At A Glance – Serverless Architecture

Redefining software applications

Serverless architectures are software designs that fully, or largely, incorporate third party applications and services. The approach can be applied to mobile apps and single page apps, and is generally referred to as ‘backend as a service’ (BaaS). Another, newer aspect of serverless is ‘functions as a service’ (FaaS), in which server side logic is run via stateless computing. In stateless computing, information is not retained by either party, but is run by the third party instead of the application developer.

By applying the as a service model to backend and function management, companies can save themselves the effort of looking after systems in house. As a result, they benefit from increased simplicity and lower operational costs. Serverless is also thought to be more sustainable than servers, as servers require large amounts of energy to run. For these reasons, and evidenced by the numbers of serverless vendors, serverless is growing in popularity. Large cloud vendors like Amazon Web Services now have their own serverless portfolios.

Serverless has emerged as an efficient method for outsourcing system responsibility, but it is not a silver bullet solution. It is still in the early stages of development, and comes with a number of important considerations. When an organisation hands over management of its software systems, it loses a certain amount of control. It may then be difficult to switch vendors further down the line due to incompatible features. Organisations should also be aware of the cybersecurity concerns that could arise from increasing the surface area for attack.

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