Serverless Architecture for Cloud-Based App Development: Benefits and Challenges

Aug 15, 2022 | Application Development | 0 comments

Long gone are the days when app developers had to think a lot about servers. Before putting these servers in the data center, they had to come up with a lot of plans and budgets for buying or renting, powering, and putting them in place. But then they understood what serverless architecture was.

Serverless architecture is a very difficult way to build cloud-based apps because you have to hire third parties to set up and maintain the servers. Serverless architecture is usually used by developers who don’t want to take care of the basic infrastructure needed to test, run, and share app code.

In the future, the serverless IT infrastructure will be used to its fullest. So, if you haven’t tried out this technology yet, you should do so soon. Without a doubt, this technology reduces functional problems, cuts costs, and improves the efficiency of DevOps.

Introduction to Serverless Architecture

We call it “serverless architecture” when a third-party vendor offers the infrastructure as BaaS (Back-end as a Service). To sign up for this cloud-based infrastructure and use its services, you have to install an API. Anyone or any business can pay to use this infrastructure in a way that makes sense.

After writing the code, the developers send it to the vendor so that it can be tested, fixed, put into use, and kept up to date. And the vendor has the tools you need to do all of these things. Users choose a tool based on what they need.

This infrastructure in the cloud is driven by events. Every event needs a FaaS (Function as a Service) function to handle all the important tasks.

Elements of a Serverless Architecture

The serverless architecture is not exactly serverless because it has some parts that are necessary for working with third-party servers. These parts should be part of the framework of this cloud-based architecture for app development:

  1. Security Token Service

Serverless users log into the system and use its services by using the API that third-party providers offer. Before users can use the API, the infrastructure should give them a security token.

  1. Web Server

The web server needed to perform client apps should be potent enough to deal with all the static CSS, HTML, and JavaScript needed.

  1. FaaS Solution

An integral part of the serverless architecture is a FaaS (Function as a Service) solution. It enables app creators to build, operate, distribute, and support applications without a server infrastructure. Through FaaS, a developer may quickly and easily utilize any tool, operating system, or framework.

  1. User Verification

Clients often sign up for the service in a typical serverless configuration. Finally, serverless computing makes sure that any end user may easily register and log into the program.

  1. Client Software

The client interface should perform on the client side, regardless of your server infrastructure’s condition. Hence, client apps can easily run on a web server.

  1. Database

Data must be kept in a database regardless of whether an app is created and maintained using a serverless architecture. To put it briefly, a reliable database has emerged as a crucial component of this cloud-based architecture.

How Does The Serverless Application Work?

Serverless architecture is important for developers to perform certain functions. Hence, the model is usually provided as FaaS.

Here’s how those functions are written and applied in the serverless computing architecture:

  • Developers write a function that usually meets a particular requirement within the application code.
  • Then, developers describe an event that drives the cloud service provider to implement a function. Usually, they use HTTP requests as a basic event.
  • The event gets started. If an HTTP request is an event, users can start it with a click.
  • Next, the function gets implemented. The cloud provider makes sure whether the function’s instance is working. Otherwise, it begins another instance of the function.
  • The users receive the results of their activities within the app.

The Benefits of Serverless Architecture

Serverless infrastructure is better than traditional cloud-based architectures in a number of ways. When making a serverless web app, developers can focus on the main product without having to worry about how to run or manage servers. Let’s talk about why serverless computing is good for making apps.

  • Quick Start

Serverless computing features BaaS building blocks for standard functions. Therefore, you get instant solutions for APIs, databases, file storage, etc. It helps you combine backend services with your application and immediately makes your system stable.

  • High Scalability

Serverless applications can grow or shrink based on how many people are using them. When a function needs to run on several servers at once, containers start, run, and stop the servers as needed. So, a serverless app can handle many requests while also handling a single request that goes smoothly from one or more users. Because of this, businesses that put traffic first like to use serverless computing because it lets them grow quickly.

