What is Function-as-a-Service (FaaS)?

Introduction

A function specifies how one element can be transformed into another. The function does not change, but the variables it passes through can. Functions as a Service is one of several as-a-service solutions made feasible by cloud services.

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FaaS

Function-as-a-Service is a cloud computing service that enables you to run code in response to events without dealing with the complex infrastructure required to design and launch microservices applications.

The deployment of apps to the cloud is made more accessible with FaaS. This article will give you knowledge about FaaS, its principles, working, benefits, and use cases.

Other Cloud Models

We also have other cloud models besides FaaS:

  • PaaS: Platform as a Service

In the cloud computing pyramid, PaaS is higher than IaaS. PaaS providers are more specialized, providing the framework required on top of pure infrastructure. The framework encompasses the development, testing, deployment, management, and updating of various software products, including operating systems, development tools, middleware, and database management systems.

Businesses, particularly those working on web-based apps and software, can use PaaS to get their resources for multi-platform development.

  • SaaS: Software as a Service

SaaS is a delivery method for software over the Internet. Instead of installing and maintaining software, you use the Internet to access it, eliminating the need for complicated software and device maintenance.

  • IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service

The core of cloud-based services is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The service provider is responsible for the ‘physical end’ of the infrastructure and provides a virtualized infrastructure to customers.

Principles of FaaS

  • Servers are entirely abstracted from the developer
  • Billing is based on consumption and executions rather than the size of the server instance
  • Services that are event-driven and scalable instantaneously

Working of Function as a Service

  • Anyone who wants to get the benefits of FaaS needs to use a cloud service provider to implement FaaS.
  • Developers under the FaaS paradigm are just concerned with writing functions and are unconcerned with infrastructure and service-related computation.
  • After these functions are called, the cloud provider will start the server, and when the Function is completed, the server will shut down.
  • When the Function is invoked, these servers become available on-demand and remain unavailable until the Function completes. As a result, cloud service subscribers will save money.

What is the Serverless Architecture of FaaS?

FaaS is a subset of serverless architecture, a much bigger idea. With the migration of a huge number of workloads to the cloud, cloud providers must increasingly supply backend services like as

  • Configuration of the load balancer
  • Management of clusters
  • Among other things, the operating system must be capable of supporting the workload

These are referred to as BaaS. (Backend as a Service). FaaS and BaaS are two types of serverless architecture. Many BaaS solution providers, for example, include data validation procedures in databases, which an application might employ at its backend to authenticate with the database. Consider the situation in which a new record is added to the database. A small function can be added to the application container using FaaS, and it will be invoked whenever a new record is added to the database. FaaS is more dependable and inexpensive due to its serverless architecture. It encourages the usage of API gateways to translate HTTP queries to those functions and the trend of implementing things like services.

Use Cases of FaaS

  • Functionality on-demand

One of the most effective use cases for FaaS is the ability to deliver “on-demand” capabilities. Any infrastructure can be powered down using the “on-demand” functionality, decreasing expenses and bills.

  • Built-in Quality

These cloud provider servers’ availability, security, and maintenance-related activities are favorable; otherwise, human administration is required.

  • Developer Logistics Made Simple

The development team appreciates the Faas service since it simplifies application development and makes providing updates to users a pleasure. When server architecture is optimized, software developers and teams can focus on what they do best, resulting in faster development, updates, and client responses.

Benefits of FaaS

  • Costs

Most of the time, you only pay for the services you use. Unlike suppliers who employ a server allocation strategy, you do not have to pay in advance for a specific amount of bandwidth.

  • Scalability

FaaS solutions allow apps to scale up or down automatically according to the number of users or consumers.

  • Simplified Code

With FaaS, you may upload a single function at a time or your entire application at once. FaaS allows you to write backend code for independent functions in the same way as microservices.

  • Reduced Latency

FaaS providers may be able to operate applications closer to end-users, lowering the need for requests to traverse long distances to an origin server.

  • Faster Time to Market

FaaS facilitates iterative development by allowing you to get apps up and running faster and make changes more quickly.

How Do I Start Using FaaS

  • Amazon introduced AWS Lambda in 2014. It has been one of their most essential services since then. It is a convenient way to get to several AWS’ monitoring tools. Lambda supports native code in Java, Go, PowerShell, Node.js, C#, Python, and Ruby.
  • Microsoft launched Azure Functions a few years after Lambda. It has made significant progress since then. Functions can be written in C#, JavaScript/Typescript, F#, Java, PowerShell, PHP, and Python. Workflows, which give services a limited sense of state, are also supported by Azure.
  • Cloud Functions are available on the Google Cloud Platform. Google Functions supports Javascript, Python, Ruby, Java,.NET, Go, and PHP. Plugins can enhance the event model supported by functions.

Examples of FaaS

  • ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) methods are ideal for FaaS. Data retrieval, processing, and storage in a database (or any other store) work well as a function that may be triggered remotely or on a schedule.
  • FaaS allows you to process jobs in parallel using many functions as your store can handle and then stop paying for the functions once they are completed.

Best Practices for FaaS

There are a few best practices you can follow to make FaaS deployment and use more accessible and more effective:

  • Use as Few Libraries

Using too many libraries might cause functions to slow down and become difficult to scale.

  • Each Function Performs Only One Action

FaaS functions should be designed to perform a specific task in response to a specified event. Limit your code’s scope, make it efficient, and keep it small so that functions can load and run quickly.

  • Do not Make Functions Call Each Other

What makes FaaS so beneficial is the isolation of functions. Many functions will increase your costs and reduce the usefulness of function isolation.

Drawbacks of FaaS

  • Less System Control

Having a third party control part of the infrastructure makes it challenging to comprehend the entire system and complicates monitoring.

  • More Complexity is Required for Testing

Integrating FaaS code into a local testing environment can be tricky, making complete testing of an application more complex.

  • Cold Starts

The execution of a function can sometimes be delayed by a few seconds, which might be troublesome for particular applications.

Conclusion

FaaS is a great platform to utilize if you want to migrate apps to the cloud rapidly and cheaply. FaaS is comparable to any other workflow in that it caters to a particular set of needs and fits into unique circumstances.

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