Function-as-a-Service (FaaS), or serverless computing, continues to increase in demand as large organizations seek to establish their data infrastructure beyond the limits of traditional hardware.
With this in mind, you may be wondering: What exactly is serverless computing?
Also referred to as FaaS, the term “serverless” makes an early appearance in an article by Ken Fromm, written in 2012. However, Zimki opened the door for FaaS by launching the first Platform as a Service (PaaS). Subsequently, as cloud computing was beginning to dominate the technological world – fuelled by the increasing number of internet connected devices (IoT) – Amazon Web Services introduced Lambda (PaaS) in 2014.
To be certain, “serverless” still involves using servers for all the usual functions such as deploying software, storing data, and so forth. However, by contracting with a FaaS provider, server acquisition, management, software update, and repair are no longer your responsibility (though there are situations where some applications provide limited server-side interactions with your developers). Accordingly, both traditional and virtual servers are becoming invisible within the business world.
Companies such as IBM, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Google provide the infrastructure and maintenance activities normally associated with localized, dedicated servers. Thus, your time and resources are freed from the challenges of server configuration or concerns regarding your core operating system on the backend. Your focus can now shift to solving the pain points unique to your industry, and further positioning yourself as a market leader.
Computer algorithms are increasingly mirroring the learning features of human intelligence. As such, artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly growing in size and scope. This will not only result in larger amounts of data, but consumer-facing applications will need to align with expanding capabilities of the devices which deploy AI. Consequently, it will be impossible for developers to keep pace if functionality on the backend is delayed for any reason.
Developers will, therefore, need to have the ability to respond to swift changes in the data signals entering each of your input channels. In summary, serverless computing allows developers to create, run, and manage separate, targeted application functions without being weighed down by additional burdens on the backend. Also if you need to scale a particular API endpoint, serverless computing facilities this with laser-like focus.
Such is the reason that serverless computing is continually listed as one of the top technology trends, and with good reason.
Scalability, fault tolerance, authentication, security patches, and hardware migration are just a few examples of issues attached to managing your own servers. The good news is, FaaS providers eliminate those challenges for you. While, arguably, there are many benefits to FaaS adoption, they all fall into two primary categories: cost and efficiency.
As with any such model, there are several challenges to serverless migration:
The serverless computing outlook depends on several factors. Of course, as long as consumers demand FaaS, there will be providers ready to reap financial benefit. Though Python and Java are widely used programming languages, additional programmatic lexicons may evolve and become dominant. For this reason, FaaS will need to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of software development on a perpetual basis. Meanwhile, smaller, localized FaaS providers are beginning to appear. This may add to the agility and innovation needed to propel the widespread use of serverless computing. No matter what ultimately takes shape, with each phase that passes, it seems to be becoming safer and safer to say that the future for serverless computing looks bright.
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