What is serverless?

"Serverless" gained significant traction in the webdev industry, is this just the latest fashion or a trend to stay?

What is serverless?

03 April 2019

Software development is evolving every day and with that come new languages, tools, frameworks and concepts. One term that we are hearing more often recently is "serverless" deployment. Our very own devops team provides some insight into what that means and what it can do.

Serverless explained

To operate any kind of internet connected platform, like a website or an app, a computing unit is required. That can be a classic bare metal server, a virtual or dedicated resource in the cloud or a set of other services. One rather new member of this collection are "serverless" services.

What providers mean with serverless is of course not that there will be no server, in the end every service and abstraction still relies on actual physical hardware. But when going "serverless" you don't own, see or manage the server anymore.

Simply put you, or your developers, will engineer your software, website or app and upload it to a cloud provider into a serverless container. The cloud provider will take care of everything that container needs for your software to thrive, be it operating system, database platforms and programming language environment.

For that reason serverless is often also referred to as Function as a Service or FaaS, because you implement a function in anyway you see fit and then pass the software code to a provider to execute it on your behalf.

A serverless program is usually event driven, which means it will be executed as a response to an event. Events could be someone loading your website, a file being modified or really any other action that can be captured in software.

Who needs this?

As with every concept serverless is not for everyone, it always depends on what you want to do and if a serverless architecture is going to get you there faster, smarter or cheaper.

While serverless can be a good way to do many things in web development, it does not aim or intend to replace existing server setups.

Based on the event driven concept of serverless, FaaS can be an interesting implementation for every service that should respond to a certain action, but does not need to be always on.

One way we at esugo implement serverless for our clients is as a preview and building bridge of content managed through a headless CMS. Our serverless function detects every update clients make on a website, builds the new version and automatically release it onto the clients website.

Besides the gain in efficiency by having (and paying) for your code only when it actually is executed, serverless also allows for intense scaling and performance benefits.

Where can I get this?

Many of the big cloud platforms offer their own flavour of FaaS, that support a set of programming languages like Python, JavaScript/NodeJS or Ruby. Amazon Web Services pioneered the concept, which since saw competitors like Microsoft Azure and Asia forerunner Alibaba Cloud follow with similar offers.

If you are looking into what parts of your digital business might be benefitting from a move to serverless concepts we invite you to get in touch with our deployment specialists for an expert opinion via the form below or email us to

serverless cloud alibabacloud aws google FaaS
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