In 2014, AWS Lambda introduced serverless architecture. Since then, many other cloud providers have developed serverless options. Today, container-based, fully-managed players also share this space with the serverless cloud providers.
What’s behind this rapid growth? Serverless is extremely useful for an increasing number of applications including cloud job automation, serving IoT devices from edge to the cloud, building backend for single page applications (SPA) and image compression.
According to a recent survey, 82 percent in 2018 compared to 45 in 2017 are using serverless at work, suggesting that serverless is definitely here to stay.
As with any new technology, there are also challenges and barriers that are impacting mainstream adoption. Taking a deeper look at both the benefits and challenges of serverless can help network operators decide if it’s right for them and if the potential benefits outweigh the concerns related to network visibility and complexity.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Serverless Architecture
Conversely, with serverless, all of the infrastructure control is in the hands of the cloud provider. This results in operational challenges and network visibility blind spots. Compared to the simplicity of containers, virtual machine (VM) or bare-metal architectures, serverless also complicates the network organization and security controls.
Barriers to Mainstream Adoption
Adoption of serverless is growing due to its inherent benefits, but it has not yet become fully mainstream because of some of its limitations
As we previously discussed, adoption of serverless is growing due to its inherent benefits, but it has not yet become fully mainstream because of some of its limitations. Network operators must understand these barriers and vulnerabilities if they plan on reaping the benefits while maintaining a safe and secure serverless solution:
Function Runtime Restrictions
In the few years since its introduction, serverless runtime restrictions have emerged, slowing down the process of building or migrating new or existing applications. This is due to the fact that, in order to create new or adjust existing workflows in a serverless environment, significant warm-up time is needed for each individual change across each function hosted in the complex cloud network.
Self-Regulated Application Organization
For self-regulated applications or microservices, migrating to serverless comes with its own set of challenges. They typically use different types of managed or as-a-service databases to store data across requests; deploying caches like Redis or object storage like S3. With these applications and microservices hosted amongst a variety of different caches, network visibility declines and complexity increases.
Although the burden of patching and maintaining infrastructures is relieved by implementing cloud-hosted serverless functions, the constantly shifting nature of each individual serverless function makes it extremely difficult for developers to establish controls around sensitive data that is always on the move.
These network and visibility challenges not only slow down and complicate operations, they also introduce a number of significant security concerns.
Serverless Security Concerns and Considerations
The main difference between traditional architectures and serverless is that functions rely heavily on non-web, event-based communications and networking channels. Running on public clouds, these event-based communications and channels challenge the implementation of comprehensive security controls that can detect threats and enforce network policies effectively. For serverless functions, new security tools that understand microservices, scale horizontally, and coexist in the existing security stack are required to monitor and scale these new, complex environments.
Before making the decision to go serverless, operations and developers should understand their current network security policies including:
■ Unification around secret consumption
■ Service-to-service authentication and authorization between first and third parties
■ Function workflows and access whitelisting
■ Security network monitoring
■ Access policies to the network and access policies to data
Function-based, serverless workloads are constantly evolving, making them harder to exploit, but it is still important to have a strong pulse on the current state of your network security before moving towards a more fluid and complex computing solution.
Is your Network Ready for Serverless Adoption?
Still in relative infancy, the adoption of serverless architecture continues to grow as companies realize its benefits. Given the limitations outlined in this blog, how do you know if you are ready to implement a serverless framework in your network?
Before jumping head first into serverless, operation teams must understand the visibility blind spots, operational challenges, and potential security threats these complex solutions introduce. Simultaneously, cloud providers must continue to innovate and improve their standards, operations and security measures before serverless adoption will occur seamlessly on community-driven frameworks built on Kubernetes.
If you weigh the pros and cons and end up deciding the current potential benefits for going serverless outweigh the potential risks, understanding the capabilities and challenges associated with each platform provider is key to adopting a solution that works for your complex architecture.
Digital Experience Monitoring is a tool that should be integrated with an organization's change management strategy. A key benefit of SaaS/cloud is no longer being responsible for software and hardware upgrades, maintenance, and patch cycles. Migrating to Microsoft Office 365 means no longer spending precious time and resources on Windows, Exchange or SharePoint upgrades for example. But that doesn't mean that IT can ignore changes or doesn't need to monitor for their effects ...
As systems become more complex and IT loses direct control of infrastructure (hello cloud), it becomes both more difficult and more important to capture and observe, holistically, the user experience. SaaS or cloud apps like Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, and Workday have become mission-critical to most businesses and therefore need to be examined when it comes to experience monitoring ...
Newly distributed operations teams are struggling to cope with the sudden change to the WFH (work from home) concept. IT operations teams were traditionally set up to work from centralized locations, unlike software and engineering teams. Some organizations have overcome that by implementing AIOps solutions; others are using a brute force method of employing more IT operations analysts to keep the distributed NOCs going ...
Enterprises that halted their cloud migration journey during the current global pandemic are two and a half times more likely than those that continued their move to the cloud to have experienced IT outages that negatively impacted their SLAs, according to Virtana's latest survey report The Current State of Hybrid Cloud and IT ...
Every business has the responsibility to do their part against climate change by reducing their carbon footprint while increasing sustainability and efficiency. Harnessing optimization of IT infrastructure is one method companies can use to reduce carbon footprint, improve sustainability and increase business efficiency, while also keeping costs down ...
While the adoption of continuous integration (CI) is on the rise, software engineering teams are unable to take a zero-tolerance approach to software failures, costing enterprise organizations billions annually, according to a quantitative study conducted by Undo and a Cambridge Judge Business School MBA project ...
I've had the opportunity to work with a number of organizations embarking on their AIOps journey. I always advise them to start by evaluating their needs and the possibilities AIOps can bring to them through five different levels of AIOps maturity. This is a strategic approach that allows enterprises to achieve complete automation for long-term success ...
Sumo Logic recently commissioned an independent market research study to understand the industry momentum behind continuous intelligence — and the necessity for digital organizations to embrace a cloud-native, real-time continuous intelligence platform to support the speed and agility of business for faster decision-making, optimizing security, driving new innovation and delivering world-class customer experiences. Some of the key findings include ...
When it comes to viruses, it's typically those of the computer/digital variety that IT is concerned about. But with the ongoing pandemic, IT operations teams are on the hook to maintain business functions in the midst of rapid and massive change. One of the biggest challenges for businesses is the shift to remote work at scale. Ensuring that they can continue to provide products and services — and satisfy their customers — against this backdrop is challenging for many ...