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Serverless Computing: The Promise of Flexibility and Scalability in Exchange for More Complex Management

By Dick Weisinger

Serverless computing is effectively a function-as-a-service capability. IDC analysts conclude that serverless can make developers more productive and lead to lower costs, resulting in a return on investment of more than 400 percent. Serverless computing is flexible, cheap and highly scalable.

Serverless still uses servers – the beauty of serverless is that you don’t need to worry about the underlying servers or maintaining them. Providers manage the servers so that the serverless developer need only focus on the software used in the serverless function.

Serverless follows a utility billing model – you are billed only for the time, CPU cycles and memory used when the serverless function runs.

Serverless functions may suffer from performance issues – serverless software may spin down when not used so that there may be some lag before responding to requests.

Serverless security is more difficult/complex to manage – serverless software can sprawl across many accounts, providers and regions, and each needs to be protected, making security and reporting/monitoring more challenging. Serverless functions also typically cache data on disk rather than keeping it active in memory, a fact that can make data more vulnerable in the event of a data breach.

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