If you needed yet another trend and branch of cloud computing, the industry is happy to oblige. After so many possibilities and options, now a new trend starts forming in 2020 – serverless computing.
It’s not exactly a new technology or method. It has been around since the early 2010s in various forms. Now, it’s gaining popularity as customers’ demands and expectations get even higher. “Customers not only expect zero downtime, they demand consistency in how applications perform no matter where they are in the world. No one needs to be penalized for accessing your application in Tokyo just because you host from New Jersey”, writes Declan Morris, a technology advisor.
This is why he predicts that serverless computing will come as a solution. “The logical advancement of cloud-native leads us to serverless computing and Function-as-a-Service (FaaS). Perhaps we will look back in the coming years and view the need to constantly spin up and down servers as a critical limitation of “SaaS 1.0”, Morris writes.
Going serverless doesn’t mean no more servers
While trendy names like edge computing and hybrid cloud sound understandable, “serverless” is a bit more confusing. It doesn’t mean that we will say “goodbye” to servers or data centers.
The actual meaning of “serverless” is that users won’t have to think about setting up and stopping servers. Instead, they can just click a few options, activate a couple of functions and the FaaS will set everything up for them. This way admins are going to be free to do actual work, instead of boring, repetitive tasks all the time. These tasks will be automated instead.
A survey from O’Reilly explored the benefits of serverless computing and how much it is actually used in 2019. 1500 executives took part in that survey and they have good things to say about serverless computing. They have already reported reduced operational costs, no concerns with server maintenance and reduced development costs. Serverless also scales with demand automatically.
And that’s despite serverless computing still being relatively new to the cloud scene. Survey respondents expect that the benefits will become even more substantial as the method matures. This way developers will continue focusing more and more on the actual apps and not the infrastructure.
Of course, bringing in a new service means new challenges, too. One of them would be security. Making sure everything is verified and tracked is important, so that you don’t get an injection of code into regular streams. This could allow the hacker to control your cloud functions. So, it is important to make sure only trusted sources are used and components and inputs are verified.
Another challenge is skills. Most companies still are exploring and familiarizing themselves with serverless computing. They often lack employees with enough knowledge on the matter. As a result, they can’t really employ it to the fullest.
Along with vendor lock-in this slows down the integration of serverless platforms. As the technology matures, these things will start changing for the better. Until then, though, serverless will still be more of a new trend than a norm.