How do Serverless (Cloud) Applications work?
When a cloud application is offered as a solution to a business, it’s often presented as a hands-off solution, in which the customer will not need to put in a lot of effort to get up and running. While this is fairly accurate, understanding what you’re purchasing will always be beneficial, especially in terms of what issues could arise while using the cloud, and how it works as a whole.
Cloud Applications and What They Are
There are many things to call a serverless application; for instance, you may often see the terms Cloud Application, Cloud Hosted, Software as a Service (SaaS), and Cloud Service used interchangeably, and for good reason. To define it further, you can think of the “Cloud” as servers that are rented or leased out from a provider, such as Expedient, Amazon, or many others. These servers will then “Host” the application, or “Service”. The finished product is a server that holds an application, that’s located at a secure facility with hundreds, thousands, or millions of other servers.
Connectivity & Security
Many people understand one way to connect to the cloud, “If I have an internet connection, I can connect to the cloud and go to my applications”. However, depending on how the connectivity is built out you may find that it’s locked down to where you’ll need to be in the physical building of the company and connected to the company internet before being able to access the cloud. This all comes down to the use-case of the applications that are going to be hosted in the cloud and the acceptable business risk. On either occasion, when a cloud application is built out, only the necessary methods for communication and data transmission will be opened, and a stable internet connection will be required to connect.
There are a couple of considerations that revolve around the cloud that consumers and businesses should know. The first thing to note is that there IS a hardware cost related to the cloud. With the servers being hosted by another company, there must be a charge applied to the services provided that will cover the cost of running the servers and allow the host to properly maintain the hardware. That being said, as you’re only renting or leasing the server, this will allow you to have a significantly lower initial cost, as there won’t be any high priced hardware to purchase upfront. The second consideration when thinking about a cloud solution is really important for anticipating growth. Cloud applications will allow the company to more easily and readily scale up (and sometimes down) to meet business needs. This is due to the clusters of servers that the host will have that can spare dedicated resources and grow the strength of the application.
The cloud can be, and in a lot of places is, considered an extension of the company’s network. Many companies will use the cloud to some degree (Office 365 is a key part of many businesses these days), and many others have reached out for custom cloud accessible software to assist in running their business, all without needing to bring out the big bucks for a shiny new server that sits away in the corner and collects dust. If you have any question about cloud applications, feel free to contact SandStorm IT at 901-475-0275.