Before rolling out software to users, vendors must make sure it’s fault-tolerant and error-free. They do this by launching various processes aimed at optimizing its operation, testing it, detecting possible weaknesses, and fixing errors in the code. All this is called software deployment, which requires equipment and technologies to do its job.
Today, serverless computing and containerization are the two most popular methods for deploying software. These approaches are different and offer different advantages. Businesses can entrust them to their specialists or turn to a DevOps company that provides professional services in this area. In this article, we cover their features in detail and when you want to choose containerization over serverless computing and vice versa.
Containers computing is a method where code and app settings get packaged as units, i.e., containers. Such app containers have everything needed for deployment in any environment, so the app will be working the same way on different devices when run using the same operating system.
The main advantage of containerization is that the code is error-free when you place the program in other environments.
Containerization makes it easy to work with individual units of an app and versions of code, so it’s a perfect fit for testing code and fixing bugs. This method ensures deployment stability and security, enables version control, reduces hardware load, and makes managing projects easier.
Vendors can use their in-house hardware and software or rent it to work with containers.
Serverless computing is data processing in the cloud. The essence of this method is that the provider ensures infrastructure management, configuration, and maintenance rather than the software developer: all processes take place on its or other equipment to which it has access. However, the server hardware doesn’t work non-stop – it’s active only upon request or at those time intervals when a certain scheduled event triggers the program function.
Vendors opting for serverless computing don’t need to worry about their in-house hardware and software.
How to optimize container handling
Managing containers architecture flexibly and effectively requires vendors to use orchestration systems. Container orchestration enables you to streamline scheduling, development, scaling, and load balancing. This way, companies develop large-scale projects faster and reduce the time to market for their products. Kubernetes, Rancher, OpenShift Container Platform, Nomad, and Docker Swarm are the most popular orchestration tools. These platforms enable you to manage containers and scale your containers application effectively.
Benefits of containers
More control: Container users can choose a convenient programming language and control their app’s behavior.
Version control: Container-based technologies let developers manage environment versions. By doing so, they can return to and change previous versions.
Versatility: You can deploy containers on Windows, Linux, and macOS operating systems, and in the cloud.
No vendor locking-in: Container users aren’t tied to a supplier and can switch to another as the project grows and scales.
More scaling options: Compared to serverless computing, containers are more versatile as they don’t have any timeouts or memory limitation. For that reason, containerization provides great scalability.
Disadvantages of containerization
Higher cost: Container users have to pay server rent, regardless of whether they execute any operations.
Complicated setup: Container technologies require professional setup. Unlocking the full potential of containers requires vendors to hire more employees to set up and manage them. In addition, these processes can slow down development.
More code: If developers want to actualize the potential of containerization, they may need to change the source code.
How serverless computing works
The client uses the computing resources and space on the provider’s server to execute a piece of code. As soon as a user request arrives, the system deploys a special container for it on the server and deletes it after executing the request. These processes are automatic and require no specialists to perform them.
Those who use serverless computing have access to services that make development simpler:
- FaaS—function as a service: the provider supplies the software and hardware for writing and running the code.
- BaaS—backend as a service: this enables developers to connect apps to back-end cloud storage.
Advantages of serverless packaging
Increasing client satisfaction: Serverless computing enables you to speed up development, which means you can create and deliver new functions to clients faster. This way, the developer can stay ahead of the competition and provide users with a product that’s more in line with their expectations and needs.
Reducing cost: As the provider handles data processing and other processes, vendors don’t need specialists to ensure the operation of their cloud infrastructure. Also, users only pay for the services provided and the resources leveraged.
Faster production cycles: The developer wastes no time managing complex infrastructure. Instead, they are able to solve business and marketing problems, rolling out their products to the market faster.
Convenient scaling: When client traffic increases, the platform automatically scales all resources.
Availability: Users choose how many resources they need. Scalability and automatic management make serverless computing a versatile and convenient solution.
Disadvantages of serverless technologies
Less control: The provider is responsible for infrastructure maintenance and data security, offering less control over these matters to the developer.
Dependence on speed: If temporary latency issues occur during data processing that is the provider’s fault, it can have negative consequences for users.
Difficult migration: Migrating to a serverless architecture often requires substantial costs and resources.
Dependence on the provider: By choosing a cloud provider, users practically can’t use the resources of other third-party services.
Use cases for serverless solutions
Serverless technologies are perfect for software development and large-scale projects that require data analysis and AI in finance, media, social media, commerce, and medicine. World-famous digital giants such as Facebook, Zoom, Amazon, and Netflix use the services of cloud solution providers. Netflix uses AWS Lambda, which allows it to transcode video into a convenient format and broadcast it to 167 million users without interruption.
Which technology to choose
Sooner or later a vendor will need to scale and face the issue of choosing between serverless technologies and containerization.
Opt for containers services if:
- A high level of control over your app’s resources and security hardening is a top priority for you.
- You plan to scale the app constantly.
- You want to convert a monolithic system into microservices and move it to the cloud.
If you are unsure whether your specialists are able to provide the work necessary with containers, we recommend using a company that provides containers management services.
Opt for serverless computing if:
- You value performance optimization.
- You don’t have the resources to support the internal infrastructure.
- Your app manages periodic events and doesn’t require 24/7 support.
SHALB is a DevOps company that provides various devops consulting services, such as Kubernetes cluster management, cloud optimization and cloud migration, container management, and web & mobile development.
Developers use two technologies—containerization and serverless solutions—to speed up and streamline software deployment. These techniques help improve development performance, reduce development time, create solutions that fit requirements of modern technology, and bring products to the market faster.