Best practices for serverless computing

June 10, 2022
Best practices for serverless computing

Function as a Service (FaaS) is a subset of serverless computing. Its focus is mainly concentrated on event-driven triggers where code runs in response to requests or events. Reports and Data believes that Function as a Service (FaaS) will reach up to $53 billion by 2028. As the users of FaaS are increasing day by day, we must consider the best approach for execute the serverless solutions.

The basics of FaaS

FaaS don't have to worry about servers or other infrastructure management because they are allowed to write and deploy code.  FaaS solutions is not the same as PaaS (Platform as a Service)  solutions because the functions are totally stateless and event-driven. Developers using functions don't have to write a lot of code because there’s not too much to manage on their own. By duplicating the function to perform the same task for each request, they can quickly scale horizontally to meet demand. When a demand dropping happens, the functions automatically scale back down as they are no longer necessary.

FaaS succeeds on simple and repetitive functions without consistent workloads or continuously high volumes of requests. you can save a huge amount of resources and reduce lots of costs if you add a FaaS component to an existing architecture to manage event-driven functions.

If developers combine long-running servers with on-demand reactive functions, they can use the speed and swiftness of writing functions By doing this they increase the existing applications with serverless functionality.

Best technics for using FaaS

Its fast time to market can be a great advantage for developers because it provides an easy development and testing. They don't need to worry about things like capacity planning or ongoing maintenance, they can focus only on coding and development for the application. In other words: developers can do less work to run their applications. 

On the other hand, FaaS is a great solution, but it may not be the right choice for everyone. There are some important practices that developers must follow to get the best of it. You should make sure that each event triggers only one single function, that the functions are short-lived, and that they are stateless.

One event for one task

If you want FaaS solutions to stay simple and to work good, you must not forget that each event only triggers one function. For example, a function should be responsible for a singular task like getting a list of records from an external API or geolocating a request. Even though it is an option, you should better avoid having one function call another. You should keep your code short and light to optimize the performance of FaaS. By limiting the scope of each function, it's faster to start, it’s easier to , and it has a smaller attach surface. It also allows secrets needed by functions to be scoped to just the ones that need them and not to all of the functions.

Functions should be short-lived

There are usually timeouts for function executions and the amount of time differs based on your provider. It’s important for the functions to be short-lived because they’re intended to execute efficiently and then power down to open up more compute space.

Don't forget that functions are stateless

Stateless functions are easier. Their components are easy to implement and provide the predictability that makes is easier to test and deploy to production. If functions need lasting data, that data can be stored in a database so that it can be pulled again from the database when needed.

Test and configure

You should test your functions to find the needs of optimal memory/duration. Minimize dependencies and internalize dependencies outside of the entry point. It’s very important to test functions locally by using your favorite tools, , and test frameworks. If you write and test functions locally you will have a fast inner loop—a short edit, test, and debug cycle.

Secure your functions

Developers may be tempted to use a single permission model for every function, allowing functions access to components of the application not necessary for it to perform. You should consider giving each function permission to access only what is necessary. This way you will avoid major problems in the event of a breach.

Future-proof your setup

Creating your functions outside of an app will provide you to migrate easy and refactor a monolithic application quickly. Keep in mind that some architectures are a more natural fit for micro services than others, so if your application logic has various sequential steps that all depend on one another, abstracting each of them into individual micro services may not be the best choice.

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