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Serverless Computing: Your Next Step beyond the Cloud

Anthony Fear

There’s a reason why more businesses are paying for their IT services à la carte. The decision is one of economy. Using functionality only as needed keeps down costs while still garnering exceptional performance. That trend has gone from software to platforms, cloud-based servers, and even analytics. The next logical step is to break down the services themselves. That is the objective of serverless computing, and what it promises to improve are business operations and continuity.

Serverless Computing in a Nutshell

Serverless computing (also called function as a service) is a bit of a misnomer. Rather than finding an alternative to servers, this approach subdivides each server function into an individual service, which can be managed and operated automatically by software. That means administrators do not need to install, initiate, or pause servers – only the underlying functions within each server. And even better still, the extent to which the serverless computing architecture operates is easily customizable.

Each part of the serverless architecture is event-driven. Companies set up a code to automatically trigger when a specific event occurs in an application or part of a backend service. When those circumstances occur, the service spins up and functions the way a complete server would but without the peripheral functions running in the background 24/7. Server architecture auto-scales to satisfy particular needs and shrinks whenever the obligation is met. That makes function as a service fully adjustable to your business.

From a financial standpoint, serverless computing can even improve IT budget planning. Because companies only pay per usage of each function, expenses are easier to get under control. Take Amazon’s Lambda for example. When the code for a given function isn’t running, there is no charge for that specific code. The bill only consists of the total requests made to execute code.

Use Case for Serverless Computing

That covers the big picture benefit of the function as a service, but what does it look like within your business? Though there will be variations between industries, there are a number of potential IT functions that can be transitioned onto serverless architecture.

Serverless Websites – Much of website hosting can be offloaded to serverless computing. Monitoring and managing a web server takes time that could be better spent elsewhere. Using a function as a service model allows businesses to update prices automatically from their ERP, handle traffic, and manage databases without lifting a finger.  

Automated Backups – A comprehensive business continuity plan is essential to any business, yet the task of actually creating backups is tedious and simple. Executing a code that creates backups, checks for redundant or idle resources, or runs reports frees up decision makers and IT departments to work on more high priority tasks. By maintaining regular backups, the threat of disasters minimize (as do the related expense of recovery from those disasters).

Database Warehousing – Traditional reporting can be sufficiently handled by serverless computing. Data extraction, transformation, and loading are executed on a per request basis and reports can scale to handle business intelligence needs. Use the right code and a report will be waiting exactly when it is needed. 

Automating Your IT Functions

Though serverless computing is still relatively new, there are a number of business applications that can help to automate processes and help Atlantic Canadian companies dedicate their full attention to their core business.

Want to learn more about serverless computing and other cloud related services? Take our free cloud readiness assessment to see the greatest money and time-saving opportunities available to your business. 

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Serverless Computing Your Next Step beyond the Cloud

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