Serverless Vs. Microservices - Which Architecture Should Businesses Choose?

serverless vs microservices

For every single business in the industry, the proper use of technology is one of the main aspects that effectively differentiates the organization from the different competitors it has. Hence, different organizations need to ensure that they are upgrading their systems based on the new and advanced technologies which are a part of the business environment.  

Another important thing for organizations is to ensure that they can strike a proper balance between the flexibility of future technologies and the returns they have from the current technological investments. Proper preparation and expertise of the different integrities incorporated into the process of upgrading should be considered, for that matter.  

This can be said without a single speck of doubt that there has been a lot of advancement in the technological sector, and that too at a very rapid pace. Hence, it is important to have some applications and frameworks that can scale easily and are agile enough to show excellent results in terms of performance. Furthermore, new and advanced technologies such as serverless computing and microservices have been formed with the evolvement of requirements.  

Two different types of architecture are mentioned in the computing world, which raises questions for different business organizations. What architecture would be the best for the business? Every single business has different needs and requirements. Sometimes, microservices might be an ideal choice, and sometimes, they might be Serverless Computing. While some differences exist in the approach used by these architectures, security always remains one of the main priorities.  

To pick out the right choice between the two, first, we must understand what serverless and microservices architecture are in the first place. Then we can analyze the difference between the two types.  

What Exactly is Microservices Architecture?  

When we talk about microservices architecture, it can be defined as an architectural paradigm that can help build strong, extensible, flexible, and independently deployable services for business organizations. In simple words, Microservices architecture is a basic conglomeration of some loosely connected services that are designed, tested, and independently deployed. The term microservices is used to define a particular collection of services that tend to operate in their very own environments and then have interactions with one another with the help of different interfaces that are extremely well-defined.  

What Are the Benefits of Using Microservices Architecture?  

To define microservices architecture in the best way, it can be said that this type of architecture can provide a way to properly give structure to an application with the help of different services that tend to have the following features:  

  • Extremely easy to test and maintain  
  • There are very few errors, and only minor debugging is required  
  • Independently deployable and loosely coupled  
  • Organized by keeping in mind the capabilities and objectives of the business 
  • Traditionally owned by only a few people in smaller teams  
  • Allow for reliable and rapid delivery of complicated and large software as well as applications  

Why Should the Developers Start Using Microservices Architecture?  

Now that you know what microservices are in the first place, it is time to take a look at the important benefits of this architecture. Microservices architecture can provide a wide range of advantages for developers worldwide. In the cases of microservices architecture, every single service will typically run using its container.  

Hence, the Web developers can properly design, develop, test, deploy, manage, and scale the services independently. The situation is pretty different from what we call a monolithic application. The developers don’t have the scale of the entire application to maintain it. Instead, all they have to do is scale the selective and specific services that are required. Not to mention that it becomes really easy to add new application features using this architecture. Developers will also have no trouble updating the existing features as well.  

Another important thing to remember about microservices architecture is that the apps that take advantage of this architecture are completely resilient. Here is an example for proper clarification. Say that one of the services included in the entire application fails. This will not cause the whole application to fail because every single microservice has been developed completely separately from another. If you are still not convinced, here is another benefit. The microservices architecture will enable you to take advantage of container technologies, including Kubernetes, Docket, and much more.  

What Exactly Is Serverless Computing?  

Another type of architecture that is quite famous in computing is serverless architecture. In the case of serverless computing and architecture, it is an execution paradigm used in cloud computing development services. Here, the developers can develop or deploy any particular code without comprehending the workings of the infrastructure beneath them. Serverless computing is also known as function as a Service or FaaS. In serverless computing, the developers can assemble the source code inside the functions or the building blocks. Serverless architecture or serverless computing is properly supported by different technologies such as AWS Lamda, IBM Bluemix, Apache OpenWhisk, OpenWhisk, and Google Cloud Foundation. 

Can Developers Find Servers in Serverless Architecture?  

It is important to point out that the term ‘Serverless’ doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no server of some kind in this type of architecture. There is still a particular server that is used. However, the only thing here is that you will not have to buy the server or manage it. In a particular and typical serverless computing model, the capabilities of server management and the capacity for planning decisions are effectively handled by the infrastructure. So, the developers don’t have to worry about these trivial things. Hence, this type of architecture is called the ‘Serverless’ architecture. In the case of this architecture, the developers do not have to worry about buying, provisioning, or properly managing any of the backend servers.  

