Going Serverless: Implications, Benefits and Challenges

January 18, 2021

Édouard Bonlieu

Édouard Bonlieu
@edouardb_

Yann Léger

Yann Léger
@yann_eu

Alisdair Broshar

Alisdair Broshar
@alisdairbroshar

There is a lot of buzz around the emergence of serverless technology. What exactly are the opportunities and challenges it brings? More importantly, what are the implications for the future of cloud computing?

We will walk you through the implications, benefits, and challenges of serverless technology as well as how second generation platforms mitigate these challenges.

This is the second post in our Serverless Series where we've been exploring a variety of questions about this emerging technology. In our first post, we discussed the history and evolution of serverless computing. Check it out here if you missed it: From Cloud Computing to Serverless: The rise of new paradigms.

Implications

Going serverless has many more powerful and profound implications than what may be understood at first glance. This transition is architectural, cost-effective, and strategic:

  • Architectural: serverless architectures have some considerable impacts on development. There is a small learning curve to implement best practices, and there is a huge field of opportunity to optimize these practices in the coming years.
  • Cost-effective: going serverless can dramatically cut operating costs. Of course, saving money with the serverless model requires understanding the technical implications. These savings ultimately translate into firms being able to redirect financial and human capital back towards what matters the most for their businesses.
  • Strategic: above all, going serverless is a long-term strategic decision. Instead of considering whether to go serverless, the more important question for businesses to answer is how they will go serverless. Using this new technology with its unique practices might be challenging, but this investment will produce long-term and sustainable value.

With all that being said, here is a breakdown of the benefits and challenges of going serverless as well as considerations and recommendations for when to go serverless.

Serverless Benefits

Serverless technologies bring technical benefits that result in significant business gains. A lot of the benefits of serverless are related. Below is a table we prepared to highlight the core benefits of serverless and analyze their corresponding technical and business implications.

Serverless Technical and Business Benefits

Aspect of Serverless TechnologyTechnical BenefitResulting Business Advantage
Autoscaling of ServersTraffic variation is handled by the serverless provider who scales the servers automatically.Increased availability of your platforms, reduced latency for end-users, which means less customer churn and ultimately increased revenue for the business.
Reduced Staff CostsReduced dependencies of DevOps & SRE competencies and tasks.Staff cost reduction, workaround for the hiring challenge, and better use of developers who shouldered SRE burdens.
Deployment VelocityGreater deployment velocity for your projects and applications because there is less architecture and capacity planning.Faster time-to-market for new products, features, and updates.
No Infrastructure Management0 server maintenance and updates mean more time to focus on business logic.Refocusing time, manpower, and money into your business.
Pay as you GrowReduced capacity planning burden for technical team members.Lower IT costs from the granular pricing model and an overall more efficient allocation of financial resources.

We strongly believe modern applications will be serverless in their design and that most greenfield applications should plan to run on the serverless model. These new applications will be fast to deploy, autoscaling, and easy to update thanks to the advantages offered by serverless platforms.

As a result of the aforementioned benefits, businesses adopting the serverless model will certainly gain a competitive advantage compared to those who are slow to adopt serverless.

Serverless Challenges and Mitigations

With first-generation platforms, migrating existing or legacy applications to a serverless model may not be the most effective or efficient solution. Koyeb is a next-generation serverless platform dedicated to facilitating the serverless experience.

The table below lists the existing challenges to serverless, which firms must consider before transitioning to serverless technologies, as well as how Koyeb provides solutions to these traditional serverless pain points.

Serverless Challenges and Koyeb's Solutions

Aspect of Serverless TechnologyChallengeKoyeb's Mitigation
Cold-startPerformance issues such as cold starts and timeouts for long-running tasks.Koyeb’s stack is optimized to drastically reduce container boot time and provides a simple way to reduce latency to zero for highly latency-sensitive applications.
Cost ControlVulnerability to Denial-of-Wallet attacksKoyeb users can set billing alerts to receive notifications for high levels of traffic. Moreover, Koyeb's transparent billing model makes it easy to understand your costs.
Learning CurveOvercoming the serverless learning curve by becoming familiar with and adapting the best practices for serverless.Koyeb offers a range of learning resources, including guides, tutorials, blog posts, to help developers overcome the learning curve.
Lack of PortabilityServerless solutions are not interoperable.With Koyeb, you can seamlessly deploy any containerized app.
Long-Running TasksLimitations surrounding software configuration and execution.No timeout on your executions, Koyeb is designed to handle both short and long-running tasks.
Lack of Control of the Underlying InfrastructureWith outsourcing the underlying infrastructure, there is an inherent level of control relinquished of the underlying infrastructure.Koyeb offers a lot of hardware resource variants to run any workloads on high-end hardware.
ObservabilityMonitoring and troubleshooting are pain points for those adopting serverless.Koyeb offers logs to provide visibility into your workloads. Moreover, we are compatible with other solutions offered in the serverless ecosystem.

Koyeb is a simple, developer-friendly serverless platform to deploy applications globally.

You no longer have to worry about operating, scaling, or provisioning the underlying infrastructure for your applications. Enjoy fast startup times and minimal overhead for each application you deploy.

The Koyeb serverless platform enables native and effortless scalability all while combining the flexibility of PaaS with the performance and security of MicroVMs.

Get the security and isolation features required for data-sensitive applications without compromising on speed, security, and performance.

Koyeb users can connect their GitHub accounts to Koyeb to streamline and bolster the development of their applications.

See the benefits of going serverless, get started with a free account today!

Here are some useful resources to get you started:

  • Koyeb Documentation: Learn everything you need to know about using Koyeb.
  • Koyeb Tutorials: Discover guides and tutorials on common Koyeb use cases and get inspired to create your own!
  • Koyeb Community Slack Channel: Join the community chat to stay in the loop about our latest feature announcements, exchange ideas with other developers, and ask our engineering teams whatever questions you may have about going serverless.

If you want to learn more about serverless computing, check out the first post in this Serverless Series: From Cloud Computing to Serverless: The rise of new paradigms.