The Serverless Concept
A server is a computer or computer program which manages access to a centralized resource or service other computers in a network. Serverless as related to computing and computer applications may sound like you do not need a server to run applications, no, applications cannot run on void, It is like driving a car in the air instead of a solid ground. What Serverless simply mean is to run an application in the cloud without having to worry about how the required resources are managed, better explanation is; build an app and hand it over to cloud hosts, the app is then uploaded and is accessed via the cloud service, all resources such as traffic, memory allocations, storage etc. are handled by the cloud service provider. The types of applications or programs available via this method are known as cloud-based apps and are very fast but highly dependent of the cloud server, this is the reason why you need to review the cloud host you are going to use before hosting your application with them. Popular cloud hosts will later be discussed in this article.
Benefits of going Serverless
The most enticing feature of Serverless computing is the cost; you only have to pay for the resources your application consumed instead of a pre-paid plan or capacity. This means you don’t need to be afraid of purchasing excess or insufficient resources, you pay what you used. This feature is most beneficial to small-scale or low budget applications.
Apart from the cost, there are other reasons why you should consider going Serverless and some of these reasons are highlighted below;
- Multiple platform accessibility: like a website, a single cloud-based application can be accessed via different devices. Think of the task of building and maintaining an app for operating systems like Windows, Mac, Android, IOS, Java etc. the task will be tedious, expensive and time-consuming, Serverless computing eradicates this issue.
- Diverse Programming Frameworks: one of the main reason Serverless computing is gaining so much ground is the ability to run applications built with different programming languages. Node.js, C#, Python, Swift, Java, PHP and many more are all supported by Serverless Serverless gives you the opportunity to develop an application in your favorite programming language.
- Operations and Scalability: talking about Serverless architecture, it means developers and operators will not be spending much time to set up auto scaling policies, it is the responsibility of cloud provider to provide and scale the required application resources as demanded. This feature is eradicating the issue of hardware minimum requirements and is quickly reducing the dependency of code compatibility with hardware configurations.
- Simplicity: setting up your data platform in the cloud does not require high technical knowledge, all data sources are hosted in a single space and are aligned and managed efficiently.
- Control: time and cost of maintaining a data pipeline may be so enormous if it is not automated, hosting applications in the cloud certifies automation, this gives you rest of mind that your data pipeline is maintained to the highest standard.
What are the most reliable Serverless Hosting available?
LAMBDA (AMAZON AWS)
AZURE FUNCTIONS (MICROSOFT)
AZURE is the only Serverless host provider in this list to compete with LAMBDA, the reason being that as a Microsoft product, it supports more features of .NET more than LAMBDA. Programming languages supported by AZURE are Node.js, Python, C#, Bash, Batch, F#, PHP, and PowerShell. AZURE is also well documented and is experiencing more growing community.
CLOUD FUNCTIONS (GOOGLE CLOUD PLATFORM)
It shouldn’t be surprising that Google too is offering Cloud hosting services, although less gaining attention than Microsoft’s and Amazon’s Serverless hosting, it offers as many compelling features as them, maybe the price because Google Cloud Platform is the most expensive of the three.
OPENWHISK (IBM BLUEMIX + OSS)
IBM too won’t sit this one out, OpenWhisk is an open source Serverless Hosting that focus on developer appeal. Its open source nature is contributing towards the ever growing community and may soon overtake the big guys.
There are many more you can find on the internet but the aforementioned can be vouched for, take your time to completely review the reliability of any cloud service provider you will be using to host your cloud-based application, once you’ve found a reliable one then it is time to go Serverless.
Monitoring your serverless app
AWS Lambda is amazing but most people have problems with the lack of observability. Cloudwatch is ok to monitor your app but when you have thousands of requests coming in, you’ll need something that is easier to digest. I usually monitor my Lambdas with Dashbird. It’s been working great for me so far. My point for showing you this is for you to see the console logs from the Lambda Function invocations. They’ll show you when the Lambda is using a new or existing database connection. Here’s what the main dashboard looks like, where I see all my Lambdas and their stats.