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Complete Guide on Serverless Computing

complete guide serverless computing

Complete Guide on Serverless Computing

The regular method of solving business problems consists of development and operations teams. The development team will put in all their efforts to ensure that the code is error-free and try to solve all the underlying issues with the code. On the other hand, the operations team runs the code on the available systems and ensures that these systems perform smoothly and without any hindrance.

Keeping an eye on the systems and making certain their smooth functionality is an incessant task, and it has to be done for the betterment of the enterprise. However, that does not mean that it should be performed by the in-house team. Several tech goliaths have spent countless hours on developing IT technologies that will aid organizations in eradicating the issue of maintaining physical systems by themselves. Serverless Computing is one of such technologies that is used by numerous organizations around the globe to fulfill their business goals. In this article, you will understand all about Serverless Computing, how it is beneficial for an enterprise, its limitations, types, and many other details.

What is Serverless Computing?

By the name, many people may start to believe that this technology eradicates the use of servers for storage to execute code. However, the truth is that this type of computing also relies on physical servers for this action. Serverless Computing is a type of software architecture that allows the developers to create and run any piece of code or application without any specific infrastructure. Adding resources, code deployment, and managing servers are tedious tasks that not only require funds but highly experienced personnel. With the introduction of this computing type, the developers do not have to divert their focus on any backend management, allowing them to dig deeper in creating the code.

When it comes to managing the servers, several service providers offer this computing where they will manage the physical infrastructure. As the developers do not have to spend any additional time in server maintenance, their productivity will increase drastically, ultimately influencing the business value.

Benefits of Using Serverless Computing:

Implementing new technology to achieve business goals should be highly beneficial and justify the effort put in by the professionals and the cost at which it comes. Serverless Computing is a widely used technology mainly due to the benefits it provides. Below are some of the perks that organizations will get by using this type of computing.

  • Easier Resource Deployment:
  • The traditional method of resource deployment is highly time-consuming as it requires professionals to handle the system and infrastructure. Serverless Computing has eradicated this entire task, making the deployment quicker and easier. With this computing, the developer can deploy the code in a tick rather than spending weeks to accomplish the same task.

  • Scalable Solution:
  • One of the key advantages of serverless computing is that it provides automated scalability of the infrastructure. Here the developers will not upload any code to the servers for its release as its scalability is automatic.

  • Cost-Effective:
  • Unquestionably, deploying a code requires storage solutions that are hefty for the organization. Traditionally, enterprises have to pay monthly subscriptions for the storage space no matter whether they use it entirely or not. In the case of serverless computing, the organizations will pay only for the execution of the code and not for the server by unit. Moreover, it eradicates the cost associated with the maintenance, security, and authorization of the server. Apart from that, the organization needs not to bear any additional expense on investing in infrastructure which further saves their funds.

  • Minimal Response Time:
  • Serverless computing does not function from any specific origin server so the traffic will not be directed to just one location. As the provider will have multiple data centers at different locations, the nearest server will respond to the request, drastically minimizing the response time.

  • Fault Tolerance:
  • Rather than the developer being responsible for the fault tolerance of the architecture, the service provider will manage storage, computing, and databases. In case of any fault, the provider will allocate the same to the organization.

Limitations of Serverless Computing:

Even though serverless computing is an excellent solution for an organization, it certainly comes with its own limitations that could hamper the overall performance. Below explained are the major limitations of this computing type for your better understanding.

  • Testing Complications:
  • Before launching the code, it is essential to test it to determine its actual performance. Replicating the serverless environment is complicated which results in a lack of actual testing. Apart from that, due to lack of visibility in the backend process, it becomes difficult for the developers to diagnose and debug the code in case of any issue. Being separated into smaller functions does not help in this case either.

  • Lock-In:
  • Organizations need a vendor that will provide serverless computing to them. However, it should be considered that third-party interoperation is a complex task. In case you plan to switch our provider due to this reason, you need to remember that it may need necessary changes in the code, and doing so could be highly time-consuming. Due to this reason, picking the wrong provider may force a lock-in in the long run.

  • Timeouts:
  • Serverless computing is prone to timeouts that could hamper overall functioning. These timeouts can occur when there is big data processing or when the third part endpoints reply at a long interval while connecting. Considering that fact, some long-running operations can fail to function appropriately.

  • Initial Migration is Hefty:
  • Even though using serverless computing is proven to be cost-effective, its initial implementation is quite hefty. Sometimes, it may also need a full reorganization of the code and orchestration of the new functions. Furthermore, testing and fixing issues are done live which may even cause some additional expenses.

  • Security and Privacy Concerns:
  • Serverless computing is considered highly safe, but only when the right practices are used. As the architecture is allocated on a public cloud, a privacy breach is highly possible. Moreover, you will not have direct control over the security practices of the server.

