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Serverless Computing: Ready for Prime Time | @CloudExpo #AI #DX #Serverless #DigitalTransformation
The major attraction of serverless computing is cost
By: Moshe Kranc
Jul. 16, 2017 12:15 PM
Serverless Computing: Ready for Prime Time
The cloud ushered in a fundamental change in the way applications are deployed. Instead of worrying about how much dedicated hardware to order for your data center, you simply spin up as many servers as you need to do the job, then decommission them once the job is done. Yet, you still have to plan how many servers you will need at each stage of processing; you still have to remember to decommission them when done; and you pay for the entire virtual machine during the time you use it even though the server may be idle for most of that time.
The next stage in the evolution of the cloud is serverless computing. After all, the servers you order in the cloud are only a means to an end - they provide the plumbing needed to run your code in response to various events. In the serverless computing paradigm, you supply the set of events and the code to run when each event occurs. The cloud takes care of all the rest: identifying when an event has occurred and, in response to that event, deploying the relevant code to a server, running the code, and then decommissioning the server. The cloud also provides elasticity, i.e., it will automatically run as many instances of your code as needed to handle the workload.
Amazon was the first cloud provider to roll out serverless computing in 2014 with its Lambda service. AWS Lambda can automatically run code in response to multiple events, such as database table updates, modification of Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) objects, and event notifications. Since then, Google Cloud Platform has rolled out Google Cloud Functions, IBM has released an Open Source serverless platform called OpenWhisk, and Microsoft Azure provides its own take on serverless computing called Azure Functions. Today, support for serverless computing is ubiquitous on all major cloud platforms, which indicates how popular this paradigm has become.
The major attraction of serverless computing is cost. Suppose you have developed a cloud-based web portal that occasionally receives requests. For each request, the portal does a bit of processing and returns a response. Before serverless computing, this portal would require a dedicated server on the cloud, ready and waiting to receive requests 24-7, even though it actually processes requests for only a few minutes each day. If, alternatively, you design this portal as a serverless application, where the event is a new request and the corresponding code processes the request, then you only pay for the few moments per day when requests arrive, as opposed to paying for a dedicated server. It's no wonder then that many developers report a tenfold drop in their AWS bill by re-architecting their applications to serverless programming.
Before you jump on the bandwagon, though, be aware of the limitations of serverless programming:
Serverless computing has matured since it was first introduced by Amazon in 2014, and today is used in production by many enterprises. It is an excellent choice for applications where:
The bottom line: For the right use case, serverless computing is an excellent choice that is ready for prime time and can provide significant cost savings.
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All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-4, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
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Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 21st Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech, which will incorporate machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and blockchain into one track.
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