  • Improved Efficacy

Traditional servers must constantly remain operational. However, while employing serverless infrastructure, you should pay per request. As there is no concern about setup, scalability, or capacity planning, effectiveness is increased.

  • Low Operational Expenses

The two main expenses for every project are infrastructure and human resources. Infrastructure costs are significantly reduced with serverless computing. People are more productive because they concentrate more on developing software solutions than on maintaining the architecture.

  • Improved Latency

The response time of the app is an important factor in how well it works. Latency depends on where you are physically, and serverless apps can work with users all over the world by using access points all over the world. So, the serverless architecture makes apps respond faster and covers the whole world.

  • Instant Updates and Deployments

A serverless infrastructure doesn’t require you to upload code to the servers for backend configurations for launching an app version. Developers can easily upload codes and launch the new version.

Hence, the development doesn’t need to check whether the update has been rolled out across multiple devices. When you add new technology or business feature, any client can use it in real time.

  • Improved Operation Management

Legacy systems have given companies the structure they need to get the most out of their software. Since these systems stop people from trying new things, relying on them can hurt a business. By using serverless infrastructure, businesses can think about new ideas because the infrastructure providers take care of all the architectural needs.

Challenges of Serverless Architecture

Everything is not okay with serverless computing infrastructure. It too has some drawbacks and challenges that you should fix, so they don’t grow further. These are a few of the challenges of serverless architecture:

  1. Complexity

Creating a serverless architecture takes time and has some complexities. Determining every function’s size is essential while building a serverless app. For small functions, developers can grow into a massive combination of functions in the name of the app.

Development, testing, debugging, and monitoring are difficult to optimize in terms of bigger functions. Choosing tools for every step of solution creation is another challenge experienced by developers.

  1. Security

Serverless infrastructures are distributed across public cloud environments. They have more surface area than conventional applications. Hence, check functions with more fair IAM policies, unauthorized requests, and outdated libraries.

  1. Inadequacy of Operational Metrics and Tools

Many operations in a serverless app are tough to understand. Presently, the third party is not launching a sufficient number of operational metrics.

Hence, developers face challenges in debugging and monitoring apps. In terms of outages, they don’t have an adequate number of tools to control traffic or take essential measures to fix the issues.

  1. Third-Party API Problems

While using serverless infrastructure, developers don’t control their own apps. And when end-users use these apps, the performance of third-party APIs may pose many challenges, like loss of functionality, forced updating, security, vendor control, etc.

Expenses may rise because many third-party service providers charge based on the number of functions running or the number of time resources are used. If the vendor offers a shared architecture, security, speed, and bug fixes may become difficult.

  1. Warm or Cold Startup Issues

It’s challenging to resolve the service speed in serverless functions. Functions that are left unused for a long time are known as “cold functions.” Functions that are in use currently are called “warm functions.” Cold functions take more time to release than warm ones.

When Should You Not Use Serverless Architecture?

You must not use serverless infrastructure:

  • If you seek a fast response from the server. Functions in a serverless cloud infrastructure usually go cold if left unused, requiring manual intervention.
  • Because the FaaS functionality has a limited lifetime, real-time apps use WebSockets.

Why is Serverless Architecture the Future of Modern App Development?

Although serverless architecture has many challenges, we can consider it the future of modern app development. After all, it allows low-cost app development, easy operation scalability, and less time to market.

Serverless architecture is still in its budding phase, being only five years old. It’s becoming popular due to its multiple benefits. However, it should be more transparent, secure, and robust for a wide range of uses. Organizations offering serverless cloud services should launch more operational tools and metrics and offer them to developers for easy debugging and maintenance.

Bottom Lines

Tech biggies are using serverless architecture these days. This infrastructure is accepted by every industry. But there are still some things it can’t do. Also, a framework or infrastructure’s success depends on more than just technology. So, it’s important to use the right infrastructure based on what clients want. AppleTech can help you out with your application development process.

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