A trend is emerging in recent years to choose a model for running your applications in the cloud, which is called serverless. With a lot of promise, it’s important to ask yourself: can this technology be useful for my use, and if so, when should I use it? Through this guide, we will try to give you the basics in order to understand what it is, and when it is relevant to use it.

What is serverless?

Before we start our comparison, we need to ask ourselves the following question: what is the serverless model? In broad terms, it’s pretty vague: it’s an execution model that promises to run your code without using a server. As a developer or IT professional, you probably suspect that this is an image, because every code needs servers in order to run.

The promise of the serverless model is to run your code on servers, but that you don’t have to configure or manage by yourself. We can therefore consider that serverless is in fact a “self-managed server as a service” proposition, as opposed to a classic on-premise or cloud model.

There are many serverless resource providers, with Amazon Lambda and Azures Functions currently being the most popular.

How does it compare to the classic model?

The comparison with the classic model is that you don’t have to manage your servers yourself, and this results in a series of advantages, which is precisely the promise of this model:

  • Since you don’t have to worry about the size and nature of the machines running your code, serverless models are generally very easy to scale. In a sudden surge, all you’ll need to do is generally configure one or the other option, if the serverless model doesn’t already handle that automatically.

  • Since you don’t have to configure the machines yourself, you save a lot of time that was once needed for installation and upgrades. You also won’t have to worry about securing your machines, as they will always be updated regularly.

In general, serverless models save time (because of the absence of configuration) and money (because of the automatic adaptation to your workload, which allows an optimization of resources).

However, they also have some disadvantages, which can sometimes be in favor of the classical model.

  • First of all, like any service, it generates an additional cost. If you have full control over the scalability of a classical service, an equivalent serverless model will generally cost you more, because you pay the service provider.

  • Choosing a traditional model also gives you more freedom in choosing the execution environment. If you need a particular setup or machines with specific characteristics, this can sometimes be complex with a serverless model, which may not offer these options.

  • Finally, it can also sometimes be more difficult to run code locally in an environment similar to a serverless execution, creating differences between your local and remote development environment.

How to choose? Some use cases

Taking into account the advantages and disadvantages of both models, you will have to make a choice. For each new application you develop, ask yourself the following question:

Do the advantages of the serverless model outweigh its disadvantages for my specific need?

Obviously, there is no generic answer. It will depend on your use case. The serverless model will work particularly well for an application that is broken down into small pieces or services that need to be scaled individually. On the other hand, a larger, more coupled application, or one with specific needs, in terms of execution environment, maintenance or other, may need a classical setup.

About Us

At Jotcode, we offer serverless execution services suitable for scripts and routine code that you need to run every day. Compared to more traditional application code, we believe that scripts easily fit into a serverless execution model, due to their ephemeral nature and relatively low complexity. By using Jotcode for your scripts, we offer you a simple environment, which allows you to focus on your business logic, without having to worry about servers.