The serverless approach has many advantages, the most important being enabling cost savings. To maximize the benefits of going serverless, IT professionals must first decide which platform they will use to operate their serverless apps. Let’s delve deeper into the best serverless tools to consider and adopt in 2022.
For people unfamiliar with the concept of serverless frameworks, the task of running software without a server seems impossible. The truth is, there are servers involved in a serverless framework, but they exist in a cloud environment somewhere and manage the allocation of resources dynamically in the usual way.
So, why are they called â€˜serverless’? The answer is simply because the user doesn’t get involved with the server. For them, it’s as if the server doesn’t exist. There’s no need for an organization going serverless to configure and manage the server. The organization develops, builds, and deploys applications or processes. The servers don’t have to be paid for if they remain unused.Â
Organizations also need not worry about capacity because applications scale up and down as required by end-user demand. The cloud provider controls everything â€“ provisioning, managing, allocation, and scaling. They are also responsible for guaranteeing maximum reliability. Some providers call their serverless services a Function as a Service (FaaS). This is because the server-side logic is run in stateless compute containers.
Benefits and drawbacks
There are a lot of advantages to the serverless approach, but the one that most people quote is cost saving. This comes about because organizations do not pay if the server is idle. Secondly, organizations are no longer responsible for server maintenance, so they don’t need to pay staff for that work. And companies are safe in the knowledge that if demand for the application increases, the server will automatically scale to handle the increased demand.
Because the actual servers are in the service provider’s data center, if any hardware error occurs, they can quickly swap to alternative devices so that the service continues to be available. The serverless company doesn’t have to worry about software updates to Linux etc., because the service provider handles them. Nor does the company need skilled staff to select, purchase, and configure servers.
Of course, there are also drawbacks to the serverless approach, of which latency, particularly start-up latency, causes major headaches for users. If an application has been idle for a while and people then use it, there will be a noticeable sluggishness, to begin with. That means some applications, like financial, probably aren’t suitable for a serverless environment.
Various service providers set limits on memory and execution time, making specific applications unsuitable for a serverless environment or making some service providers a better choice than others.
There can also be issues with monitoring and debugging applications in a serverless environment. Organizations could be paying more than necessary for the use of applications that need a little tuning to save those extra costs. The growth of serverless environments has resulted in some organizations finding it difficult to find staff with experience in using the environment. And there can be the usual problems with vendor lock-in. What if all your other applications are with AWS Lambda? Is the latest application best suited for that environment too? Lastly, people are questioning security with data stored in a serverless environment.
Frameworks worth considering
So, which serverless frameworks should IT pros consider this year? Firstly, organizations need to decide what programming languages they want to use. Some frameworks are targeted at specific languages, e.g., Python, and some are not language-specific. Do you want to use Kubernetes? And the last choice is which of the main cloud vendors will allow your â€˜serverless’ application to run optimally, i.e., without any memory constraints, for example.
For specific programming languages, the available tools include:
- AWS ChaliceOpens a new window allows users to build and deploy apps through AWS Lambda. Serverless applications can be written in Python.
- Midway ServerlessOpens a new window is a serverless framework used to build Node.js cloud functions.
- Ruby on JetsOpens a new window is a framework that allows users to build serverless applications using Ruby. It includes everything needed to build and deploy applications to AWS Lambda.
- ZappaOpens a new window is a serverless framework for creating applications in Python.
More general serverless framework tools include:
- Apex UpOpens a new window makes serverless apps, APIs, and static webpages endlessly scalable.Â
- ArchitectOpens a new window is considered as IaC (infrastructure as a code) framework. Architect defines a high-level manifest file in multiple open text formats and turns formerly complex cloud infrastructure provisioning into a build artifact.
- AWS Amplify frameworkOpens a new window allows users to build extensible, full-stack web and mobile apps faster (although they don’t say faster than what!).
- KnativeOpens a new window is a Kubernetes-based platform that deploys and manage modern serverless workloads. Knative can be used on Google Cloud, AWS, Azure, and even on-premise.
- NuclioOpens a new window is an open-source and managed serverless platform that automates the deployment of data-science-based apps by reducing development and maintenance costs.
- PulumiOpens a new window is an open-source infrastructure-as-code tool for building, deploying, and managing cloud infrastructure. The tool supports conventional infrastructures such as virtual machines, networks, and databases, as well as new architectures like as containers, Kubernetes clusters, and serverless operations. Many public, private, and hybrid cloud service providers are supported by Pulumi.
- Serverless FrameworkOpens a new window says it offers all-in-one development and monitoring of auto-scaling apps on AWS Lambda.
- SLAppForge SigmaOpens a new window is a browser-based IDE that was created with the goal of making serverless development easier.
- Webiny Serverless Application FrameworkOpens a new window is an open-source framework that helps users architect, build, and deploy solutions on top of the serverless infrastructure.
Where are these serverless applications going to run? The answer is the usual main suppliers of the cloud: Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft Azure.
LambdaOpens a new window and FargateOpens a new window are two AWS services. AWS Lambda is a serverless, event-driven computing solution that allows customers to run code for almost any form of application or backend service without the need to create or manage servers. Users may leverage over 200 AWS services and software as a service (SaaS) apps to trigger Lambda, and they only pay for what they use.Â
AWS Fargate is a pay-as-you-go computing engine that allows users to concentrate on developing apps rather than managing servers. Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service are both compatible with AWS Fargate (EKS).
Google Cloud RunOpens a new window lets users develop and deploy highly-scalable containerized applications on a fully-managed serverless platform. Code can be written using a variety of languages (Go, Python, Java, .Net, Node.js, etc.). It’s built on the container and native open standards, enabling the portability of applications.
Azure serverless computeOpens a new window offers serverless Kubernetes, which lets users provision pods inside container instances using the orchestration capabilities of Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and AKS virtual nodes. Users can execute code with Azure Function and run and scale web, mobile, and API applications on the platform of their choice.
It’s also worth looking at Apache OpenWhiskOpens a new window , an open-source, distributed, serverless cloud platform that builds its components using containers.Â
To get the best value from going serverless, IT Pros need to consider what platform they want to use to run their serverless applications. This can often depend on the limitations the service providers may currently impose. They also need to choose the programming language that suits them and their employees. Many application development environments can work with a range of programming languages, and some are quite specific. If the choice is a single language, it makes sense to use an environment optimized for that language. Hopefully, the frameworks mentioned here will help in the decision-making process.
Do you think vendor lock-in is a significant concern for serverless users? Let us know on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We would love to hear from you!
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