How Does Serverless Computing Work? 

Every time you search on the browser, stream music online, or send emails, you interact with a server machine. Any computer application over the internet or the private office network has two parts. They are the front end and the backend. The front end is what the users interact with, and the backend contains the servers that store data and programs. It responds to user queries and aids in the execution process.  

Cloud servers: 

Companies like Amazon and Google have large buildings dedicated to their servers. Small companies tend to have separate server rooms for their local network. Depending on the size and frequency of information processing, the server cost varies from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Not everybody can afford and maintain servers. Businesses rent server facilities from cloud-based companies. Cloud providers have large server systems, and multiple users/clients share the resources. 

There are different models for the pricing of cloud services. For example, some prefer a flat rate depending on the number of virtual machine instances. Or, they can go for monthly or yearly subscriptions. But users feel that the cloud storage and servers are underutilized for the money paid. The cloud providers take care of server maintenance and security, but the business users decide the resource provisioning. To avert these difficulties, the service providers came up with the concept of serverless computing 


Different service models: 

In serverless computing, the application developers need not prefix the amount of storage or the type of server required. The service provider does the scaling based on the demand. Thus, one need not bother about the hardware infrastructure and have a cost-effective solution. The process is not server-free. Here the resource required is the least compared to other similar service models. 

In the BaaS (Backend-as-a-service), the service provider offers data storage. The developers write programs for business logic and are responsible for successfully running the code. PaaS (Platform-as-a-service) offers both the servers and the development tools on a rent basis. The serverless computing model is cost-effective because it runs on the edge and is event-based.


Steps in serverless computing: 

The developers write the business-specific code. They also need to create a triggering event. It can be an HTTP request. Once the triggering event happens, the cloud service provider executes the function on the server. And the client system gets the desired result of the application. Thus, the code runs based on triggering events. One can eliminate the use of complex infrastructure. Serverless computing is applicable for single-function computing systems such as chatbots and complex processes like handling databases, API gateways, etc. You can use event-based pipelines and have separate functions chained together for multi-step operations. Such applications have a collection of microservices.  


Getting started: 

Most developers prefer the serverless architecture as it gives them ample time to write the business code without bothering about the infrastructure. Also, they can provide quick updates in case of requirement changes. But the company loses control over the hardware. It can lead to information theft.  

Security becomes an issue due to poor configurations too. For example, incorrect permissions to cloud resources may affect automatic scaling and provisioning. Depending upon the business sensitivity, one needs to use third-party authentications. Therefore, risk assessment is a must for going the serverless way. 

Another issue to consider is a cold start. A cold start happens if the server hosting the function is not ready. It may not recognize the triggering event. The issue is likely to occur because the service provider shuts down the executables that are not in use. One needs to ensure the spinning up of the servers during the TLS handshake process. It requires a combined approach such as edge delivery and the utilization of high-speed javascript engines.  


Advantages of serverless computing: 

The best part here is the dynamic allocation of server resources. The execution happens step by step. The cloud service provider takes care of storage and provisioning. Due to event-driven technology, the scaling happens automatically, and one need not bother about host patching. It implies the server resources are used only when required. The user pays for the time and server spaces they utilize for program execution. The best part is the lower upfront cost for the businesses as they need not spend money on hardware and other IT infrastructure. 


Final thoughts: 

In serverless computing, the hosting service provider takes care of configuration, maintenance, and scaling of the virtual machine and the server. One of the advantages that go unnoticed is reduced electricity usage. Major players in the field include Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. Many tier-2 companies are providing serverless technologies and are worth millions of dollars.  

OneOne area of enhancement that the developers look for is easy monitoring. Also, people prefer process uniformity, so migration from one service to another is smooth, and they can eliminate the issue of vendor lock-ins.  



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