FaaS and Other Cloud Computing Services

What is Function as a Service?

FaaS refers to a serverless backend service that permits code builders or developers to write modular pieces of code on the go that can be performed in response to specific events.

Developers may create and execute applications without worrying about cloud infrastructure using serverless computing. Servers are still there in serverless but are separated from the app development process. A cloud provider takes on the mundane labor of provisioning, caring for, and scaling the server infrastructure using a serverless architecture, allowing developers to work solely on code for deployment.

Although the terms function as a service (FaaS) and serverless are sometimes used interchangeably, they have two distinct definitions. FaaS is a subset of serverless computing that focuses on event-driven triggers, where code runs in response to events or requests. While serverless relates to any class in which the server is completely separated from the end-user, FaaS is a subclass of serverless computing centered on event-driven triggers in which code executes in reaction to events or requests. The server shuts down if there are no event-driven requests, making its tools accessible for subsequent requests. FaaS responds to demand and scales up and down as required after it is launched. When a serverless function is idle, it rarely costs anything, saving costs in different instances.

How PaaS, IaaS and FaaS Relate

Platform as a Service (PaaS), Function as a Service (FaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are known as cloud computing services. The distinction is the level of abstraction between the infrastructure and the user they supply.

IaaS provides the lowest abstraction. Users who utilize IaaS have absolute power over their infrastructure and the tools and software that go with it. Still, they don’t have to manage or control the physical infrastructure, such as data centers. IaaS allows developers to pick which abstraction layers they want to use. They can opt to control or manage everything themselves or layer in features such as load balancers and managed services to make it easier to maintain their application.

For the end-user, PaaS includes an extra layer of abstraction. Users that use PaaS don’t have to worry about managing their application’s OS, runtime or other parts of the infrastructure. Still, they have granular control over the underlying infrastructure options and applications. PaaS offers a completely managed infrastructure option for developers wishing to launch apps quickly. Developers who choose PaaS can concentrate on their work while the provider handles system administration and backend processes.

FaaS provides far more abstraction for the operator and the most particular functionality of the three. With FaaS, programmers have accessibility to a system that runs application logic on demand, and the service provider manages all system resources and other infrastructure components.

Differences Between PaaS and FaaS

Although FaaS and PaaS products may appear to be very similar at first glance, there are important considerations in differences when selecting which is best for you.

● Configuration: FaaS has a short provisioning time due to its simple use case and entirely managed solutions. Although PaaS provides a higher level of abstraction than other cloud computing services, it still necessitates some configuration. Depending on how much control you want, this might be a plus or a disadvantage.
● Operations: FaaS solutions spin up and down entire applications for individual requests. While PaaS provides the capacity to scale up and down as required, resources are usually available at all times. Latency, cost, and the ability to complete complex requests can all be affected by this FaaS feature.
● Scalability: PaaS can scale up and down as required, but the developer must consider it and configure it. There is no need for capacity planning with FaaS. It easily scales up and down as needed.
● Pricing. PaaS pricing varies depending on the provider, although it is frequently more expensive than FaaS if you have a light workload. If event triggers are sparse, FaaS permits code developers to pay per function call, saving time. PaaS might be the best solution for more consistent or large workloads in economics.

How does FaaS work?

The monolithic architecture was commonly used in early applications. As a result, the application was designed as just one operation that needed to be executed. Microservices have become more popular among developers. Microservices are a set of components that can be deployed independently. They are simpler to care for and test because they may be worked on separately.

Ideally, a function is a Microservice capable of executing one action in response to an event. The provider will start a server when a function is invoked in FaaS. It will run the code and then turn off the server. When the server is turned off, the serverless services are only active when the function is being used, allowing the same computer resources to be deployed elsewhere.

Developers with access to the FaaS platform can run their application code. The strength of FaaS is its simplicity. To get the most out of FaaS, developers must ensure that a function only executes a single action. The function’s scope should be constrained and efficient. Using too many libraries or requesting a function to call another will cause the program to slow down and cost more.

Advantages of FaaS

Using a FaaS architecture has numerous advantages. The following are some reasons you might pick FaaS to run your application:

● The freedom to concentrate entirely on your application’s coding and development
● Paying for what you use saves on cost.
● Auto-scaling with no capacity planning or regular maintenance
● Because of the simplicity of testing and development, the time to market is reduced.

Considerations when Choosing FaaS

From web applications to online chatbots, data processing to backend functions and more, FaaS can be used in various ways. Consider the following before choosing a FaaS provider:

● Workloads: FaaS is good for easy and repetitive tasks that require little work or many requests. Since FaaS charges per function executed, charges for heavy usage may be greater than if you used a PaaS solution. FaaS is a wonderful solution for simplifying provisioning and saving costs if your workload is relatively minimal.
● Control: One of the most abstracted cloud products is FaaS. Think about how much visibility and control you want over your setups and infrastructure. Try a PaaS solution if you desire a little more control than FaaS while keeping the same simplicity of use. An IaaS solution should be considered by teams who want a complete takeover of their production ecosystem and the design and behavior of their infrastructure.
● Vendor lock-in: This is a term used to describe a situation in which vendor-migrating applications created by providers might be difficult. Using open-source cloud technologies makes it easier to move computing activities from a single provider to others.

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