Function as a Service

What is Function as a Service?

Function as a service or FaaS is a serverless backend service that lets developers write and execute modular pieces of code in response to certain events. This is not only an easy way to scale the code, but also for implementing microservices.

Function as a service simplifies cloud computing service by allowing customers to run code without the hassle of managing the complicated infrastructure involved in developing and deploying microservices applications.

This is because with FaaS, virtual machine operating systems, physical hardware, and web server software management are handled automatically by the cloud service provider.

Advantages of FaaS

While function as a service is a recent development in the majority of the portfolios of cloud services providers, its flexibility and support for microservices-based software architecture have led to its widespread acceptance.

Increased Focus on the Code

Function as a service simplifies server division by breaking it into functions that can be scaled automatically and independently, eliminating the need for infrastructure management.

This helps developers to focus more on the app code and writing of application logic, leading to faster deploys.

Pay-as-You-Go Resource Usage

With FaaS, all activities halt after an action is completed. This ensures that no more codes are being executed and that the servers are not remaining idle. This makes FaaS cost-effective, as you will have to pay for the developed functionalities or resources only when you use them.

FaaS is especially beneficial for scheduled tasks and dynamic workloads, while also offering a better total cost of ownership for high-load situations.

Automatically Scale Up or Down

The code of function as a service is inherently scalable, which means that the functions can scale automatically and independently when needed, without relying on integration with large platforms. Similarly, FaaS scales down automatically when there is a drop in demand.

Thus, it frees the developers of the responsibility of building contingencies for heavy use or traffic as the serverless provider will handle it all.

Access the Full Advantages of Robust Cloud Infrastructure

By being available across multiple zones within each geographic region, function as a service ensures high availability.

Additionally, it can be deployed across any number of regions without incurring additional costs.

Drawbacks of FaaS

Function as a service comes with its own set of drawbacks that you must consider before including its functionality in software development projects.

Reduced Control of the System

With FaaS, a third party will be managing a part of your infrastructure, thus making it difficult to understand the whole system. This also makes debugging more challenging.

Added Complexity to Testing

Local testing environments struggle to fully accommodate FaaS functionalities. This limitation can impede thorough application testing, specifically when it comes to assessing performance and integration capabilities.

Unpredictable Costs

With the pay-per-use model of the function as a service, it becomes challenging to predict long-term costs and incorporate them into your budgets.

Vendor Lock-in and Integration Issues

Considering that function as a service is a new technology, it is not universally available with all the cloud service providers. This means that once you have used this function from one provider, you will not be able to easily shift to another provider without careful software testing.

Also, it lacks solutions to issues like keeping track of functions and remote debugging. This makes it difficult to integrate into the existing continuous integration/continuous delivery pipelines.

FaaS Principles and Best Practices

To make it more effective and easier to use and deploy function as a service, the best practices that you must follow are:

Single Action Principle for Functions

Design your function as a service in a manner that it does only a single piece of work in response to an event. This limited scope of the code ensures efficient and lightweight functions, resulting in quicker loading and execution.

Avoid Function Chaining

Function as a service derives its value in isolation. Having multiple functions negates the benefits of isolation and increases the costs.

Restrict Library Usage in Functions

Avoid using multiple libraries in your function as a service. This approach prevents function slowdowns while preserving scalability and ease of management.