Serverless Computing: What It Is, Key Benefits, and How To Learn

With each passing day, developers and enterprises alike are beginning to explore the transformative potential of serverless computing. New providers are emerging too, each vying to gain control in a competitive and promising space.

Still not exactly sure what serverless computing is? Here’s a closer look at serverless computing, its benefits, and how you can develop your skills.

What Is Serverless Computing?

The first thing to know about serverless computing is that the computing is (obviously) still performed on a server.

So why the name? It comes from the fact that the server is operated by a cloud provider which dynamically manages how the resources of the machine are allocated. This means that serverless computing lightens the load for businesses by taking care of the cumbersome infrastructure.

So, those businesses are serverless. Many people use “function as a service” as a more accurate way of referring to this type of cloud computing service.

So why all of the excitement? Well, businesses do not have to over-invest in pre-purchased units of capacity. Now, they are able to pay for the exact amount of resources that they have consumed. For some businesses, this can be a huge benefit

This also means that developers are free to focus on all the fun and productive stuff without having to worry about complex server infrastructure.

Pretty smart, right? But which are the key players when it comes to serverless computing providers?

Key Serverless Computing Providers

This is an emerging space and as such, there are lots of providers working to constantly refine their offering and secure new business. There are some familiar names in this list, but also some alternatives which offer a slightly adjusted product.

AWS Lambda

This is a powerful serverless computing platform that has been in operation since 2014. The name comes from the keyword lambda, which is used in a range of programming languages to introduce anonymous functions.

Making up part of the Amazon Web Services, Lambda automatically manages that computing resources that are required by a particular piece of code. This makes Lambda a great choice for those businesses looking to construct small, on-demand applications that respond to new events and new information.

Azure Functions

Functions is the serverless computing offering from Microsoft Azure. This service allows developers to easily build apps using simple and serverless functions that are able to scale to meet demand.

Developers can implement events in a variety of language on the Azure platform including JavaScript, C#, Python, and PHP.

Google Cloud Functions

The Google Cloud Platform has been live for over a decade and offers businesses a huge range of cloud computing services. The service has completely evolved over the years and it now accommodates for serverless computing.

Cloud Functions is the part of the platform which makes it possible to run event-driven code that is written in either Node.js or Python.

IBM Cloud Functions

This offering from IBM allows developers to implement lightweight code that scalably executes on demand. It is based upon Apache OpenWhisk, an open source and distributed serverless platform.

This platform uses Docker containers in order to manage infrastructure, servers, and scaling so that developers can focus on building their applications.

Why Should Enterprises Use Serverless Computing?

The idea is simple to understand, but there are a variety of key benefits to using serverless computing for businesses and developers alike.

Cost-Effective

For some businesses, serverless computing can be much more cost-effective when compared to the operation and maintenance of an On-Demand server. This can vary greatly, of course, depending on the type of business and the activities that are needed.

If an application makes constant and full use of a GPU, then serverless computing may not be the best option for them. It is a difficult balancing act, but many businesses will find that serverless computing makes much more sense for their particular needs.

Scalable

As an enterprise grows, its server needs will increase and become more of a financial burden. Each time the servers are expanded, the business will have to pay for more than they need until they max out that capacity… and the process repeats itself.

Paying for idle resources makes no sense, but serverless computing means that an enterprise never pays for more than it needs. Serverless computing scales with the needs of the business, keeping costs at a minimum for some businesses in the right circumstances.

Light on Code

Serverless computing means that developers are liberated to focus on high-value projects rather than worrying about investing time to manage and operate the server framework.

Worrying about service availability is no fun for developers, and they can delegate those concerns to the server provider. This means that many developers are liberated to show off their innovative skills and focus on doing what they really love.

Faster Performance

The large providers of serverless computing also have sophisticated CDNs which use Points of Presence (POPs) to deliver material quickly and optimally to global audiences.

This reduction in network latency could result in improvements to performance for your application, delighting users and helping you to deliver a better experience to users wherever they are around the world.

Enhanced Security

Unpatched servers are a nightmare scenario for many businesses. These servers are counted among the biggest vulnerabilities in tech and lead to countless security issues each year.

Given that with serverless computing the code resides within the service provider’s cloud platform, the code is protected by the security infrastructure of the provider. This means that many of the physical infrastructure wrapper components are secured, thereby reducing the likelihood of exploits.

Where Can You Learn About Serverless Computing?

This is an exciting area of development that has the potential to improve and scale enterprises in a number of ways. In fact, it can even help to even make some new enterprises a truly viable business.

You can watch hours of youtube video… or check out Code Pilot Hub, an online technical training platform designed by developers for developers using cloud-based development environments.

Here, you will be able to find an intro course on Serverless Programming using Amazon Web Services and Python. You will get a hands-on opportunity to develop your knowledge and it’s entirely free!

Give it a go today, and we look forward to hearing your feedback.