The advantages of AWS Lambda – and serverless computing in general

There are several key constituents to any software and mobile app development initiative – and servers are one of them. They are the primary focal points of your IT support team, as they undertake the duties of infrastructure management. Servers are bulky and expensive, not to forget the additional effort required to ensure they stay secure at all times.

So, is there a more convenient way to engage servers in due course of software development, but without any of the hassle associated in purchasing and maintaining one?

Enter the technology of serverless computing. Based within the realm of cloud computing, it does exactly as its name suggests: running web, software and back-end applications in the absence of a physical server. However, the cloud is what offers and facilitates server functions. While a serverless platform alleviates the need to purchase, run and maintain services by businesses, it also brings with it a host of benefits that go beyond conventional infrastructure management.

Amazon’s suite of web and application services (AWS) has now become a staple amongst technology companies, as well as professionals who independently offer technology services – all over the world. Likewise, the arena of software development in Sri Lanka is no exception, as IT agencies, startups and developers alike rely on AWS to offer technology services suited for today’s day and age.

AWS Lambda is Amazon’s brand of serverless computing technology, which simply depends on your application’s code to conduct its responsibilities. On top of that, it works in collaboration with AWS’s many products, such as DynamoDB, Kinesis and S3.

Before we delve deeper into the benefits specifically offered by Lambda, it’s useful to understand the many advantages of serverless computing in general. Here are some of them.

1. Forgo the physical servers.

There’s no need to own, run and maintain bulky servers, with serverless computing. Situated in the cloud, your server will be accessible by your application virtually, in order to conduct routine operations.

2. Liberate your team.

With the absence of running on-premise servers, your developers and system administrators alike will now be free from the tasks that pertain to infrastructure management, such as troubleshooting and maintenance. This thereby gives them the time and space to focus more on developing and enhancing the product at hand.

3. Pay and scale as you go.

The ownership of a server requires paying for it even when it is on stand-by. In addition to that, if more tasks need to be executed, new servers will have to be purchased to satisfy this demand. With serverless computing, you don’t have to worry about either because you will only be charged for the tasks that are executed. Should more server power be required, your plan can be extended quick and simple.

4. In-built maintenance and security functionalities.

Running and storing a physical server is tough enough, but providing the regular maintenance that it needs to function smoothly along with ad hoc troubleshooting is extremely crucial. This is because the successful workings of your application depend on how your server reacts. With serverless computing, your IT support team won’t have to worry about regular maintenance and security provisions as these are facets that will already be provided by the host.

While the above-mentioned advantages refer to serverless computing in general, what makes AWS Lambda all the more beneficial? Here are some factors that are unique to Amazon’s brand of serverless computing.

Access to the AWS Serverless Application Repository:As an AWS user, you don’t just have access to Lambda or any of Amazon’s other products in its extensive suite, you also have abundant access to the AWS Serverless Application Repository. This is a collection of applications made by developers, which are available for reuse. Applications for a multitude of functionalities are available, which can simply be retrieved and integrated into your system. These applications then function through Amazon’s other AWS products. As a result, there’s no need to code functions from scratch, and connect supplementary services to initiate workability.

Any programming language of your choice will do:There’s no need to adhere to a specific programming language, as AWS Lambda is compliant with Java, Node.js, C# and Python.

Every Lambda function is independent: :This means that it bears to connection to the underlying infrastructure, thereby making it possible to run the code as often as needed. What’s more, if the AWS resource changes, Lambda can shift its priorities to accommodate the new resource and keep delivering at the same pace as before.

In conclusion…

Be it software or mobile apps, such digital requisites have now become the cornerstones to accomplishing pretty much everything – for consumers and businesses alike. While there is much thought that goes into what you would like to offer your users from a business development point of view, there’s just as much (if not more) that happens behind the scenes.

What this means is that the software or app you create can only bear significant importance, if it works smoothly in conjunction to what it promises to offer your target audience. That’s where serverless computing, and AWS Lambda in particular, come in. With Lambda, all you’ve got to do is simply feed in your code. The application then does the needful for you, with support from its sister resources such as DynamoDB, Kinesis, S3 and API Gateway.

There’s no need to pay a fixed price on a regular basis, since you only pay for every task that is executed. Costs are calculated every 100 milliseconds, and there’s no need to pay if your side of the server isn’t being used. This also applies to scaling Lambda in the event more throughput is required.

Last but not the least, having access to a myriad of functionalities that can easily be integrated into your project via the AWS Serverless Application Repository is another benefit, along with the convenience of using any existing coding language - Java, Node.js, C# or Python.

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