What is Computing Without a Server

What is Computing Without a Server

The cloud has not only revolutionized the way we handle installed software - no, servers are now being hit by the cloud revolution. The phenomenon of computing without servers is now beginning to develop in the IT world. But what is behind it? We look more closely at this new technology.


Serverless computing (or abbreviated without server), is an execution model where the cloud provider (AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud) is responsible for executing a piece of code by dynamically allocating resources. And only charging for the amount of resources used to run the code. This code is usually executed in stateless containers which can be triggered by various events including http requests, database events, queue services, monitoring warnings, file uploads, scheduled events (cron jobs), etc. Code sent to the provider cloud for execution is usually in the form of functions. Therefore serverless is sometimes referred to as "Functions as a Service" or "FaaS". Following are the FaaS offerings from major cloud providers:

  • AWS: AWS Lambda
  • Microsoft Azure: Azure Functions
  • Google Cloud: Cloud Functions

To convince you: Of course the server will not completely disappear. Conversely, serverless computing is a model of execution in the cloud where users (mostly your developers) create and run applications - without having to deal with the underlying server. This means that behind the principle of serverless computing, as the name suggests, there is no direct use of the server. This is set to a virtual system or physical host that functions in the background. Apart from the cloud, program code and data must be stored and operated somewhere.


Stereotypically, of course, developers think of program code. In fact, your developers spend a lot of time preparing clean infrastructure and efficient back-end systems. However, with computing without a server, your developer can sit and relax. The server work is taken from the cloud and he can concentrate fully on developing applications.


Of course, you are wondering how your server should look in the future, right? Quite simple: In most cases, cloud services from the provider you choose take over the work in the form of so-called "black boxes". Your developer then uploads the code and writes what is called "function". What feature is that? This provides, for example, that an automatic filter is applied during upload. This allows you to deal with microser services from your provider or to integrate your own services. After that take over the cloud service provider. He is now responsible for administering server and operating system maintenance as well as scaling and providing all necessary resources. This can be, for example, runtime, network and storage environments.


By giving your developer more time resources, of course he can also develop new software faster. Even updates can now be used faster. And very good: Serverless Computing is also a pay-per-use method. That means you only pay when your developer code is executed.


Often, in the context of serverless work, parallels with PaaS (Platform as a Service) are drawn. Although the system is very similar at first glance, there are some significant differences that give computing without a server a unique sales proposition. In Paas, your developer must interact with the PaaS API alongside the code. This means that your developer is still communicating with the platform, which was taken over by the cloud system black box provider when running without a server. This is the difference between the two systems. And working without a server is controlled by two completely new architectures.


With Baas (backend-as-a-Service) and Faas (Function-as-a-Service) occur on two architectures that can act serverless. Baas is the level of abstraction in application development: Application server backends are moved to the cloud and addressed through API access. Baas offers features commonly used by front-end, such as push notifications, social media integration, or chat. With BaaS, your developer gets a prefabricated system, which does not have to be programmed by the user. In FaaS, the situation looks a little different: Here, the division between the frontend and backend is revoked. The application is changed to a set of functions.


As you can see, working without a server gives you and your developers a lot of potential to work more effectively. Whether this innovation will apply nationally will become clear in the coming months.