functions are in charge of managing the states of a server, therefore the FaaS model develops a new logic that is later executed in other containers located in the cloud.
In general terms, FaaS allows us to design applications in a new architecture where the server works in the background and the execution of codes based on events becomes the fundamental pillar of the model. This means that the underlying processes that normally occur on a server do not run continuously, but are available when needed.
This becomes a clear advantage of the FaaS model, allowing developers to scale dynamically, that is, implement application automation so that it decreases or increases based on actual demand.
In addition to the above, FaaS increases the efficiency and profitability of operations, since providers will not bill the company when no activity is detected.
All this makes the FaaS model an innovative element within the recent field of serverless architecture by minimizing investment in infrastructure, and leveraging the competitive advantages of Cloud Computing.
The evolution of Serverless Computing
With the advent of the cloud in the first decade of the 2000s, people had the opportunity to store and transfer data online, which eliminated the need for hard drives.
This undoubtedly created important advantages for users, who had the opportunity to immediately access their information online from any device.
However, developers were missing an element in this equation, i.e., the place where applications or software were implemented. In this sense, a “Virtual Machine” model was implemented which allowed to point to a “Simulated Server”, creating significant flexibility in updates and migrations, and with this, the problems associated with hardware variations were left behind.
Despite this progress, “virtual machines” had some limitations in terms of operation, and this led to the creation of containers, a new technology that allowed administrators to section the operating system in order to keep several applications active simultaneously, without one interfering with the other.
Considering this reality, we can see that all these technologies maintain the paradigm of “where an application runs” as their fundamental structure. Under this scenario, Serverless Computing emerged, promising a new level of abstraction focused on the code itself that diminished the importance of the place where code was stored.
With the advent of Amazon’s AWS Lambda service at the end of 2014, a milestone in serverless architecture was achieved, as developers could finally focus their efforts on creating software without having to worry about hardware, OS maintenance, the location of the application, as well as its level of scalability.
Use Cases for Serverless Computing
Below are some successful cases of companies that applied serverless technology, or Serverless Computing, within their organizations:
Case 1. Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM)
Major League Baseball has used serverless computing technology to provide all its fans with real-time baseball game data through its “Statcast” product. This acquisition has increased MLBAM’s processing speed, as well as the ability to handle more data.
Case 2. T-Mobile US
T-Mobile US is a mobile phone company with a strong presence in the North American market. The company decided to bet on serverless technology, achieving significant benefits in terms of resource optimization, scaling simplicity, and the reduction of computer patches, thus increasing its real capacity to respond in a much more efficient way to all its customers.
Case 3. Autodesk
Autodesk is a company that develops software for the architecture, construction and engineering industries. Recently this organization decided to apply serverless technology in order to manage its development, as well as the time-to-market of all its products. In keeping with this policy, Autodesk created the “Tailor” application as an efficient response for managing its clients’ accounts.
Case 4. iRobot
iRobot is a company that designs and manufactures robotic devices intended for use within the home and in industrial settings. Since the organization decided to get involved with Serverless Computing technology, the data processing capacity of its robots has increased substantially, also allowing the capture of data streams in real time. The new serverless architecture allows them to focus on their customers and not on operations.
Case 5. Netflix
Netflix has become one of the world’s largest online media on-demand content providers. In line with its innovative spirit, this company has decided to use Serverless Computing to generate an architecture that helps optimize the encoding processes of its audiovisual files, as well as the monitoring of its resources.
When we look at the evolution of Serverless Computing and how it has managed to significantly impact computing processes in general, we understand that this new system will quickly become the next step in the world of cloud computing, fostering a promising future focused on adopting a multimodal operational approach.