AWS Lambda for different applications
Updated: Feb 13
In following on from our last blog about AWS Lambda good for business, important to note that serverless may not be suitable for all of your IT functions. Here we now look at a working example of how Lambda is being put to use in the real world. First, lets break down the benefits of Lambda with points about Lambda and what it can do, we will discuss the 3 following points and explain how they are being used in our example.
1. Event-driven computing model
2. No Under-utilised server capacity
So what does it mean that AWS Lambda is 'event driven'? In a nutshell, it means that the Lambda function only executes when it is triggered to do so. In a regular microservice technology, the server is always awake and running, waiting to be called by an event, but in the case of Lambda, it is asleep until it has to act. This saves much computing power because the server is not always in a responsive mode.
Underutilised Server Capacity
This brings us to our next benefit of costly the problem of under-utilised server capacity. Because Lambda only activates upon request, if your application is only used for a gross total of 5 hours per day lets say, your server is only running for 5 hours as opposed to running for 24 hours in the case of a regular in-house microserver. And did I mention that is also good for the environment? Serverless technology can decrease your carbon footprint, how? When companies move to the cloud, they typically reduce the number of in-house servers that run 24/7, and this significantly reduces their power consumption.
It's worth noting too that Amazon has invested a lot in renewable energies, so when using Lambda, you are supporting the shift to renewable's. In 2017 they exceeded their goal of using 50% renewable energy, how did they do this? Through the installation of rooftop solar feeding into their servers. AWS have a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage globally.
Why must something be scalable? Because businesses grow. If your app or program is limited, then your business will have to find a newer program once it reaches its capacity. If the program is scalable, it has the ability to raise the ceiling so to speak.
Lambda has inbuilt scalability or responsiveness. Lambda will scale even if it is set to a limit. Scaling occurs dynamically in response to the slightest increase in traffic. The way Lambda handles increases in traffic at any given time is by instantly increasing your concurrently executing functions by a predetermined amount. And example of how well Lambda scales is seen in its use by a company named iRobot a leading global consumer robot company, designs and builds robots that empower people to do more both inside and outside the home. iRobot created the home-cleaning robot category with the introduction of its Roomba Vacuuming Robot in 2002.
In 2015 they introduced the iRobot HOME App to allow users to control their Roomba vacuum remotely which result in large volumes of traffic. Prior to this, iRobot had operated primarily as a hardware vendor and now they were taking a gamble on moving to a cloud application.
The gamble that paid off. Today, iRobot reports that connected Roomba vacuums operate in more than 60 countries, with total sales of connected robots projected to reach more than 2 million by the end of 2017.
To run the web applications that connect to the new Wi-Fi-connected Roomba vacuums, iRobot is using about a number of AWS services with Lambda and the AWS IoT platform at its core. AWS IoT, can process trillions of messages between billions of devices and AWS or other endpoints and provides the connectivity layer between the robots and the iRobot cloud platform. Lambda runs code that powers the iRobot cloud application.
“Running on an AWS serverless architecture lets us focus on code and customers rather than operations,” says Kehoe. “The AWS serverless architecture and the ease of use of the AWS services inside it free up developer time to produce business value.” Source AWS Case Studies - iRobot
In conclusion, as a serverless technology, we would highly recommend Lambda as a good choice if you are looking to eliminate IT costs and even reduce your carbon footprint because that's good for business. If you would like a confidential, free discussion with our chief architect about Lambda or any other serverless technology, feel free to get in touch and find out how Lambda may be used in your organisation.