FaaS and Serverless Computing:

Serverless computing and Functions as a Service (FaaS) are often used synonymously. Though they are mostly the same, there are several differences. Serverless is divided into two types, Backend as a Service (BaaS) and FaaS. The former one includes programs where server-side management is done through third-party servers. On the other hand, FaaS allows the user to upload code to the service and the provider will handle the backend service. It is worth noting that FaaS can function without any specific serverless architecture and allows the user to replace any part of the app. However, it may lead to a sharp rise in computing costs. Having a lot of different technologies and systems, serverless computing providers have better functionality than FaaS.

Serverless Computing VS Containers:

Serverless computing and containers have one major goal; to provide flexibility while building applications. As the aim of both the technologies is similar, it is essential to know the key differences between the two. However, prior to going any further, knowing what a container is, is a key step. A container is a method of dividing a machine into several space environments where every environment can run one application. It can store an application as well as the application elements necessary for optimum performance. A container is a versatile hosting that can run every type of app. Now that the basics of a container are clear, let us move further towards its differences with serverless computing.

  • Cost:
  • One of the key factors before deploying any new technology in an organization is its cost. As mentioned above, serverless computing also comes with a significant cost of deployment, but it being an overall cost-effective solution overcomes that factor. On the contrary, as containers run constantly, the user has to pay for the entire package rather than pay-to-use. This constant running of the cloud is what makes the container an expensive solution.

  • Physical Infrastructure:
  • Even though serverless computing runs on servers, the user does not need to have any physical infrastructure or systems to deploy the code. However, every container is located on a machine and makes use of the machine’s operating system. The need for this physical infrastructure creates a barrier when the containers are moved.

  • Maintenance:
  • In serverless computing, the user does not have to maintain or manage the physical services. The service provider will handle the management and software updates. On the other hand, containers have to be managed by the developers rather than the cloud provider.

  • Testing:
  • The backend environment of serverless computing is complex to duplicate, making testing very difficult. This issue does not exist in containers as they function the same wherever they are deployed. Tests can be done even before the app is deployed to production.

  • Deployment Time:
  • When it comes to container deployment, it requires a log of initial configuration. Though the actual deployment after these configurations is quick, this setting up of the container is tedious. As there is no such configuration involved in serverless computing, the overall deployment is much faster than containers.

Challenges and Risks Associated with Serverless Computing:

No technology comes with zero risk or challenges. Knowing about the risks and challenges associated with this technology will allow you to create a robust plan to overcome them. Here are all the major risks that come with serverless computing.

  • Access to Features:
  • Serverless computing comes with several features and every feature fulfills a specific task. If left unchecked, the users may have access to more than they need, resulting in a potential security breach. Keeping an eye on the users’ access to features is necessary to ensure that they can only access what they need.

  • Configuration:
  • Monitoring each and every feature may not be feasible every time. Serverless computing comes with tons of configurations and settings that directly affect the overall security. Having too many setting options could make configuration complex and some essential aspects may go unnoticed, resulting in security threats.

  • Third-Party Dependencies:
  • Serverless computing opens doors for third-party integrations to enhance its overall functionality. However, these integrations can be insecure and come with security vulnerabilities.

Recommended Practices to Enhance Security on Serverless Computing:

Though the cloud service provider is directly responsible for the maintenance of serverless computing, the developer should not stay back and avoid taking any essential steps to enhance overall security. With that in mind, here are some recommendations that will assist a developer in boosting security in serverless computing.

  • Incident Response Planning
  • Security attacks are possible even when there is utmost security available. If the system fails to detect the attack in the initial stage, the damage done could be catastrophic. Creating an incident response plan will aid in detecting the early attack signs as well as eradicate them as quickly as possible.

  • Assign the Right Roles
  • The most significant reason for a security vulnerability in the serverless system is giving too much access to users who do not need it. The best way to protect your data is by reviewing permissions and roles assigned to users and third parties. Moreover, you can further enhance data security by encrypting the data.

  • Reduce Third-Party Reliance :
  • As stated before, serverless computing allows third-party integrations which can be a potential threat to security. Though it is not possible to eradicate these integrations, reducing unnecessary dependencies on them can be done. Practice constant monitoring of these integrations and update them with the latest security patches to keep your serverless computing secure.


Serverless computing is an excellent way of building applications. The five major service providers in this industry are Amazon Web Services Lambda, Google Cloud Functions, Microsoft Azure Functions, IBM Cloud Functions, and Oracle Functions. Compare the configurations and features provided by these vendors and pick the one that suits your needs. Being a rapidly growing technology, serverless computing is becoming increasingly popular among small as well as large enterprises. However, before adapting to this technology, it is always advised to check all its aspects including the cost, and effectiveness for a particular business model.