Server-less Architecture — Basics and Benefits
Are you planning to build an architecture that delivers value to customers faster, enables rapid innovation, utilizes quality functional services, and rapid development? If so, then use services from server-less architecture is the way to go. It sounds a bit mouthful but it has proven its worth. So, let’s try to learn a bit about this architecture, definition, benefits, basic services, and the providers.
What is Serverless?
Serverless architecture gives you the option of utilizing services like data, compute, machine learning and so on, via different cloud vendors. It eliminates the infrastructure management needs and all the capacity provisioning, scaling and maintenance are done by the cloud provider. It is primarily event-triggered and it has the ability to autoscale.
Serverless began with the introduction of S3 (storage service from AWS) and has now evolved into multiple sets of services from big giants cloud vendors. The current offering landscape of such server-less services includes players like Amazon, Alibaba, Google, and Microsoft.
Most of the industry experts are not only talking about the merits of this architecture but are pushing it to be the best way forward. The reason is simple as there are many examples where server-less architecture has proven its utility.
So, let’s look at some of the benefits this architecture provides you.
- Server-less Architecture helps you to build an experimental culture. For many business cases, it can get your prototype up and running within no time. The idea behind coding with server-less architecture can be considered as gluing different services together to get the desired outcome. This option of gluing gives you the agility and better speed to market. And in case you are struggling to find the DevOps resources, this architecture can bail you out too.
- This architecture helps you in running huge volumes of activities — from running web requests to queuing, streaming, storage or transactions. Also, the ability to isolate each service and to scale independently becomes super easy. In addition, you can also schedule the usage of computer and run as you need without paying for the servers.
- The vendor manages availability, uptime, scalability and so on.
- With this pattern, you will get the option of writing less code. You as an architect will have to select and learn about the services available. You only have to opt for the level of abstraction and tools needed.
Now let’s look at the services that are available from cloud providers.
For data storage, you have the cloud services of a data bucket or a group of buckets.
All cloud vendors provide such services and those come with security, logging, monitoring. You can also scale such services as needed and optimize your pricing accordingly.
One of the interesting moves that is differentiating this architecture from the traditional one is the utility of Data Lakes. The idea behind such service is the elimination or reduction of dependence on traditional databases and making services like ML, Analytics, and so on, talk directly to data objects.
The best way forward for any architect would be to explore the utility of the object store and then move on towards data lakes. Also, keep in mind that the traditional databases won’t go away and you should consider their special purpose utility.
With databases, one has the option of RDBMS (Relational database management system). It’s easy to use a pattern but has issues with scalability. ORM models present its own set of challenges.
Server-less architecture offers alternatives where you can use their cloud-native databases like (DynamoDB) to scale write operations. Also, you could use S3 (AWS) with Athena to scale your read system.
With cloud vendors, you do get specialty databases too. Like for caching you can use ElastiCache, for time series Amazing TimeStream, for IoT messages IoT pub, and so on.
When it comes to data querying and processing you can use services like Athena for SQL on objects, Aurora Serverless for Relational SQL, Kineses for SQL on streams and so on.
Compute services let you run your application without the need for provisioning or maintaining servers. You operate without any upfront deployment costs and use compute services in FaaS (Function as a Service).
The scalability and maintenance of such services are provided by cloud vendors. And you pay as your scale.
With serverless architecture, you are essentially configuration a set of services to work together and communicate accordingly. To make all this possible, API Gateway Managed Services are provided by vendors to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs. So, the hassle of handling thousands of concurrent API calls, traffic management, authorization, access control, and API version management is handled by the API Gateways.
In addition, you will be working with many Third-Party APIs (Stripe, HERE, Auth0, Quandl and so on) for services like payments, authentication, ML, that’s where API Proxy services come in handy to manage to work with.
Serverless Architecture truly lets you focus on your application coding than on infrastructure. Also, with server-less, you are guaranteed, if done well, you will get the option of writing lesser code. But you will need to research and read vendors' documents and select the best services for your needs.
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Part of App2Dev.com Publication