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5 Little-Known Factors That Could Affect Your Serverless Application Model

August 27, 2018 No Comments

Featured article by Catherine Hernandez, Independent Technology Author

Bugs 300x199 5 Little Known Factors That Could Affect Your Serverless Application Model

Have you ever considered delegating the ins and outs of handling an app’s server to a third-party? Serverless architecture is the new craze – it allows you to build your applications while someone else manages the server. Check out this guide to see exactly what goes into a successful serverless application model.

Ever wonder how people design apps so fast? Why the competition always beats you to market?

There’s an obvious answer that most people overlook: those companies don’t bother with servers.

No servers, you say? Correct.

Third-party servers streamline the app development process. Your business won’t need to host, maintain, or scale app servers. Instead, companies like Amazon offer off-site servers.

These off-site servers save your business time and money. There is no upkeep cost, no maintenance time, and you can quickly bring your app to market. So why doesn’t everyone use a serverless application model?

That’s what we’re here to discuss. We’ve come up with five little-known factors that could affect your serverless application model. Let’s get started.


Price is the main reason people choose a serverless application model. Off-site servers, on the whole, cost less than hosting your own servers. Any money saved is money you can reinvest into your application.

However, most new users don’t understand how serverless pricing works. Think of the serverless application model as a “pay-as-you-go” phone model. You’re only responsible for paying the “minutes” that you use.

Minutes refer to used memory, processed code requests, and the code execution. Each metric scales right along with your server load. Your business is only paying for its exact server load.

…And Unpredictable Pricing

Serverless application models mean lower prices. As mentioned above, you’re only paying for the server space that you’re using.

Everyone wants lower costs. Low costs decrease your overhead and increase your ROI.

But while serverless application models promise lower costs, they don’t always lend themselves to stable pricing. Unless you’re Facebook, Twitter, or some other extremely large, established app, your traffic numbers will change.

Chances are good you’ll see traffic spikes. Maybe your app starts off strong and levels off. Maybe your app starts off slow and quickly gets popular.

You won’t know until you bring the app to market. You can’t properly budget for a serverless model without knowing your traffic numbers.

There Are Limits

The serverless application model comes with very specific limits. The limits prevent companies from abusing their server load. For example, let’s look at Amazon’s limits:

- The code execution timeout is 5 minutes
- You must set a concurrent execution limit
- Memory volume must vary between 128 MB and 15236 MB
- Deployment packages are limited to 50 MB
- Request bodies max out at 128 KB

App designers need to understand these limits before going serverless. Third-party’s won’t make exceptions. You can’t use a serverless application model if you can’t fit within the guidelines.

Cold Starts

Think of your car in cold weather. Everything takes longer to start and “warm up.” But once your car’s been running, you don’t need the same warm-up time. Application cold starts work the same way.

Your FaaS platform has to initialize a function before each event. Normally, this happens instantly, but a serverless model causes latency.

Let’s use AWS Lambda as an example.

Cold starts involve creating a new container and initializing the function host process. However, warm starts reuse a previous event’s host container. The more events you process, the less cold starts you’ll have.

If you’re not processing many events, it’s important to take latency time into account. Which is why we recommend a free serverless monitoring tool to help with.

Debugging Your Serverless Application Model

Serverless application models take extra work to debug. You need to compensate for lack of server control, as well as focus on limiting bandwidth usage. Bringing a serverless app to market takes extra time and money.

Debugging is easiest with a free serverless monitoring tool. These systems can save companies 26 percent on monthly AWS bills, and also save 5 work days per month.

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