Serverless Computing

What Is Serverless Computing?

It is a method of providing backend services based on their usage. With serverless computing, developers can write and deploy code without worrying about the essential infrastructure. An organization that picks a backend service from a serverless vendor is charged based on their computation, and it doesn't have to reserve and pay for a fixed amount of bandwidth or number of servers, as this service scales automatically. However, as the name suggests Serverless, physical servers are still required but developers do not need to give more attention to these physical servers.

Earlier, if an organization had to build a web application, it had to use physical hardware to set up a server, which was a time-consuming and expensive option.

Then comes Cloud computing. In Cloud computing, organizations can purchase server space on rent remotely. Usually, organizations purchase excessive space hoping that traffic surge in the future will not lead to the breaking of their application. However, most of the time the amount paid for excessive space goes in vain. Contrary to this, Cloud vendors come up with an auto-scaling model to deal with such difficulties.

What Is Serverless Architecture?

Serverless architecture and serverless computing are the same thing and behave like Function as a Service (FaaS). It is a software design pattern where developers can host their application via third-party services, eliminating the need for a software server and self hardware management by the organization. The advantage of serverless architecture is that instead of posting a complete application, it breaks the application into individual or smaller functions that can be scaled individually.

Components of Serverless Computing

  • API Gateway: It acts as a layer of communication between the front-end in the FaaS. With the help of REST API, it finds the respective functions which run with the business logic. Since this service does not include a server there is no requirement for deploying a load balancer in this approach.
  • Functions as a Service: This layer separates the specific business logic and executes it with the help of a Cloud provider.
  • Back End as a Service: It is the Cloud-based distributed NoSQL database, which helps eliminate the database administration expenses.

How Does Serverless Computing Work?

Developers rely on serverless architecture to execute specific functions. Because of this, cloud service providers offer Functions as a Service (FaaS). Below, you can see how functions are written and executed in a serverless way.

Following steps take place to use serverless computing:

  • A developer writes a function code with a specific purpose within the application code.
  • The developer defines an event that triggers a Cloud service provider to execute the function (normally an HTTP request).
  • If the event is triggered or if the event is defined as an HTTP request, the user triggers a similar event with a click.
  • The function is then executed and the Cloud service provider checks if the instance of the function is running. If it is found not running then it starts a new function.
  • The result is sent to the client, which can be seen by the user inside the application.

Example of Serverless Computing

Chatbots are widely popular for providing customer service and also help sales teams communicate with the customer and prospect when team members are not available. Moreover, they provide valuable output and cost relatively minimal but they can be turned into a single function application.

Now such chatbots can be hosted on Virtual Machines, but they are not the preferred choice for this as they increase the operational cost. That’s why serverless platforms are preferred by teams worldwide. The advantage of using a serverless platform is that the individual features can be hosted separately on the serverless architecture while the rest of the features or the entire application, excluding a single function, can be deployed on VMs.

Benefits of Serverless Computing

  • Easy to Deploy: If your team is capable of building and deploying an app in a speedier way, then a serverless approach could prove a perfect solution. Since there is no need to invest your valuable time in setting up and maintaining infrastructure, you can focus on the code and release it immediately. And the best part is that you don’t have to take care of the provisioning needs as scalability is automatic.
  • Low-Cost Solution: Choosing serverless computing over traditional computing is the best way to cut costs. Once you choose serverless computing, you actually outsource the services like managing servers, databases, and some logic. Plus, serverless computing takes less computing power and human resources.
  • Provides More Time to Enhance User Experience: Customers don't care about the infrastructure or the code that you’ve written for your back-end. The only thing that excites them is the front-end. So instead of focusing on the back-end, you can devote your time to build a better user interface and experience.
  • Promise Scalability: To become a big organization and retain that position, your server should be able to handle ample traffic, at any given time. With serverless architecture, you can achieve that as it automatically scales when your application succeeds or grows.
  • Environment-Friendly Solution: If a company sets up its own servers, it has to run servers all the time, which requires lots of energy consumption. However, with serverless architecture, you can buy servers when you need them. In this way, companies can restrict the usage of servers to a minimum and contribute to the environment.
  • Delight Customer: Serverless architecture allows users to access new features rapidly, as the organization can bring up new features and ship them for the customers’ availability. No user wants to wait for an entire year even for small fixes when you can release new features quickly to improve the user experience.
  • Bring Efficiency: Serverless architecture lets you pay as per the request. While a traditional server needs to be running all the time whether you’re using it or not. When you compare two technologies you will find that traditional server includes wastage of resources and serverless computing minimizes the wastage, and at the same time, the latter helps you scale and detaches you from DevOps concerns.

Serverless Computing Vs Cloud Computing

Basis of Comparison

Serverless Computing

Cloud Computing


For users, the server is invisible as the Cloud provider takes care of the setup, capacity planning, and server management.

On-demand computing services like computer power, database storage, applications, and other IT resources are delivered over the internet.

Role of Servers

The worries of configuration and management of resources disappear as the Cloud service provider does all this for you.

You need to buy a specific space over the Cloud, and at the same time, you need to manage and configure Cloud resources on your own.

Utilization of Hosting Resources

The various functions of the application are split out into separate containers and hosting resources are allocated to the specific functions instead of hosting a complete application.

A complete web application is hosted on the Cloud that requires huge space. And to deal with sudden traffic surge, you need to buy more space in advance.

Allocation of Resources

Serverless computing is more precise than Cloud computing as it allocates exact resources to execute a particular function.

For example, if an application needs 3.45 GB or 3.75 GB of RAM to complete a task, serverless computing releases the exact resources. Neither more nor less.

With traditional Cloud computing, you need to buy additional space in advance so that the application does not fail.

For example, you may add 2GB or 4GB of RAM additionally so the application has sufficient memory available for peak traffic or usage.


Serverless computing offers flexible pricing. You pay only for what you use.

For instance, if your application takes 2.45 GB of RAM then you pay only for the memory you have used.

As you buy a dedicated space on Cloud, you need to comply with rigid pricing even if you’re not using it fully.

Suppose you buy 8GB of space and are using only 4GB or 6 GB in peak times, you still have to pay for 8GB.

Famous Platforms for Serverless Computing

  • AWS Lambda
  • Azure Functions
  • Google Cloud Functions

If you want to know which platform should you use, look at the comparison below:

AWS Lambda Vs Azure Functions vs Google Cloud Functions

Basis of Comparison

AWS Lambda

Azure Functions

Google Cloud Functions

Language Support

JAVA, Go, PowerShell, Node.js, C#, Python, and Ruby.

C#, F#, JavaScript, JAVA, PowerShell, Python, and TypeScript.

JavaScript, Python, Go, JAVA.

Free Offering

1 million executions per month.

1 million executions per month.

2 million executions per month.

Maximum/Minimum Execution Time

Maximum up to 15 minutes.

Up to 60 minutes, with a premium plan else 10 minutes.

Minimum 1 minute, maximum 9 minutes.


Serverless computing allows you to run your applications as a function in the Cloud. The best part of this technology is that it only charges for the compute time that your application uses. Serverless computing is based on event-driven architecture, which makes it easy to scale and perform. And the benefits do not stop here because as a developer you can shift your attention towards more significant things other than scaling, configuration, and management.