Access and Feeds

Serverless Computing: Saving Money by Removing Hardware Resources from the Equation

By Dick Weisinger

In the early days of cloud computing people described it like a utility: you can scale it up or down at a moments notice and are billed  foronly as many compute cycles that you actually use.  But in reality, what often happens is that people have just moved on-premise thinking to the cloud.  The cloud is often used like a hosting service. Cloud servers are loaded up with software and then run continuously, just like they did on-premise, whether the servers are idle or not.

Serverless Computing is a concept that some cloud vendors like Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure are offering that is closer to the idea of utility billing.  With serverless computing you need only worry about the software that you will run.  All of the resource provisioning, server allocation, memory allocation, disk space is handled automatically.  Users are only billed when their software actually runs and for any resources needed to support it.  It is Platform as a Service in its purest form.

Benefits of Serverless Computing include:

  • Cost Savings. Costs are incurred only when the code runs.  You don’t need to pay anything when the software is idle.
  • Simplicity. You don’t need a dashboard to scale and provision.  It just happens.
  • Automated administration.  No additional costs are incurred when software is updated.  New software can be made available instantly.

Peter Horadan, CTO at tax software firm Avalara, told Datamation that “people overprovision for machinery on AWS. In serverless, that’s 100% gone. You don’t preallocate any resources to run your function. You upload it and say when this event happens, run my function. If it happens once a day, it runs it once a day and that’s all you pay for. Getting completely out of the business of preallocating resources has yielded ten-fold to 100-fold savings in cost. And you get out of the hard work of thinking about what resources do you need. They have auto scaling systems. You just don’t think about it you just upload your code and don’t have to think about how to scale it.”

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