Serverless: What Is It & Why?


Serverless: What Is It & Why It Matters?

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Serverless is a cloud systems architecture that involves no servers, virtual machines, or containers to provision or manage. Yes, these still exist underneath the running application but their presence is abstracted away from the developer or operator of the serverless application. Similarly, if you’ve already adopted public cloud virtualization, you know the underlying hardware is no longer your concern. This abstraction allows for greater effort and emphasis higher up the technical stack as well as the software value chain.

"Yes, serverless still has servers. Just not ones you can interact with or control which makes them largely irrelevant to the design and operation of your application.”

What Is Serverless?

Serverless is often, incorrectly, colloquially reduced down to “Functions as a Service” (FaaS). It’s viewed as just another evolution of the “Infrastructure as a Service” (IaaS), “Platform as a Service” (PaaS), and “Containers as a Service” (CaaS) evolution. However, it’s more than that. You can manage to build serverless applications without a FaaS, e.g. AWS Lambda, component. So what makes something serverless?

These four characteristics below are used by AWS to classify what is serverless. These characteristics apply to cloud services and applications as a whole.

  • No servers to manage or provision: You’re not managing physical servers, virtual machines, or containers. While these may exist, they’re managed by the cloud provider and inaccessible to you. This reduces operational complexity.
  • Consumption (not capacity) priced: You pay for the resources you consume as opposed to provisioned capacity. You don’t pay for the time your application is idle. This can reduce cloud costs.
  • Scales with usage: Serverless services and applications have autoscaling built in. As requests come in, a service or application scales to meet that demand. This allows you to quickly meet growth.
  • Availability and fault tolerance built in: You’re not responsible for ensuring the availability and fault tolerance of the serverless offerings provided by your cloud provider. This reduces engineering complexity and time spent.

All these characteristics result in a cloud infrastructure that takes less engineering effort to design, build, and maintain.

Why Serverless?

The benefits of serverless translate into less time managing cloud infrastructure and faster delivery of value. Increasingly, all organizations are becoming some form of a tech organization. If you’re not a cloud hosting provider, then cloud infrastructure is undifferentiated work; work any typical organization requires in order to function. One of the key advantages of serverless is the reduction in responsibilities for operating cloud infrastructure which provides the opportunity to reallocate time and people to problems unique to the organization.

Serverless cloud architecture is a stark contrast to yesterday's infrastructure as a service platforms and today's container management and scheduling platforms. Those require significant up front investment in time and resources. Time and resources that could have been applied to delivering solutions that solve problems in your organization or even generate revenue.

Going serverless means greater emphasis up the technical stack on the services that provide the most direct value in your organization and measuring the success of those services. It also allows for the faster delivery of new services and features. By removing infrastructure as a potential roadblock, organizations can deliver with one less potential friction point.

Why Serverless On AWS?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the undisputed leader in serverless cloud platforms. Between the combination of its Lambda runtime and extensive range of cloud services, no other provider has the depth of services or knowledge around serverless that AWS has. This is why we trust and promote AWS for those organizations looking to go serverless.


"Spend less time on your cloud infrastructure and more time on the services that provide the most value to your company."


Does serverless sound right for you? If it does, then have a look at our services down below!

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