If you are a large business running servers & applications managed by an IT department with a team of developers, this information is for you. Your business model can be greatly improved by making a few simple tweaks to how you manage your IT infrastructure.
In 2014 Amazon Web Services (AWS) came out with Lambda. It's a technology that was quickly adopted by many global companies because of factors that improve the profitability of business by reducing the burdening costs of managing IT infrastructure in-house. If you haven't looked into Lambda as a solution for your IT yet, perhaps its time to consider it.
How Lambda dramatically reduces IT costs
Firstly, Lambda gets you to market fast. It can turn 200 lines of code into 4! What would typically take your team months, can be developed and deployed within minutes. And its ongoing running costs are far lower than running traditional servers because it only processes what it needs at the time it needs it.
Serverless architectures expand and contract on demand, thereby cutting server costs by more than half.
When you embark on the 'serverless architecture' journey, what you are gaining is the opportunity for your IT team to focus more on your applications and less on your infrastructure.
When your infrastructure goes serverless, this frees up your developers time so they can focus more on on maintaining and even building better software.
It's important to note however that serverless may not be suitable for all of your IT functions. We wrote a blog some time back about microservers and serverless technologies for different applications. You can visit our blog article to find out which applications are suitable for each type service.
Let's break down the benefits of Lambda:
1. Event-driven computing model
2. No Underutilised 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 conventional 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. Therefore, the amount of server space required is much less and the cost is greatly reduced.
Underutilised Server Capacity
A common problem that eats into company profits is the purchasing of computing power that you simply do not need. Would you buy a semi-trailer to move your washing machine? No. Yet companies all over the world buy the semi-trailer to transport the washing machine. Even with virtualisation, companies are using somewhere between 20 to 50 percent of in-house server capacity and they are still required to pay for the unused portion. How does Lambda solve this common problem? By only charging for what you use. AWS even offer a Free Tier which is a monthly allotment of 1 million free requests and up to 3.2 million seconds of compute time per month. As your usage increases, you can move up to a Tier that suits your computing needs.
Good for the environment
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. This is great for the environment and you can decrease your carbon footprint. 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 renewables. 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. Amazon has a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage globally.
Lambda has inbuilt scalability and will scale even when 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. An 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 resulted in large volumes of traffic. Before 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 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 from AWS Case Studies - iRobot
In conclusion, as a serverless technology, we would highly recommend Lambda as a great choice if you are looking to eliminate IT costs and even reduce your carbon footprint. 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 to find out how to implement Lambda into your organisation. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org And if you are already experiencing the benefits of Lambda, tell us what application you are making with it and how it is going for you in the comments below.