FaaS Vs Serverless Architecture
Serverless architecture is a software execution model wherein applications are deployed
on a third-party cloud platform. Often one cloud platform can be integrated with other
cloud services as per requirement. Execution of servers in such a set-up is taken care
of by the cloud providers, without the need to manage physical or virtual servers.
Function as a Service (FaaS) is one such serverless cloud computing model where there
are no virtual or physical servers involved and the server execution is handled through
a cloud provider. The concept was introduced by hook.io in 2014 which later gathered
momentum in the form of Amazon’s AWS Lambda, Google functions, Microsoft Azure
Functions, and IBM cloud functions.
FaaS - A Subset of serverless architecture
Often, we will come across a discussion on FaaS vs Serverless architecture. However,
serverless architecture is aimed at providing macro-level cloud services, such as
computing, storage, database, and so on, which primarily handles the configuration,
execution, management, and various such activities, which are not visible to the user.
FaaS can thus be understood as a cloud computing service that allows users to execute a
piece of code, which when uploaded will trigger an event to complete the desired action.
Therefore, a less complex architecture that involves little or no infrastructural
support to continue focusing on developing efficient code for any application.
A serverless platform thus is an auditorium that can accommodate a certain number
of people who can perform their activities with the help of the components available
in that auditorium
Role of a Serverless Architecture:
Serverless computing offers flexibility to the developers, as they can focus on the
core product without worrying too much about managing and scaling servers, neither on
cloud nor on-premise. Hence, efforts and time can be spent on planning and developing
newer and reliable products.
Components of a serverless application:
Serverless cloud architecture can be segregated into the following
- Serverless Functions - FaaS
It refers to a function that can be used to implement or trigger certain events to
perform some actions. This can also be referred to as business logic.
- Serverless backends - BaaS (Backend as a Service)
This component takes into account several backend regular functions, such as data
storage, authentication, and so on. Such backend services can be integrated and set
up for execution on the cloud.
Deploying serverless applications is simpler. The developers need not worry about
purchasing, managing, and provisioning backend servers, rather they simply need to
write a piece of code to execute a function to accomplish a certain set of actions.
Why go Serverless?
The serverless computing model has a variety of benefits. Some are listed as
- Easy Deployment: Usually, the deployment process for any
application is a time-consuming process. However, with a serverless model at our
disposal, the hassles for deploying an application are simplified. Once a module or
functionality is ready, it can easily be uploaded to the cloud and updated.
- Cost optimization: A significant merit of a serverless
architecture is its ‘pay as you go’ framework wherein there is no need
for purchasing database storage and incur a huge operational cost.
- Scalable: With frequent updates required in an application, there
is a need for upscaling storage mechanisms too. The need to upscale physical storage
requires a lot of investment, along with the migration of data, which is a very
tedious and time-consuming process. Thus, the need for migration activities is
eliminated with the presence of a serverless architecture as the cloud space comes
with sufficient storage space.
- Improved Latency: The best part of a cloud model is its
accessibility, irrespective of any location. An app’s scalability is dependent
on three factors such as the number of users, the user’s location, and network
latency. Be it a photo-sharing app or any other platform for accessing some source
of information, a serverless architecture offers a seamless real-time experience to
- Eco-friendly set up: Data centers usually require an all-time
electricity source to run their servers 24x7. This impacts the ecological balance if
we consider the number of such server management entities (individual
organizations). On the contrary, the cloud-based model is far more ecologically
sustainable if more organizations go for such cloud-based infrastructure.
- Flexibility in development: With less time and effort required on
the management of servers, one can shift focus on developing the next feature or the
next microservice. A serverless architecture eliminates dependencies and facilitates
more productive outcomes.
Brief Highlights on the various cloud platforms by Tech giants:
- Amazon AWS Lambda - With < ahref="">Lambda, one simply needs to upload the
code in the form of a ZIP file or container image, and Lambda will take care of the
execution process. Lambda can be run for virtually any type of application.
- Google functions - Simply write brief code snippets and connect
to Google cloud. The event-driven architecture will call the functions and execute
the necessary task
- Microsoft Azure functions - An event-driven serverless cloud
platform. One can build and debug locally without the need for any additional set
- IBM cloud function - A solution that offers seamless,
cost-effective, automatic, and easy integration
One may choose a certain cloud environment as per their requirements but they must
choose one as it has numerous benefits to offer.
FaaS vs Serverless - Key facts
Although we have so far gathered an insight into what FaaS and Serverless are all
about, let us summarize the understanding in few brief pointers, as follows:
- FaaS focuses on code execution and implementing certain functions to accomplish
the target actions. Serverless, is a complete infrastructural set up that performs
the backend functions to accomplish a task
- FaaS is implemented in a serverless environment and therefore it is a
sub-component of a serverless architecture. The Serverless model primarily takes
care of the server-side logic
- FaaS enables automatic and independent scaling up of functions as and when a
module or task is uploaded on the cloud. Serverless is the backbone of the cloud
platform to facilitate efficient execution of FaaS activities
Lesser complications add up to more productive outcomes, leading to more revenue
generation for organizations. Thus, serverless architecture is more robust offering
efficient techniques to upscale business with more focus on meeting customer