If you’ve played the hugely popular game Pokémon Go, chances are you would have encountered some downtime, either waiting for the augmented reality game to load or at times even waiting for the PokéStop to work! What do these small disconnects mean for the game’s parent company, Niantic? Missing out on huge financial opportunities in today’s highly competitive free real world gaming market. Powered by Google Cloud, there were several reports of the Pokémon Go app’s servers struggling to catch up with exploding global demand. Now imagine what it would be like if the application was running on server less architecture – the app would be able to automatically scale up in capacity to match the random spike in users at any given time without its developers having to worry about load, capacity, and scale issues. The responsibility of ensuring that the app is running and available would shift from the developers to the cloud provider and that, essentially, is what makes server less computing the next big wave of transformation after cloud.


What ‘server less’ actually means?

Contrary to its name, ‘server less’ does not mean entirely doing away with servers – the application code still runs on servers buried inside datacenters but developers are freed from the responsibility of executing the code, which resides with the cloud provider in the server less architecture. Also known as Function-as-a-service (FaaS), the cloud provider assumes the responsibility of starting and stopping a function’s container platform, ensuring infrastructure security, and enabling on-demand scalability for applications irrespective of the processing capacity required.

Here are top five reasons for going server less

At a time when speed-to-market and the need for IT to be agile, nimble, as well as lean supersede all else, server less computing presents five compelling benefits to businesses:

#1 Compresses development costs:

The cost of developing an application (v1.0) can take companies anywhere from USD 140,000 to 210,000 with the time frame being four to six months. That’s staggering; considering 90% of paid apps don’t even go on to earn anything above USD 1,250 a day. What’s worse – companies pay for operating a 24×7 execution environment even as many of their low-activity applications may consume only one hour a day of computing time. Research reveals that over 30% of physical servers i.e. more than 10 million servers worldwide remain dormant. By going server less, enterprises can compress the unnecessary DevOps and maintenance costs as the architecture executes a required code only when needed, triggered by an event that calls for a request for computation. The service is exposed as an API, and costs are incurred only for the services being called in a dynamic manner, enabling ‘pay-as-you-go’ pricing in the real sense.

#2 Enables hands-off scalability on-demand:

In server less architecture, the service itself handles the automation of the scale-out as well as scale back requirements in response to traffic. Developers can literally function in a hands-off or ‘code and forget’ mode without having to bother about the number of servers required to scale up in response to peak loads, load balancing, CPU resources, software, etc. Instant, a content management platform that is also hailed as a ‘server less start-up’ enables on-demand scalability for businesses looking to add inline text editing and localization to their website without actually using a CMS.

#3 Accelerates time to market:

By eliminating the need to deploy and configure web servers, businesses are able to significantly accelerate time-to-market with server less applications.  Though moving all the complexity to the cloud provider’s end comes with sacrifices in terms of hardware and server-side flexibility, developers are able to reduce the overall development time by consuming ready to use services without provisioning the required infrastructure.

#4 Enhances application performance:

The cloud enabled application delivery without enterprises having to worry about infrastructure. Server less computing goes a step further by letting developers focus on just writing high quality code and its functionality, without worrying about its execution at any point in time, especially during traffic peaks.  By lightening the load on developers and taking away the need to plan for hardware capacity and enter into long-term sever reservation contracts, server less computing puts the focus back on the most important part of the puzzle –application performance. Coca Cola leverages Amazon Lambda to build server less applications that guarantee enhanced performance, availability, and network security while eliminating many of the overhead costs.     

#5 Fits perfectly with microservices-based architecture:

Microservices architecture, now an integral part of web, mobile, and internet-of-things (IoT) applications, works by decoupling large enterprise applications into smaller independently operating modules. Besides enabling greater speed of innovation, microservices architecture is cost-effective, enables faster fault isolation and resolution, and is highly flexible. When enterprises adopt the server less architecture approach to develop applications, implementing microservices becomes far easier, faster, and cost-effective than doing it with servers.