Understanding Serverless Architecture

If you are reading this article, you have either heard this new “cloud” buzzword or are curious enough to learn more about it. In the last few years, since around the time Amazon Web Services introduced its Lambda platform, being serverless has become mainstream. Brands like Toyota, BBC, Airbnb, Netflix, Nike, and many more are beginning to use the cloud to handle their back-end efforts.

Although we say “serverless,” that does not represent the way this technology gets implemented. There is a server somewhere in the cloud; you just don’t need to buy, manage, or maintain it now. As with other cloud services, you outsource all server management to someone else.

For developers, this means that they do not need to plead, beg, bribe, or use threats to get their servers provisioned. It also opens a friendlier way to create applications and services, allowing these poor folks to finally focus on what they passionately love doing – coding!

For businesses, “serverless” may equate to faster time to market, being able to focus on the what and why of deployment, instead of the how. Basically, the serverless approach is business-driven, allowing third parties to handle your technical concerns, while you focus on delivering results.

Serverless architecture is based on a new pattern called FaaS (Function as a Service).


What Is Function-as-a-Service (FaaS)?

FaaS is the concept of using serverless computing via serverless architectures. It means that you, as a software developer, can leverage this pattern to deploy an individual “function,” action, or piece of business logic within milliseconds, processing all individual requests.


Basic Principles of FaaS:

  • Complete abstraction of provisioning process – (servers) away from the developer
  • Billing based on consumption and executions, not server instance sizes
  • Services that are event-driven and instantaneously scalable – essentially what going serverless means


I hope this gives you an overview of this new service pattern. I’ll cover more on this topic in follow-up blogs, highlighting the following areas:

  • Deeper dive into Serverless Architecture
  • Good, bad, and ugly of Serverless architecture
  • Case study – How we implemented SA @ Toyota to potentially reduce costs
  • What’s next in SA – trends, patterns, future
  • SA + DevOps – Match made in tech heaven?


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