Five ways serverless computing improves app development


Five ways serverless computing improves app development


I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review about how the world has come to revere “busyness”. It outlines that work, not leisure, has become a signifier of social status. But before you book out your calendar with back-to-back meetings, the article goes on to explain that this culture of busyness is actually quite problematic and can have a negative impact on employee performance and mental wellbeing. And that being busy doesn’t necessarily mean being more productive. In fact, more and more research suggests that reducing our working hours can actually enhance productivity. You can read the full article here.


I mention this research because in a world where we are often overwhelmed by our busyness, it makes sense to find ways to pass on some of our more menial and time-consuming tasks to others. This is the business case for serverless architecture.


A serverless approach to software design is all about allowing developers to build and run services without having to manage infrastructure. You application still runs on servers, but the management of these servers is taken care of by a by cloud service provider. Where managing servers and infrastructure used to be a critical skillset for any IT professional, with serverless computing your IT team has more time to focus on other things. Unsurprisingly, this cloud development framework is rapidly growing in popularity because it means that organisations have one less thing to stress about.


In action, serverless architecture has enabled major league baseball to improve audience experience via a real-time player tracking system. This system tracks everything from pitch velocity to player performance. With serverless, this system scales up to handle days when there are multiple games being played and then scales back on days with only one or two games are scheduled. And when the season ends, so does the computing system. Similarly, at the Tour de France, serverless technologies are used to collect millions of data points and present this information to fans via insightful visualisations and digital experiences.


Still not convinced? Here are five benefits of serverless computing.


1. Serverless is more cost-effective
Much like a ‘pay-as-you-go’ cellphone contract, developers are only charged for what they use. In a traditional environment, developers have to calculate how much capacity they might need in advance and pay for this capacity whether they use it or not. As such, serverless architecture is a great way to eliminate wasteful expenditure. And let’s not forget that saving your team time means saving the business money.


2. Serverless offers lower latency
With serverless computing, the application is not hosted on an origin server so the code can run from anywhere. With access points on a global scale, it’s much easier to handle users from every corner of the world because you can run application functions on servers as close to the end user as possible. This dramatically reduces latency.


3. Serverless is much faster
Speed is often a contributing factor when choosing to go serverless. Using a serverless infrastructure, developers can very quickly upload code and release new products. This also makes it possible to add new features and deploy updates, patches or fixes to an application. Greater speed equates to an increase in efficiency, as you are able to deploy applications within minutes, not months. Given the fact that the tech environment is changing constantly, the ability to deploy code quickly is a major competitive advantage.


4. Serverless is highly scalable
Scalability is a defining feature of serverless computing. Traditionally one would have to provision and manage additional servers to handle sudden spikes in traffic, which is costly and can make it difficult to guarantee application uptime during peak periods. With serverless, computing resources are automatically provisioned and scaled up or down as needed, based on demand. As we saw with the major league baseball system mentioned above. With this approach, the application can handle a significant number of requests just as well as it can process a single request.


5. Serverless improves UX
As an indirect result of freeing up developer time, serverless computing improves the user experience. If something isn’t running as it should, your customers won’t be happy if they have to wait an entire year for the issue to be remedied. Through serverless, you can quickly release updates, make small fixes or introduce new features that improve the user experience. Similarly, because your development teams no longer have to manage infrastructure and maintenance, these resources are free to take on projects that directly drive business value.


Serverless architecture is just one of many options that we can use to deploy applications. It isn’t the right approach every project. If, for example, your applications involve a large number of continuous, long-running processes and the traffic is fairly stable, a more traditional approach might be a better choice. At Bluegrass, we have been delivering cloud native applications for more than four years, built from the ground up, optimised for cloud scale and performance. To find out more about how we’re using serverless architecture to improve the work we do and deliver better outcomes for our customers, get in touch, here.



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