More customization, less coding: how serverless computing is the future
Serverless computing can be seen as the panacea of modern server issues - less programming, less cost, improved productivity and most of all, less cost. Serverless has gradually been gaining traction throughout the years and has encountered a crossroads in its development. It has the potential to garner an entirely new startup tech ecosystem which could mean a lot of things for coders, businesses, and the IT realm. Serverless computing is a misnomer in itself – it still does have a server, but is a more specific type of server that enables developers to set event notifications and leaves the infrastructure components to whoever is in charge of the cloud provider. This level of customization means that the DevOps team and developers in charge can assign an exact amount of computational power, storage and memory so it optimizes and streamlines the deployment and provisioning processes. This process could evolve into an asset for startups worldwide which will require advancements in tooling, APIs, monitoring, and higher standards of security along when transitioning into serverless computing.
As with all technology, servers come from a humble beginning. First with physical servers that led to the development of virtual machines, which allowed taking a single physical server and gave the developer(s) the ability to separate it into multiple virtual servers. This essentially gave way to cloud computing and gave way to containers. Containers “enable the developer to break down a large monolithic program into discrete pieces” which help with the organization and efficiency of projects and programs, which ultimately facilitates operations such as provisioning and deployment.
Serverless computing, or event-driven computing, brings an entirely new realm of possibilities for development – completely customizable and more efficient than ever. But along with this development, other issues come with it.
Essentially, the reason serverless computers are serverless is that the need for developers to worry about servers and hardware that has been designated is exponentially decreased. With serverless, “the cloud vendor handles all of that for the developer.” People see this as a boost in efficiency when it could evolve to be much more than that. Serverless may possibly be the future of coding and may shift the way programming and infrastructures are built on a fundamental underlying level.
AWS Lambda’s general manager Tim Wagner states “…There is no provisioning, deploying, patching or monitoring – all those details at the server and operating system level go away,” which allows more independence and ease of managing servers compared to traditional servers which require a substantial more amount of coding. This reduces the entire process of coding to the function level which means a drastically less amount of work by leaving the infrastructure management to the developer. [www.techcrunch.com]
Cloud computing company Digital Ocean surveyed almost 5000 IT professionals about serverless where over half identified themselves as developers. About half of those surveyed didn’t completely understand the concept and theory behind serverless computing, but 81% knew the importance of it in terms of startups, development of IT and what it means for their future as developers. [www.techcrunch.com]
Have you deployed any applications in a serverless environment within the past year?
Most of these developers had not developed a serverless application or participated in developing serverless computing. However most of the developers that had heard about serverless computing were knowledgeable about the technique and intricacies of it, but had not fully committed because of the daunting challenge of monitoring and debugging. Th Herein lies the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This is where startups will emerge and take hold of the market by offering services for companies and organizations switching to serverless - the spoils will go to whoever shifts the fastest and becomes the most reliable.
As technologies advance, processes seem simpler at a glance, but in reality they create an entirely new set of requirements and difficulties. In this case, abstraction simplifies operations, but a whole new instrumentation and application processes must be implemented for serverless to happen efficiently. All of these things accompanied by the operational cost of going serverless will become issues that startups can alleviate. The easier developers can access serverless, the easier they can focus on visibility, stability and security which will help give the control to someone else while giving other opportunities to startups and bolster the entire work ecosystem. This is the key that will allow for the rapid development of serverless. Abstraction layers created over the underlying infrastructure which allows serverless to happen directly correlates to the need for more development tools, debugging tools, monitoring tools, and security just to inform the developer of what is happening in the server’s ecosystem to modify problems or customize features.
The more problems that are solved over time, the more developers turn towards this serverless approach and developing more tools to solve these issues that arise. The process may be slowly developing at first, but the potential will become enormous once practical applications are invented which will encourage more startups to participate.