Cloud services have taken the world by storm in the last decade thanks to their ability to lower total cost of ownership of IT systems. However, traditional cloud servers are still costly, and their management requires time and skills. Serverless services, those that do not need a server to be active, alleviate both burdens. They do not require management (done by the cloud provider) and you pay only for what you use. Serverless services help your organization reduce their IT operation costs while keeping the environment reliable, secure, and compliant.
Serverless services are the next big leap in the development of IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) in the cloud, driven by their lower costs, low management requirements and on-demand availability. In the serverless business model, the cloud provider (e.g., AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud Platform) is responsible for maintaining, storing, securing, and upgrading the servers, while the user can dynamically provision the required resources, paying only for time in which the resources are provisioned. With serverless technology, your software engineers must take care only of what they do best since the maintenance of the services is only the responsibility of the cloud provider. The serverless architecture allows developers to perform operations without worrying about servers, virtual machines, or other basic computing resources, that require heavy maintenance and management to be set reliably.
Benefits of Serverless for IT Infrastructure Management
The serverless model provides several significant benefits for the organizational IT infrastructure:
Lower IT costs
The pay-as-you-go in a shared resources-pool model ensures that only utilized resources are being paid for with no upfront or subscription costs. Applications will provision resources in a direct respond to usage and will terminate them once they are done being utilized. An example for such usage behavior would be a computation job that requires a cluster of computers for several hours a week.
Fully managed serverless services simplify the infrastructure management duties by leaving the upkeep tasks of updating, upgrading, and fixing to the service provider.
High availability and a fault tolerant infrastructure are guaranteed by the cloud provider’s global infrastructure. The user can configure automated replication of resources across several geographical regions that will ensure continuous operation even in the case of an entire regional outage.
Serverless applications quickly adapt to changes in utilization and uses traffic by provisioning and terminating resources based on demand. Automated resource scaling ensures that no machines are idle and there are no operational disruptions when traffic is high.
Multi-level state-of-the-art security measures are implemented in each serverless product and guarantee the highest level of defense for data and services operation.
A broad variety of products in each domain allows us to choose services to meet user requirements.
A global connected network of data centers aimed to deliver data with low latency and high throughput to end-users from around the globe.
Each service is compliant with most demanding regulatory, security and operational requirements, including PCI-DSS, HIPAA/HITECH, FedRAMP, GDPR, FIPS 140-2, and NIST 800-171.
Serverless Services and Their Benefits
There are several serverless services available from different providers. They come with different benefits:
AWS Lambda is a serverless code execution service that runs code without the need of provisioning or managing any infrastructure. Lambda enables the development of microservices and is available in eight programming languages. There are a broad range of use cases for Lambda in the IT landscape such as data processing, serving as a backend for web applications, IoT processing and more.
AWS Aurora is a fully managed AWS native cloud relational database with MySQL and PostgreSQL compatibility. Aurora provides a simple and cost-effective database services for any scale of application, while maintaining high performance and availability. AWS Aurora is serverless because, unlike traditional database servers, in AWS Aurora users do not need to take care of server provisioning, continuous operation, security and the maintenance of its underlying operating system. All these tasks are provided automatically by AWS services or cloud providers in general.
AWS Fargate is a native fully managed container engine capable of orchestrating container deployment, communication, and operation. All of this is automatically provided by AWS. Data engineers do not need to worry about all these provisioning. Fargate monitors each individual container’s usage and health and provision of new containers accordingly. Once again, Fargate is designed to simplify the cumbersome task of containers operation by leaving the installation, operation, and maintenance tasks to the providers.
Whether you want to transform your data lake, train a machine learning model, or host your web application, serverless cloud services should be your go-to solution for reliable, secure, and cost-effective development environment. You might need to pay in terms of a small lack of flexibility, but the advantages of serverless architecture as shown above (i.e., lower cost of ownership, no maintenance, security, network connection, simplicity, …) completely outnumber this single downside.
We would like to thank Jorge Abreu Vicente, Lior Fuchs and Stefan Morgenweck for their valuable contribution to this article.