By: Shilpi
August 30 2019

Outlining the Benefits of On-Premise Serverless Architecture

illustartion image showing on a white plastic containers on a white and brown rack to portray serverless architecture


Serverless is the new tech industry jargon. Cloud-based services such as Lambda, Google Cloud, Azure Functions strikes-in as soon as we hear the term serverless architecture. The introduction of AWS lambda in 2014 took the industry by storm with its cost-efficient cloud-based application deployment. Even though most of the serverless frameworks run in the cloud. It is also possible to perform the on-premise deployment of the serverless.  

Why there is a need to deploy serverless on-premise? Are there any special considerations to be made for the on-prem serverless deployment? Let’s dig deep and explore all the burgeoning on-premise serverless questions.  

What is Serverless? 

Serverless computing can be defined as an application deployment architecture that allows developers to write code and execute it on-demand. From a developers viewpoint, serverless provides the possibility to deploy application code, without having to set up and run a server to host the code, eventually saving a lot of time.

There has been a quite of babbling around for the deployment of serverless platforms either on-premise or on traditional virtualized infrastructure. To understand this, what’s and how’s of both the deployment architectures is imperative. 

Taking On-Premise and Cloud-Based Serverless into Consideration

In a cloud-based serverless application, code is deployed on a cloud-based serverless environment and ran inside that environment whenever it is triggered with the events ( HTTP requests to Github ) depending on the cloud provider support. This is the reason why serverless is often described as function-as-a-service or FaaS. Also, it reduces the cost with a pay-as-you-use feature. 

However, in the case of an on-premise serverless application, code is deployed on a local server or infrastructure running in a self-owned data center. The code is executed on-demand in response to the external events or triggers. Different forms of on-premises serverless are available from different companies including many open-source options. 

On-Premise Serverless Architecture Benefits

The ability to execute an application code on-demand without needing to manage the server is the one benefit of cloud-based serverless computing. But, numerous other benefits of serverless can be acquired from the on-premise application deployment. Below are listed the on-premise serverless advantages.

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#1 Ensuring No Vendor Lock-In  

In a cloud-based serverless architecture, vendor lock-in or proprietary lock-in occurs as the application is completely dependent on a third-party provider for products or services. Whether the lock-in is due to some technical dependencies or directly forced by the vendor, it can’t be undone. The cost for deployment also varies as per the complexity and individuality of an application. 

When it comes to on-premise deployment, as the workload runs locally the risk of vendor lock-in gets reduced. 

#2 Enhanced Infrastructure Efficiency

Speaking of running a lot of functions that are not supposed to run at the same time, in an on-premise serverless environment, all these functions are hosted on a single server offering more efficient use of the infrastructure. 

It is way far better than having a single dedicated physical server to run each application and constantly running the server even if the application it hosts is active only for some time.

#3 Reduced Security Risks

A cloud-based solution is not the best idea when addressing sensitive data. In the cloud, the service providers do the distribution of software to different customers on the same physical server. Even though the workloads are isolated, any security issues in the adjoining application code may create a negative impact on the availability of the application or code performance.  

On-premise serverless reduces such security risks and ensures data safety by running the workload on a local server. 

#4 Simplified

Working on a complex and huge software heap gets streamlined with an on-premise serverless framework. Once the serverless environment is set up and function deployment is done, any of the functions can be triggered in response to the external events with the help of a generic serverless interface. The on-premise serverless framework takes care of the generic framework, eliminating a lot of complexity by separating the functions from the events that trigger them.

#5 Overhead Cost Cut

On the outlook of running a workload throughout, a dedicated local server is way much favorable in terms of cost than performing long tasks on different services present in a cloud-based serverless architecture.

#6 Harness Distinct Hardware Features 

Unlike cloud-based serverless environments, the on-premise serverless architecture allows full control to access the special hardware features like offloading computation, GPU, etc. 

Frameworks Essential for the On-premise Serverless Implementation

One of the primary goals of the serverless frameworks is to provide a platform-agnostic experience to its users or developers. Not all serverless frameworks are for the cloud, some of them can also be deployed on-premise. The names are listed below:

  • Kubeless: Conceived by Bitnami, Kubeless is a Kubernetes-native serverless framework that allows the deployment of small bits of code without having to worry about the channelizing of the underlying infrastructure. It uses the Kubernetes resources to offer auto-scaling, API routing, monitoring, troubleshooting, etc. 
     
  • Fission: Fission is the fast serverless framework for Kubernetes that channelizes developers towards productivity and high performance. It comes with a built-in Live-reload and Record-replay capabilities which simplifies testing and accelerates feedback loops. The automated canary deployments in Fission minimize the risk of failed releases. When integrated with Prometheus, it enables automated monitoring, alerts and substantial cost and performance optimization.
     
  • Fn Project: Developed by Oracle, the Fn Project is a container-native serverless framework that facilitates organizations to run Fn either on-premise or in the cloud. The easy-to-use and efficient serverless framework supports multiple programming languages and is open-source.
     
  • Apache OpenWhisk: Apache OpenWhisk is an open-source, distributed serverless platform that is based out of an Apache Incubator project. It is an event-based programming service that can be used locally to create a serverless infrastructure. The backend services from the serverless remove many operational complexities such as fault tolerance, load balancing, and auto-scaling for the developers. This assists developers to focus on the code while the execution is taken care of by the serverless framework. 
     
  • Knative: Initiated by Google with more than 50 contributors from the companies across the globe, Knative is a Kubernetes-based platform facilitating build, deploy, and management of modern serverless workloads. The open-source serverless framework that allows the development and deployment of container-based serverless applications. It is one of the best choices for organizations interested in deploying serverless functions on internal Kubernetes clusters.
     
  • Iron Functions: The Iron Functions is a Functions-as-a-Service (FaaS) platform that can be run anywhere ( private, public, and hybrid clouds ). The easy-to-use and easy-to-manage serverless framework has a single system to manage and monitor. There is no need to scale each application independently. Scaling is done by simply adding each more Iron node to an already existing function.

For a comprehensive list of tools that can help in deploying serverless architecture, read here.

Final Note

Serverless architecture is promising for application deployment, saving a lot of time and money for the process. When it comes to the serverless architecture consideration, the cloud-based serverless is the most hyped alternative. Depending on the industry-type, functions, workloads, and many other factors, on-premise platforms have a great deal of potential which makes them worthy to be considered.

Cloud is not the limit. Reap cost, security, and enhanced efficiency benefits by choosing an on-premises serverless deployment. 
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