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What are the benefits of serverless computing?

At the recent Gartner Symposium, analyst Arun Chandrasekaran highlighted the benefits of serverless computing and delineated the factors driving enterprise interest in serverless.

Serverless computing is one of the hottest trends in the IaaS and PaaS space -- and it can also act as a bridge...

between the two, according to Gartner analyst Arun Chandrasekaran.

"Serverless is this idea where, with a magical wave of a wand, we make infrastructure provisioning, infrastructure operations and management completely invisible to the consumer," Chandrasekaran said at the recent Gartner Symposium 2018 in Orlando, Fla.

In this Ask the Expert, Chandrasekaran explains the factors driving interest in serverless computing, including enterprise developers becoming more influential in their organizations. He also explains the potential cost benefits of serverless computing, as well as its ability to boost developer productivity and increase scalability.

Editor's note: The following transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

What is driving the interest in serverless computing today? What are some of the benefits of serverless computing?

One of the clear benefits [of serverless computing] that organizations are going to see is around developer productivity.
Arun Chandrasekarananalyst, Gartner

Arun Chandrasekaran: In my opinion, there are two key reinforcing trends that are driving interest in serverless today. First is the fact that developers are becoming increasingly influential and powerful within the enterprise. We all know one thing, which is that developers do not want to deal with infrastructure. The fact that developers are becoming influential also means that a lot of innovation from cloud providers and from software vendors is really moving toward the software space. In the last five to 10 years, the real innovation in the compute space is happening in software, where the software makes the underlying infrastructure automated and invisible from the consumer of the service.

One of the clear benefits [of serverless computing] that organizations are going to see is around developer productivity. What developers should be doing is writing code. Developers should not be spending time managing and operating infrastructure. A lot of our surveys that we conduct with developers tell us that developers are spending anywhere from 30% to 40% of their time with infrastructure issues or in many cases are waiting for infrastructure to be provisioned. You could solve a lot of those issues with serverless.

Serverless also changes the paradigm in terms of how we think about scalability. Scalability becomes a function of software code or it becomes a function of application design rather than underlying infrastructure constructs. If you're deploying serverless in a public cloud environment, you could get unlimited scalability from an infrastructure standpoint, where the limitation often is your application design rather than the underlying infrastructure.

There are clearly cost savings to be had by using serverless. In a serverless environment your infrastructure is only provisioned for the duration in which your application is running, audio function is running and audio software code is running. Once your application code has finished executing, the infrastructure resources are automatically deprovisioned, which means that, in many cases, you're rightsizing your infrastructure just in time when your application code is running. Once the application code has finished running, you're not paying for those infrastructure resources anymore, which is pretty significant from a cost-saving standpoint.

Read more about the benefits of serverless computing here.

This was last published in December 2018

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What are some of the drawbacks of deploying serverless computing?
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