As technology evolves, businesses continue to seek ways to optimise their computing infrastructure for scalability, cost-effectiveness and overall efficiency
One such solution that has taken the tech industry by storm is serverless architecture. BBD, an international software solutions company, recognises the importance of staying ahead of the curve and embracing new and innovative technology to deliver the best possible results to its clients.
Andre Prinsloo, solutions architect at BBD explains, “Serverless architectureis an approach to software development where the engineers don’t have to manage the underlying infrastructure or servers to run their applications. In a traditional software development model, the engineer manages and provisions servers, configures software, and manages the operating system to deploy their application. In serverless architecture however, the cloud provider takes care of managing the infrastructure while the engineers focus on writing the code.”
“This approach has meant rethinking how we design systems, opting to implement asynchronous systems, where components operate statelessly and independently of one another while long-running compute-heavy tasks are kept to a minimum or avoided altogether. BBD has had a lot of success implementing systems adhering to serverless principles and has deployed multiple solutions, while having the pleasure of working closely with experts within AWS to better understand serverless performs,” says Prinsloo.
The big benefits of serverless architecture
Serverless architecture is cost-effective as businesses only pay for the compute resources used by their functions, rather than paying for an entire server – reducing the overall cost of running the application. “Like with many modern-day systems, serverless systems rely on a ‘pay-as-you-use’ model – billed to the millisecond. And because of this model, the less time we spend computing the less we pay,” says Prinsloo.
Because serverless architecture allows development teams to focus on writing code that adds value by adding and improving features, spending time battling with provisioning infrastructure is eradicated. Environments are provisioned as Infrastructure as Code (IaC), human-readable configuration files that live as part of the code repository. These files simplify changing existing infrastructure as well as adding and removing components. Because there’s little room for human error, this solution also solves problems like manually spinning up components and forgetting that they exist – leaving them to run up the bills.
In a serverless system, scalability means that the system can automatically and efficiently handle increased or decreased traffic, processing power, or workload without requiring any manual intervention or changes to the system’s architecture.
Scalability in a serverless system is achieved by the system’s ability to dynamically allocate and de-allocate computing resources based on the incoming workload. The cloud provider’s infrastructure, which hosts the serverless system, takes care of this automatic scaling.
As the incoming workload increases, the cloud provider allocates more computing resources, such as CPU, memory and network bandwidth, to handle the increased demand. Similarly, as the workload decreases, the cloud provider reduces the allocated resources, freeing up those resources to be used by other applications or systems.
Prinsloo says, “Serverless apps can scale nearly infinitely, allowing rapid scaling of components to support traffic to these systems when user interaction hits its peaks, while scaling down appropriately when user interaction slows down – on a pay-as-you-use basis and no additional infrastructure configuration. Impressively resilient systems, out of the box.”
Deloitte, after completing a study in 2019, suggested that by 2021, 42% of their partners would start using serverless as a tool to drive down costs and increase the productivity of development teams. By 2021, the actual numbers reflected an increase in usage of closer to 50%. Deloitte also found that by implementing serverless properly, companies saw an overall reduction in application costs between 45% – 80% and this was mainly attributed to a reduction in time spent on maintenance and ongoing operations with serverless providing scalability and built-in high availability which are usually additional effort and cost in traditional environments.
Where serverless could fall short
However, while serverless architecture has many benefits, there are certain scenarios where it may not be the best choice for all applications, including:
Serverless functions are designed to be stateless, meaning that they should complete their execution within a short period of time. If your application has long-running processes, serverless may not be the best choice. “Although long-running processes aren’t a strength of serverless architecture, you can still leverage off of a hybrid solution, because you could get the benefit for 80% for example, and use custom solutions for the other 20%,” says Prinsloo.
While serverless can scale to handle high volumes of traffic, it may not be the best choice for large-scale applications that require a lot of resources.
Applications with specific hardware requirements
If the application requires specific hardware or software configurations, a serverless architecture may not be able to meet those requirements.
In general, serverless technology is a great solution for many applications, particularly those with unpredictable or variable traffic patterns. However, it’s important to carefully consider the specific needs of your application before deciding whether serverless is the right choice. Overall, serverless systems offer a highly scalable solution for building and deploying applications that can automatically adjust to changing traffic and usage patterns without requiring any manual intervention or additional infrastructure setup.
BBD offers a team of expert solutions architects, who play a crucial role in designing and implementing effective software solutions for businesses. BBD works closely with clients to understand their requirements and design custom software solutions that align to specific needs. Looking for a software partner who can help your business leverage technology to drive growth and achieve your goals? Get in touch today!