Serverless Architecture

What is Serverless Architecture and How does it work?

April 20, 2023



What is Serverless Architecture?

Serverless architecture is an approach designed to build and run applications and services without managing the servers. It is a cloud computing model that allows developers to focus on writing and deploying code without worrying about managing the underlying infrastructure.

One of the most popular examples of serverless architecture is AWS Lambda – a serverless computing platform provided by Amazon Web Services. With AWS Lambda, developers upload the code and the platform automatically provisions the necessary resources to run the code. The developer is only charged for the usage time, making it a cost-effective way to deploy applications.

Serverless architecture is well-suited for event-driven and microservices architectures. 

It is a relatively new paradigm in software development that has emerged as a popular alternative to traditional and container architectures. The primary difference between serverless and traditional architecture relates to how applications are deployed and managed.

In a traditional architecture, applications are deployed on dedicated servers or virtual machines (VMs). They are monitored, managed, and maintained by the IT team. In this model, developers have to deal with infrastructure concerns, such as scaling, patching, and security, which can be time-consuming and complex.

Serverless architecture eliminates the underlying infrastructure issues and allows developers to focus entirely on writing program code. In this model, the cloud provider provisions and manages the necessary infrastructure resources, such as computing, storage, and networking. 

How Does Serverless Architecture Work?

Servers play a crucial role in providing a platform for users to interact with the application and access its business logic. Managing the servers is a time-consuming and resource-intensive task. Dedicated teams are assigned to maintain server hardware, update software and security protocols, and create backups to prevent data loss.

By adopting serverless architecture, the cloud provider is responsible for managing the infrastructure and automatic resource allocation.

Serverless architecture is based on the concept of Functions as a Service (FaaS).

In FaaS, developers write their application code as a set of discrete functions that perform specific tasks triggered by events like incoming emails or HTTP requests. When a function is called, the cloud provider automatically allocates resources to run the function. It can be executed on a running server or a new server is allocated if necessary. The resources provided can include CPU, memory, and storage, and are only assigned till the function executes. Once the function is complete, the resources are released back to the cloud provider.

Although serverless architecture has been around for over a decade, Amazon introduced the first mainstream FaaS platform, AWS Lambda, in 2014. Currently, AWS Lambda remains the preferred choice for most developers looking to build serverless applications. Google and Microsoft also offer their own FaaS offerings, called Google Cloud Functions (GCF) and Azure Functions, respectively.

Benefits and Challenges of Serverless Architecture

Due to its benefits, the adoption of serverless computing has increased in recent years. Nearly 40% of organizations have adopted this architecture in some form or another. (Source:

Benefits of Serverless Architecture


You can scale up and down as per the application requirement since you pay only for the resources as they are used. It gives you the flexibility to quickly respond to changing user traffic demands without worrying about server management.

Reduced Costs:

In serverless architecture, you pay for what you use. It is more cost-effective than any other traditional server architecture. Additional costs, such as server maintenance and upgrades, electricity, and cooling, are lowered.

Increased Agility:

Serverless architecture enables faster development and deployment of applications. Developers are less concerned about network infrastructure and are able to focus more on application development. It leads to faster time-to-market for new features and products.

Fault Tolerance:

With serverless architecture, the applications can automatically scale and recover from failures. If a particular function fails, the rest of the application will not be affected and will continue to operate, providing higher availability and uptime.

Simplified Management:

In this model, businesses do not have to worry about server maintenance, updates, and security patches. The IT employees can work on more strategic initiatives, such as improving the user experience and developing new features.

Challenges Of Serverless Architecture

Overcoming Cold Start Latency :

When a function is invoked for the first time in serverless architecture, the cloud provider needs to set up the environment for it to run. It can take time and might delay the response time of the function.

Addressing Functionality Constraints :

Serverless architecture is best suited for small applications having discrete functions that can execute independently. Applications that require long-running processes or continuous computation may not be suitable for serverless architecture.

Mitigating Vendor Lock-In Risks :

Serverless architecture has a high dependency on cloud providers, which can create vendor lock-in. For instance, if your application uses a particular cloud provider's serverless services, then shifting to other providers’ services is difficult. The migration process can be challenging, and there can be compatibility issues between providers.

Managing Control Loss Effectively :

You have less control over the software stack that your code runs on in a serverless environment. If there are any issues, such as hardware faults or data center outages, you are dependent on the cloud provider to fix them.

Enhancing Monitoring and Security Measures :

In serverless architecture, the cloud provider runs program code or functions for several customers on the same server. If there is no proper configuration of the shared server, then there is a chance that your application data may be exposed.

Common Use Cases for Serverless Architecture

Some of the most common use cases for serverless architecture are:

Real-time Data Processing: Serverless architecture is used for real-time data processing applications, such as processing streaming data from IoT devices or log files. The developers write small, event-driven functions that are triggered when data is received, allowing for real-time processing and analysis. For example, Allianz, a multinational insurance company, has developed a serverless claims processing system that uses machine learning algorithms to extract relevant data from claim forms.

Scheduled Tasks: Scheduled tasks easily run in serverless architecture, which includes running database backups or sending periodic notifications. The developers write functions that work at specific times or intervals, eliminating the need for a dedicated server.

Web and Mobile Applications: Serverless architecture can be used to build web and mobile applications that require rapid scaling and high availability. Application functions are triggered based on user requests, allowing automatic scaling up or down based on demand.

Chatbots: Serverless architecture is used to build chatbots that interact with users in real-time. Functions run when a user sends a message, allowing the bot to respond immediately without the need for a dedicated server. For example, HealthTap, a healthcare technology company, has developed a serverless chatbot that provides patients with quick answers to their medical questions.

According to a survey conducted by IBM, the top use cases for serverless architecture include data analytics (36%), database applications (30%), and mobile applications (32%). (Source:

Using Serverless Computing to Your Advantage

Serverless architecture can be a good fit for a variety of businesses, but it may be especially beneficial for those with the following characteristics:

Businesses with unpredictable workloads: Serverless architecture is good for businesses with highly variable workloads, because it automatically scales up and down based on demand.

Startups and small businesses: Startups and small businesses can benefit the most from serverless architecture. It is a cost-effective solution for businesses that don’t have the budget for on-prem or dedicated servers and other infrastructure management.

Businesses with budget constraints: Businesses with budget constraints prefer going serverless because it allows for fine-grained billing based on usage. This can help businesses optimize costs and avoid over-provisioning, while still delivering high-quality applications.

Businesses with event-driven applications: Serverless architecture is well-suited for event-driven applications, such as those that process data from IoT devices or respond to user actions.

If you think serverless architecture might be a fit for your business needs, then contact us at Our team of experienced professionals will help you explore all the possibilities of serverless computing so that your business can thrive in this digital age.

Cloud Computing

Function-as-a-Service (FaaS)

Use Cases for Serverless

Serverless Computing Advantages

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