Servers have been at the center of the IT consciousness since the beginning, from the early days of mainframes occupying entire rooms right on through to the sleek blade models inhabiting today’s data centers. Now, for their next act, servers may finally vanish into the cloud—for good.
Serverless computing is seeing massive adoption among cloud users as businesses get hip to the powerful IT productivity boost it offers. According to ZDNet, serverless computing grew 667 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 alone, doubling the growth of the previous quarter. Here’s why serverless computing is so hot right now and what it means for you.
Serverless computers are a developer’s dream
Serverless computing is a form of utility computing allowing developers to quickly design and deploy blocks of new code as needed, abstracting away the entire server environment, so they can solely focus on refining and optimizing their applications. A cloud provider is the one who assumes the administrative burden of dynamically allocating resources and keeping the underlying infrastructure in tip-top shape. The serverless model is ideal for event-driven computing, supporting API calls, and other instances in which applications must respond to specific events, like HTTP requests.
Serverless computing comes in two basic flavors, Functions as a Service (FaaS) and Backend as a Service (BaaS):
- FaaS lets developers deploy discrete blocks of code to be executed in response to specific events without worrying about managing any resources on the backend.
- BaaS, meanwhile, provides third-party API services delivering an application’s core functionality. Since the APIs are provided as a service automatically scaling in the background without any intervention needed from the developer, they enable businesses to roll out applications with far greater speed and agility.
Although it’s clear as day why developers love serverless computing, since it allows them to fully nerd out on writing elegant code, it’s a pretty sweet deal for IT decision makers, too. Under this new paradigm, IT shops no longer need to provision, operate, manage, and scale a computing environment for an application function. They can leave all those responsibilities to the cloud provider, who allocates exactly the right computing resources required at any given moment and can provide better uptime guarantees, as well.
Why should you go serverless?
Serverless computing isn’t just incredibly efficient in the way only a devoted geek would love—it makes good business sense that CEOs and finance directors can appreciate, too. It’s priced on a pay-as-you-go model, so businesses only pay for the computing resources they use. If a server goes idle, then no charges are incurred.
Compare this with the inflexible traditional pricing structure, in which you fully resource and provision a server for each application function with precisely the correct requirements in advance. In this structure, you risk a loss of ROI if the server sits idle. Even worse, you’ll have to fork over more money if you need more computing power than you originally anticipated.
Businesses are catching on to the attractive cost savings of going serverless. As ZDNet noted, organizations taking advantage of serverless computing increased their CPU hours by 84 percent while only growing their spend by 35 percent. With companies increasingly turning their attention to AI and machine learning applications as the cognitive future approaches, you can expect they’re going to opt for serverless deployments in greater numbers soon.
The shift to serverless computing exemplifies yet another instance of core IT services being abstracted and automated to benefit IT productivity. By outsourcing the application server environment to cloud providers, IT can better focus on more exciting, higher-level strategic projects while enjoying increased budget flexibility. It’s the next logical iteration of the transition to the cloud, which has been gradually augmenting IT teams’ capabilities to be leaner, more efficient, and ultimately, more successful.
Evolve operations with smart, automated IT services
The rise of serverless computers dovetails neatly with other automated services empowering IT. One such example is print security, an area many businesses tend to overlook when they’re juggling too many priorities and may not even realize the scary vulnerabilities harboring in their print environments.
IT pros can button down this often neglected aspect of endpoint security by taking advantage of next-generation printers that can detect attacks in progress, self-healing from malware exploits and automatically notifying IT if an incursion is detected. Additionally, IT teams can leverage managed print services to consolidate and streamline the print environment, tapping external expertise to eliminate waste and save money on printing costs. In this way, IT teams can run key business processes more effectively with less manual intervention than before—a form of efficiency complementing that afforded by serverless computing.
It may seem like the end of an era with servers disappearing into the cloud, but it’s also the start of an intriguing new one. As it advances into the serverless future, your business will have a unique opportunity to innovate faster, more efficiently, and more cost-effectively. As you do, you can leverage serverless computing and other smart, automated services to achieve even more with fewer resources.