What Does Serverless Architecture Hold?
The cloud emerged somewhere in the mid-2000s. We look at how serverless architecture will evolve in the coming decade. But first, what is serverless architecture, anyway?
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Let’s rewind a bit. The cloud emerged somewhere in the mid-2000s. Before its development, enterprises relied on their own infrastructure to house everything they needed for software, small business apps, or programs. Engineers were required to manage the hardware and software.
Put yourself in the engineers’ shoes, other than development, you still need to mind the integrity of your infrastructure. This includes servers, networks, storage, services, and application. Managing the hardware, let alone the software, is an expensive process that requires skilled technicians.
Serverless architecture removes that need. It should hardly come as a surprise then that Gartner predicts that by the end of this year, 20% of global enterprises will have deployed serverless computing technologies. In the next couple of paragraphs, we will look at how serverless architecture will evolve in the coming decade. But first, what is serverless architecture, anyway?
What Is Serverless Architecture?
The term serverless does not necessarily mean the absence of servers. Well, at the least, it is the absence of servers that you need to worry about. Let’s differentiate it from 'the cloud' to give you a better picture. Serverless computing is a type of cloud computing but it does not mean the same the other way.
Cloud computing simply means a rented computer you can access through the internet. You pay for computing power, database storage, apps for small businesses, and other resources through the cloud.
With serverless architecture, a third-party provider will manage your servers. This service is aimed at companies that require servers but want to remove the cost of buying, maintaining, and upgrading them. Serverless architecture is a FaaS or Function as a Service protocol.
Tech organizations, especially startups or SaaS (software as a service) companies, take advantage of everything they can in terms of technological advancement. It’s better to use cost-effective means to operate, such as cloud computing, free business software, lean startup methods, DevOps, and many more.
The clear benefit of serverless architecture is that it’s cost-effective and scalable. Sounds good, right? However, any system has its pros and cons. As you continue in this article, you will learn some concerns about serverless computing and how companies are evolving to mitigate these problems. Let’s review some of the trends in a serverless architecture.
Hybrid Serverless Systems
Every system architecture, such as private cloud or edge computing, has its pros and cons. For example, a container as a service type of cloud computing may require management, but it is vendor-exclusive, which means your program will work on any machine. These properties are inverted for serverless architecture.
Now, wouldn’t it be fantastic to be able to take advantage of all the pros you need? One of the possible evolutions this year is the development of hybrid serverless systems. What are hybrid serverless systems, you might ask?
With hybrid serverless architecture, you can compartmentalize certain features or functions to run from containers while others can run serverless as deemed fit. In short, a program can run on a combination of serverless architecture and other types of cloud computing.
Use of Kubernetes for Cross-platform Standardization
Kubernetes has been the standard in container management for different cloud computing companies. However, standardization is yet to be applied to serverless architecture since it is a relatively new offering.
Kubernetes provide not only effortless development and operation but also easy-to-use built-in features such as scaling, structure management, networking, scheduler, and so much more. Furthermore, the standard use of Kubernetes in serverless computing paves the way for the portability of software storage.
This means serverless architecture users may get services from different cloud providers. In effect, developers will have the freedom to choose and use features offered from different platforms and will work harmoniously.
Expanding Implementation of Serverless Architecture
Currently, serverless computing generally houses stateless applications. These are programs that do not save users’ data. For example, if you use a stateless app to search for a recipe, this information will not be saved. This means the app cannot be adapted to the individual.
Stateful applications may be able to use serverless architecture in the future. This entails the ability to save data while maintaining the FaaS characteristic. Moreover, right now, serverless computing is not being used for long-running and complex applications due to latency problems. As technology develops, we may see these types of applications using serverless architecture.
Enhanced serverless architecture security
Just like in any other cloud-based technology, serverless computing presents security issues. Though the vendor manages and secures the infrastructure, it is the FaaS users’ responsibility to secure their coding, data, and business logic.
Functions in serverless architecture also present an increased potential for cybersecurity attacks. Of course, developers are continuously looking for ways to work on the challenges users face in computing. In this case, it involves increased digital security for serverless architecture.
Environmental factors are one of the most overlooked aspects of tech enterprises. Remember, each piece of equipment being used by programs and applications uses up energy and other resources. The graph below, which is from 2012, gives a sense of the demand.
As you can see, the IT sector requires more electricity than the majority of countries in the G8. This high energy use translates into harmful effects to our environment through the release of carbon dioxide and other gases that occur at most power plants.
Serverless architecture provides an opportunity to reduce these demands by improving efficiency. For a start, running one server farm is far more efficient than running several small farms. Secondly, with serverless architecture, functions are only run once triggered. Developments in hardware and infrastructure can further increase the energy efficiency of serverless computing.
Summing Things Up
Right now, serverless architecture is already providing solutions to the fast-growing software development industry. Even though its functions are still limited and undergoing continuous improvement, serverless computing helps companies, especially startups, to reduce costs, while giving them the chance to scale quickly.
Improvement in the telecommunications infrastructure and the development, whether private cloud, multi-tenant cloud, or teleconference technologies, of 5G will increase the capacity of networks to handle data. As the demand for serverless computing increases, providers will compete to improve the services they offer. This should create a self-fulfilling loop that will increase demand for serverless architecture, and an improvement in the quality of the offering provided to businesses.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.