Did you know that according to CB Insights, the serverless market is expected to reach from approximately $1.88B in 2016 to $7.72B by 2021, at a compound annual growth rate of 33%? Serverless computing can no longer be called the future of cloud-native, as we are already living in the future. Serverless Adoption is racing fast at a pace where it seems like it has passed the introduction phase of the product life cycle a long time back. It is no longer unknown that serverless interest is largely driven by cloud providers. More than 95% of the market is dominated by AWS Lambda, Microsoft Azure Functions and Google Cloud Functions while the rest is shared between the other existing players such as IBM Cloud Functions.
Similar to any other technological advancement, serverless adoption has unique benefits such as ease of scaling, reduced operating costs, increased productivity and decreased time to market, along with downsides such as vendor lock-in, lack of control, multitenancy as sharing resources with others can affect performance and limited runtime capabilities. Hence, serverless technology is mostly used in applications with shorter run-time code, unpredictable and variable workloads, and instances that are often stateless and event-driven. Ease of scaling supports independent and rapid scaling of microservices, enabling fast and real-time processing for stream and edge processing trends, empowering batch processing and enabling IT automation as serverless functions are event-driven.
Serverless adoption can also be barricaded due to issues arising in the overall transition of large monolithic systems to a microservices architecture, monitoring/alerting, security, storage. This is further proven by O’reilly’s Serverless Survey 2019 that pinpoints Integration testing/ debugging, observability, security and lack of useful tools as the biggest challenges your organization may face after adopting serverless. Similarly these are the very reasons refraining certain organizations from adopting serverless.
However, surprisingly these problems derive key areas that are ideal for investment due to various reasons.
Going serverless does not mean one can get all services from large cloud providers. This expansion of technology also requires multiple external tools focusing on monitoring and tracking. And most of these services are provided by companies that are identified as leading startups such as, SLAppForge – Sigma Dashboard, Thundra, Dashbird, Lumigo etc. These companies have supported the serverless operations with monitoring and alerting, debugging tools, CPU profiling, cost analysis, and function tracing. Hence, Serverless observability and monitoring tools can easily turn out to be an interesting investment area in serverless.
Given the benefits of adopting serverless, the application security risk is becoming a concern due to the growing attack surface, increasing dependencies and lack of attention to best practices, along with the hardships in monitoring and alerting. Existing security startups are being acquired by large market players, as each of these products focuses on specific areas such as function testing, runtime firewalls, library vulnerability detection, and function permission evaluation, under development and production departments of an organization. I.e.: PURESEC, intrinsic, synk, Protego etc.
However, based on the acquisition and interest of large players towards startups focusing on serverless security, it is evident that the market is looking at end-to-end solutions rather than single serverless security point solutions.
There are hosted and installable platforms representing the complete serverless infrastructure. As already mentioned, the hosted platform market is dominated by AWS, Azure, GCP etc., while startups come in to play with extensions for these large cloud providers. However, they at times fail to succeed as the large providers focus on vendor lock-in techniques. At the same time, there are new products being developed to create multi-cloud serverless management platforms and multi-cloud serverless integrated development platforms (IDE) such as Sigma IDE with drag-n-drop composition, code completion, one-click deployment, VCS integration and Live Debugging.
Be it serverless or any other technology, it is firstly adopted for the technical value; whereas the ultimate objective is the business value which goes mainstream. Serverless technology was successful in showing off its business value slightly earlier than others. As far as a business is concerned, the dual purpose of adopting serverless technology is of great worth in an ever-evolving environment. If your interest is in technology, all you need to know is that it’s changing and growing every passing second – which demands you to be a part of the newest in order to adopt the latest. And currently serverless is killing it!