There are two different concepts that serverless architecture depends on. These concepts are called function as a Service and Backend as a Service. FaaS provides the proper facility to effectively develop and deploy the code pieces which can be executed on a particular event. BaaS, on the other hand, will allow the developers to build different cloud application development services with the help of which the client application can talk to the database directly and without any hindrance.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Serverless Architecture  

One of the most important things to remember about serverless architecture is that it is a proper extension of the microservices architecture. Serverless computing has become incredibly popular because it best supports different architectures. Not to mention that the time taken to set up the serverless architecture is much less. It also takes less time to deploy and operate, thus reducing the different operational and maintenance costs. Regarding serverless architecture, developers don’t have to worry about how the infrastructure works. They also don’t have to worry about scaling the infrastructure, which is one of the biggest advantages of using this type of architecture.  

All the serverless functions will also ensure that your application is properly enabled to be completely elastic. So, the functions can easily be scaled automatically when there is a need to accommodate any concurrent users. In the same way, the functions can be scaled downwards when there is a reduction in traffic. Another of the most important benefits of using amazing Serverless computing is that you don’t have to worry about the provision of the infrastructure, as this will also be taken care of by your service provider. Looking at the benefits, one can say that serverless architecture is one of the best ways to operate business organizations. However, that is not all.  

Now that we have understood the benefits of serverless architecture, it is time to look at the drawbacks. Yes, serverless architecture has a few disadvantages, and we will discuss them in detail. For instance, serverless computing will not be an ideal choice for organizations that value the speed of the application above anything else. For instance, eCommerce applications cannot be developed using the serverless architecture in the first place.  

Since the nature of the serverless architecture is completely event-driven, it will not be a good option for apps that plan on running for a long period. With that being said, it would be a lot more difficult to build some complex and complicated applications with the use of the Serverless architecture for sure. In addition, since the developers have to focus on and manage the coordination and dependencies between the functions, it will become more difficult to handle the app-building processes.  

Comparing Microservices Architecture and Serverless Architecture  

It is important to ensure that developers have a detailed comparison of the two types of architecture to make an informed decision. For example, serverless computing can be similar to microservices architecture in which a particularly large monolith is properly broken to form some small pieces that can then be developed, deployed, and maintained independently without any problems.  

While both serverless and microservices architecture tend to lower the operation costs of appl building and hence reduce the marketing time, there are some differences that both the architectures tend to have. Let us have a look at some of these differences.  

In the case of serverless applications, they tend to be pretty different from the traditional ones since these apps run in a particular stateless environment. Now, these types of applications are known as computing containers. Moreover, these containers tend to be ephemeral and event-driven. Therefore, serverless architecture is a proper technology capable of replacing long-running virtual machines with computational powers.  

The applications would execute the operations only when there is a demand and completely vanish as soon as the function’s execution is properly done. So, in that case, the developers would only have to pay for the changes for a very short period in which the server was executing the function.  

This is where the microservices architecture tends to differ from the serverless functions. In the case of microservices, they can perform more than one type of function. So, in other words, it can be said that based on the architecture, a microservice will be equal to one or even more than one serverless function.  

Here is an important thing that you need to keep in your mind for sure. As a developer, you can easily deploy a microservice as a proper part of the serverless architecture. Or you will also be able to host the microservice in containers. Contrary to that, the serverless functions are deployed in the server vendor’s infrastructure and are efficiently executed when required. When the execution process is over, the server responsible for running the code will be decommissioned.  

Choosing Between Microservices and Serverless Architectures: Which is The Ideal Choice?  

Although the serverless application will share many benefits with the microservices one, some differences set them apart. So, it is important to make sure that developers choose between microservices and serverless architecture. Now it is upon the organization and the goals that they have.  

But suppose the developer decides to go by popular opinion. In that case, it is suggested that they choose serverless computing if there is a need for proper and automated scalability and reduced running costs. With the help of serverless computing, the applications can be executed for a short period and very effectively. Thus, the traffic in the application will also increase

Combining the Forces of Microservices and Serverless 

These days, the development teams don’t have to choose between serverless and microservices architecture in the first place. Different cloud providers, such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, have picked up on the increasing demand for microservices and serverless architecture. Hence, these providers have now figured out a way to ensure that the gap between these architectures can be bridged easily and effectively. Now microservices can easily be developed as a proper set of different functions that are completely event-driven. Also, these services can be stored on the infrastructure of the third-party vendor.  

Mentioned below is the process using which the development teams can easily approach the process of building a combination of both architectures without having to choose between one.  

  • To be efficiently serverless, microservices need to be event-driven. Hence, the microservices should respond to different user actions and conditions to work properly as a function.  
  • Developers will also increase the viability of different serverless functions by properly integrating them in the best way. That can be done using Logic Apps from Microsoft or Step Functions from Amazon. With the help of these tools, triggers can be assigned to microservices, and several functions can be combined into one service.  
  • Transferring to the cloud is a very important step. The development of serverless architecture relies heavily on cloud computing. Hence, the implementation of principles for serverless architecture will require shifting to the cloud infrastructure.  

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