A Minimalist Guide to Function as a Service (Faas)

A Minimalist Guide to Function as a Service

Function-as-a-service is creating a drastic revolution in the field of cloud computing. Playing a critical role in boosting IT dexterity by curtailing the responsibilities of developers from managing and provisioning servers, the global FaaS market is predicted to surpass USD 31.53 Bn by 2026, according to a report.

Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) is a serverless way to implement modular pieces of code on the brink. FaaS lets developers write and execute code in response to an event without the intricate infrastructure linked with developing and launching microservices applications, such as a user clicking on an element in a web application. This lets companies focus on individual functions in their application code, and makes it easy to scale code. It is the most efficient way to implement microservices.

Let us first understand “functions”. What are functions? A function basically states a procedure of changing one element into another. The function stays statics, however, the variables passing through it can vary.

Key Characteristics of Functions in Function-as-a-Service

  •  Event-driven: function needs to be called for some predefined event or trigger
  •  Short-lived: as function finishes executing, it frees up the resources for the next function call
  • Scalable: function can be generated as many times as required to meet the load demands
  • Stateless: functions don’t embrace any permanent state
  • Easily-integrated: functions can be easily integrated into applications making HTTP requests

The rapid growth of cloud services has empowered “Functions as a Service”. It places a function onto a cloud instance— which can be used by applications, developers and other functions, and is expected to start within milliseconds. Once the function is written on a cloud instance, it can be further served to any computer without depending on the user’s system software or hardware for their service to work.

Key Components of FaaS

Functions: independent unit of the deployment (executing the scheduled task, file processing)

Events: anything that triggers function execution (file upload, message publishing)

Resources: components or infrastructure used by the function (file system services, database services)

  •  Write code in any programming language
  • Work on the cloud’s resources
  • Access it anywhere with a network connection

Benefits of Function-as-a-Service

  1. Focus more on code rather than on infrastructure
  2. Only pay for used resources when required and as needed
  3. Quick development time with enhanced developer productivity
  4. Get automatically scaled up or down depending on the demand
  5. High performance, low latency
  6. Built-in availability and fault tolerance

Principles and Best Practices

Make FaaS easier to deploy and more effective by following the below-mentioned practices—

  • One function, one action— keep code scope curtailed, lightweight and effective
  • Don’t make functions call other functions— keep functions isolated to make them work better
  • Use limited libraries— more libraries lead to function’s hold up and make it harder to scale

Dynamic Scaling with FaaS

Functions are not resource-driven— they are event-driven. They can be easily scaled, thus offering better value and efficiency. A provider makes your function accessible through an API (application programming interface) and administers resource allocation.

Functions start within milliseconds and process specific needs. The system will create copies of the functions depending on the requests for your function to meet the demand. The application scales down automatically when the demand drops.

Apart from being cost-efficient, dynamic scaling is the key benefit of FaaS— you pay only for the resources when you use and what you use.

The dynamic nature of FaaS allows more workloads to run and augment resource functionality and consumption, this increasing your platform density.

For high-volume workloads and transaction that happens frequently such as image processing, generating reports, or any scheduled tasks, FaaS works very well.

An entire serverless application can be made using FaaS, or an application with a combination of partly traditional microservices components and partly serverless to make the most of cutting-edge technology and container orchestration systems.

FaaS Use Cases

  • Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) does extremely well with high-volume and parallel workloads as it allows transactions to be isolated and scaled effortlessly.
  • It helps to manage and implement third-party services.
  • It can be flawlessly used for creating backend systems or for events such as format conversion, data processing, data aggregation or encoding.
  • Adopting the FaaS approach for Android app development can keep your costs repressed.
  • It is a brilliant tool for data/stream processing, backends, web apps or to develop back ends for IoT (Internet of Things) devices.
  • It can significantly improve computing performance.
  • It is appropriate for web/mobile applications.
  • Online chatbots for peak demands.

Starting with FaaS

FaaS is quite a new concept that was first made available by hook.io in the year 2014 and was shortly followed by AWS Lambda, Microsoft Azure Functions, Google Cloud Functions, and many others.

The possibilities with FaaS are endless! Strategic thinking and careful planning are needed when moving to the cloud, and the same is the case with FaaS.

The FaaS model works effectively for simple, repetitive functions such as processing queue messages, schedule routine tasks or jobs, or processing web requests.

Choosing the apt cloud storage provider with a global presence is important because businesses will need cloud storage for the numerous event-based activating of functions. A global network with well-located edge servers is necessary for an application designed specifically for a global presence.

Leading FaaS Providers

  • AWS Lambda
  •  Microsoft Azure Functions
  • Cloud Functions
  •  IBM Apache OpenWhisk Functions

Is FaaS Right for Me?

Function-as-a-Service is proposing an architecture type that lets developers fit into. It is a completely new way to build, manage and deploy code. An innovative and novel way, like microservices, with numerous advantages for both small and big applications.

FaaS is very flexible. FaaS is a new approach to look at the entire application and might make significant modifications to the application architecture of the future.

In the FaaS delivery model, developers don’t have to maintain and look after the application servers. Instead, developers deploy pieces of code called “functions” which can be executed on-demand.

Like any other tool and application, it depends on what you want to do. FaaS is beneficial to centralize the implementation of the functions. Also, it helps in scaling the implementation— if you want to run several instances simultaneously, the provider manages it.

FaaS applications are easy to build, deploy and update. FaaS has its merits and demerits. In the long run, the benefits will overcome the drawbacks.

Benefits and possibilities with Function-as-a-Service are endless!  

Expersight is a leading market intelligence, research and advisory firm that generates actionable insights from certified experts globally.
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Expersight is a leading market intelligence, research and advisory firm that generates actionable insights from certified experts globally.
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