Enterprises have long utilized Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to take advantage of benefits like scalability, cost savings and the ability to turn updates and hardware maintenance over to an outsourced provider. Taking advantage of these cloud computing options has given some organizations the ability to shut down servers or data centers. Now, serverless cloud computing promises to further these benefits.
Serverless cloud computing, often called simply, “serverless” is a software architecture that’s emerging as a way to dynamically allocate storage, compute and memory. Rather than infrastructure and operations teams manually allocating these items from technology partners, the serverless option automates these tasks, including patching, backup, and security functions. Enterprises using serverless frequently mention two major benefits:
IT Thinks More Like a CIO as a Whole. When the manual tasks are removed from IT professionals, they are freed up to focus on strategy, business deliverables and streamlining broader processes with further automation. They are also able to spend more time on tasks related to application performance interfaces (APIs) and integrating applications and systems.
The Bite Is Taken out of Infrastructure Costs. With traditional on-site or cloud computing, any underutilized server or data center is costing the enterprise money. If an enterprise is utilizing IaaS and renting 50 servers, but 49 sit idle, that cost is still coming to the enterprise. With serverless, the problem of idle infrastructure goes away. The enterprise simply pays a fraction of a penny every time they task the provider to complete a function.
These benefits make serverless an enticing cloud computing option, but it is not without risk. Moving to serverless can require a complete rearchitecting of applications or you may need to switch out complete databases, which can be disruptive. It can also be challenging to monitor or detect bugs in a serverless infrastructure, and enterprises may be reluctant to risk provider lock-in.
Despite the risks, you may still want to explore serverless cloud computing. If you do, use the following steps to determine if it’s right for your enterprise:
- Be very familiar with your data architecture, including how you store and manage it, as well as how it integrates with your front-end platforms.
- Know your team’s weakness for shiny objects. Serverless innovations are emerging quickly and it’s easy to buy an option that’s a burden rather than a benefit.
- Evaluate the skills that you have in-house. Are you equipped to manage a serverless infrastructure or will it quickly demonstrate a weak spot?
- Think green. Rather than converting a major system to serverless, think about greenfield initiatives where you can take advantage of a new department-level application that’s being introduced to dip your toe into serverless as an infrastructure strategy.
There’s no doubt that serverless presents some exciting cloud computing opportunities for cost savings and efficiencies for IT. Contact us at Truth Comm to find out more about serverless and whether it’s right for your enterprise.