A (Brief) CIO’s Guide to Serverless Computing


Serverless computing is becoming increasingly popular among global organizations, with estimates suggesting that almost 50% of such companies will be using it to support their business operations by 2025.

Serverless computing allows companies to build and maintain cloud-based applications and services without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure. This is particularly beneficial for smaller start-ups who may find it difficult to manage the high cost of infrastructure maintenance associated with traditional cloud computing servers.

Why need Serverless Computing?

The latest developments in cloud computing have made it a valuable asset for firms to utilize in order to improve their business operations and productivity. However, the high cost of maintaining such systems can be burdensome for many companies.

By providing cloud application benefits without the infrastructure maintenance, serverless computing can alleviate the burden for companies.

Developers only need to pay for the exact resources they use, rather than pre-purchasing a fixed amount of bandwidth before execution. Most cloud service providers offer serverless computing services to help businesses meet their infrastructure requirements. Serverless computing allows companies to outsource the responsibility of infrastructure management to the cloud service provider, freeing up their internal IT teams to focus on creating and testing applications. With serverless computing, programmers can write code and then run it on a cloud server that is controlled and maintained by a different company.

Examples of Serverless Computing Services

Serverless computing has recently gained traction in the cloud service provider market. Some of the services offered by companies according to the timeline in which they released their products are:

  • Amazon’s AWS Lambda in 2014: It offers a diverse range of services and is a leading player in the market. It supports code written in multiple languages such as Java and Python.
  • Microsoft’s Azure Functions in 2016: This is another type of serverless computing service that allows developers to run code.
  • Google’s Cloud Function: Google offers this service to help businesses meet their infrastructure requirements for their cloud-based applications.

Serverless computing has largely benefited from evolutions and advancements in computer software and programming stack development. 

Benefits of Serverless Computing

Efficient IT Operations:

Lower infrastructural setup and management costs reduce operational expenses. This is in contrast to businesses that require developers to directly work with containers and VMs. Containers and VM’s (Virtual Machines) are software features embedded in their own internal technology infrastructure. Fully managed services are not available on conventional servers. Developers juggle primary functions and administrative duties, becoming inefficient for the organization. It significantly reduces time in the deployment of technological applications since there is nor requirement of taking care of the infrastructure. 

Reduces the Cost:

Developers are charged only on a part-time basis, during the execution of their code and they are not charged by unit, for the server. There is no down-payment before using their services, since firms only pay during the time of code execution. This reduces the cost of  their IT operations and improves business profitability. 


Scaling is when the size of the IT system is adaptable in order to accommodate changes in storage and data demands. Infrastructure scaling becomes flexible and autonomous in the public cloud when a Serverless computing environment is used. Developers need not have to worry about manual scaling procedures. The underlying infrastructural requirements do not impose any restrictions on the scalability of cloud-based applications. While using traditional servers, we must consider regulations before scaling up the code.


It eliminates the need for infrastructure, server, and software management. It also simplifies the backend code and improves fault tolerance.  

serverless architecture

Drawbacks/ Limitations:

Architectural Limitations: Serverless architecture imposes several limitations on initialisation latency and function runtime. It also lacks server-side technical support which makes it less suitable for consistent workloads.

Acquiring skills: Acquiring certain programming skills is necessary for a smooth transition into a Serverless environment as they are not readily available in the market.

Compromising on security and privacy: Since companies pay only for the resources that they use on a part-time basis, multiple organisations can access the resources that are shared in the cloud environment. This can lead to lapses in security and privacy requirements of the organisation’s data. It is also a leading concern among organisations which are planning to switch to serverless environments. 

Others: Other drawbacks include limited company control and  restricted adaptability in different environments, since applications will have to be completely re-configured while switching from one vendor to another. 

Serverless computing enables company developers to concentrate on the running of the application without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure requirements. It allows companies to focus more on the technical aspects of the application rather than the operational and logistical requirements. By transferring some of the responsibility to external sources, it allows developers to spend more time on acquiring technical skills and improve their working efficiency. It thus helps businesses improve their business productivity and improve their position in very competitive markets. 

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