Serverless architecture represents a new stage in the app development also known as Function-as-a-Service (FaaS). It’s a kind of cloud computing changing the app building world.
Serverless is everything about freedom from “always on” server systems sitting behind an app. But initially, serverless meant a slightly different thing: the app dependence on the 3rd-party services (AWS Lambda, Autho, Parse, etc.) managing the server-side logic and state.
All in all cloud servers e.g. Amazon EC2 are called upon to reduce operational costs while you no longer have to maintain servers, databases, and storage systems to run an app.
Generally, serverless doesn’t mean that there aren’t any servers, but it implies that it’s not your pain: you should only specify app functions and upload them to the cloud, and you’re done. A Cloud Vendor (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc.) will take care of maintaining the server and ensuring its flawless work for quite moderate prices.
What does “serverless” stand for?
Serverless architecture breaks apart server-side applications into separate functions for each task. Creating a serverless application is a much easier task than writing a native app. Every IT student learns it in the very first weeks of study. And you don’t need to wait long months or year for your app to be developed. Within a couple of days, you’ll get your app done and kicking.
The serverless architecture takes the app development to the extreme. A serverless app is divided into several components operating at any scale.
As soon as you compile the app functions, give them to a cloud vendor. And a serverless vendor will run your functions in separate, parallel containers to monitor and scale the functions on a standalone basis. This ultimate architecture offers a vast range of benefits that no one software architecture has.
A great example of the serverless architecture flawless work is a real-time filtering of chat comments. All chat messages need to be filtered and sorted before delivering to ease the process of customer support.
If a chat works with a server architecture, a message should undergo a long way to the target user- firstly, a server then parsing, and finally a chat room. This works well with small numbers of users, but if there is more than a thousand, an app may play hell with the users.
Here a serverless app comes extremely useful. You write a function for sorting the messages, and a cloud vendor wraps it in a container that can be not only monitored but also cloned and distributed to any number of servers. In this case, chat messages go to the vendor and if needed, the vendor increases the number of containers to ensure proper logic work at any scale.
It’s important to note that some of this technology is new on the market and some features need improving. But if you’re developing something like Pokemon GO, consider some pros of going serverless.
Lower operational cost
Serverless architecture is the most simple outsourcing solution saving money in terms of both human resources and computing power. Serverless eliminates the need for managing, deploying, and maintaining own servers. And with the serverless architecture, you don’t have to spend a pretty penny for “always-on” servers.
User experience first
Since the infrastructure isn’t your pain anymore, you have more time to care about app features and user experience. With the serverless architecture, your team can focus more on the elements influencing the user experience.
You can use a cloud server, for example, to provide the users with a rich interface or a real-time view of various operations.
More time for marketing
A developer can create a serverless app in hours instead of long weeks as we’ve mentioned above. Utilizing the 3rd-party services like OAuth for authentication, Facebook for social, Google for maps, and much more will greatly decrease the time required for development.
Hence, you’ve got more time for marketing and promotion of your future app.
Everyone wants the app to be next Twitter or Instagram, but 9 out of 10 startups fail. And is it fails, can you handle the burden of wasted investments?
Investing lots of money in servers is still a big risk since you don’t know beforehand if your app throws lead. Moreover, you don’t have to make a hard choice between hiring skilled developers and buying server equipment.
Enhanced geolocation and latency
The scale of an application depends on the number of users, their location, and network latency.
Nowadays the apps gain worldwide popularity i.e. global audiences and network latencies can diminish the user experience.
And a way to eliminate latencies is to build a serverless app that will perform well regardless of the user location.
For example, Uber works on the brand-new serverless platform called Catalyst. The app provides on-demand cab services nearly worldwide, and the serverless architecture comes in handy for low-latency messaging in real time.
As data loads are getting bigger and bigger, serverless architecture can become a standard approach for app development. Serverless architecture is an ideal choice for photo-sharing or massive data dashboards reducing costs, latency, and complexity.
What do you think of serverless architecture? Share your thoughts in comments.