The adoption of Cloud Based Services was not instant, as most organizations approached the idea with caution and somewhat skepticism. The main concerns around cloud computing services were reliability and Data Security. It was for these concerns that most entities did not feel Comfortable with Migrating to the Cloud.
Such an approach was despite the fact that procuring, managing and maintaining On-Premise Data Centers was a daunting challenge. Even in cases where companies could afford such infrastructures in house, the sheer scale of this task often took a toll on the core business areas of these entities.
Adoption of Cloud Services
When the costs of maintaining In House Data Centers kept increasing and the associated benefits seemed to fade away, organizations started taking cloud computing much more seriously. The biggest fascination with cloud computing was that all the hassles associated with hardware maintenance were outsourced.
Around the same time, the Cloud Service Providers (CSP) were also maturing rapidly and coming up with more lucrative offerings for a lesser cost. Therefore, many organizations started scaling down or closing their on premise data centers and migrated to cloud based services.
Limitations of the Cloud
It is beyond doubt that in case of a cloud computing service, all the hardware and other enabling variables are the sole Responsibility of the CSP. Despite these components being outsourced, someone is managing this environment and certain upgrades, maintenance and tweaks have to be made here and there.
What this means for the cloud tenant is downtimes. In today’s IT powered services, the concept of downtime is diminishing at quite a fast pace. Customers Expect Services delivered over the cloud to be available round the clock, seven days a week. Even in the best cloud environments, this is at times not possible to deliver.
The other notable challenge of cloud based services is managing their backend in a seamless fashion. Each cloud delivered service is an intricately woven web of Virtualized Processes that work in a cohesive manner to deliver a smooth user experience.
Serverless as the Alternative
We can consider serverless computing as more of an extension of the traditional cloud computing model rather than something new altogether. The main advantage with a serverless model is that you do not need to pre pay for a third party service, rather you will be billed purely on a usage basis.
The way CSPs manage the serverless model is that they dynamically manage the allocation of computing resources, in contrast to the traditional model in which resources are pre allocated. In this way, a service provider can utilize computing resources more efficiently, while the user enjoys cost savings.
A serverless model also works in favor of IT professionals and developers, as they have to worry far less about computing resources. In this way, they can focus more on optimizing enterprise software and applications. A serverless model works in favor of both the end user and service provider.
Function as a Service (FaaS)
In a serverless architecture, the cloud managers do not have to micromanage the architecture by manipulating servers or containers. The serverless architecture is designed around functions, which are readily available over the cloud infrastructure, purely on a need basis.
These features make serverless computing a very efficient and financially viable extension of the traditional cloud computing model. Due to the far less complexity of this model, a much lesser and lower skilled IT staff is sufficient to manage and maintain this architecture.
Adoption rate of Serverless Computing
The inherent efficiencies of a serverless model have made it a strong proposition for organizations of different sizes and usage scenarios. But as is the case with many new architectures, they tend to take some time to mature and fully align with the unique needs of each deploying entity.
Various studies on the implementation progress of serverless model have revealed that it has taken an average of about three years for different organizations to integrate this model. Entities that are relatively new in this journey are still facing some bottlenecks but these issues are quite expected.
Benefits of Serverless
- Minimal maintenance and configuration of servers
- Automatically scales on a need basis
- Enhanced productivity of developers and IT professionals
- Cost effective as compared to a pre-allocated cloud services
- Lower development and operational costs
Challenges of Serverless Computing
As the serverless model is still a work in progress, most organizations that go for this model tend to face some difficulties in the implementation phase. Let’s briefly discuss these challenges.
The serverless model is quite new and there are very few well established implementation examples. Even in cases where this model has been implemented with great success, there is little to no structured guideline available in the form of case studies or well defined implementation road maps.
This in turn makes the task of educating the staff a major limitation. The hallmark of any effective staff training program is well documented and structured information that is both accurate and intuitive for the recipients. There is otherwise some resistance to change when organizations are transitioning to a new architecture.
This factor is quite pronounced in the case of a serverless model. As a serverless model is almost fully customized to the needs of each individual entity, it is not suitable for one size fits all type of programming, coding and configuration.
This problem in fact stems from the issue of highly customized coding and configuration. The process of coding, testing, integrating and debugging a serverless model is quite complex. This makes the whole integration process a time consuming and labor intensive task.
Due to a lengthy implementation cycle and an overall evolving solution, it becomes difficult for most deploying entities to reliably factor in all the associated costs. There is also the risk of reverting costs if the final serverless model fails to fully align with the broad organizational goals.
The serverless model is a formidable extension of the traditional cloud computing architecture. The only aspect is that like any other budding technology, it will need time to fully mature and integrate with organizational goals. Despite the somewhat elusive costs, the benefits of serverless make a strong case for this solution.