Serverless Data Pipelines - Yay or Nay?




Wissen Team


July 2, 2024

Cloud computing has revolutionized the way digital experiences are created and managed by businesses or public entities. From basic web portals to the entire digital infrastructure of a mega city, the magnitude of data handled on the cloud is very dynamic today. Traditional data management approaches may not always be the preferred choice to handle such dynamics.

When the cloud works on the fundamentals of on-demand service, then the best partner for data management would be serverless data pipelines.

What are Serverless Data Pipelines?

In simple terms, it is the management of data by a data service offered in the cloud. The infrastructure needed to store, retrieve, implement compute processing, etc. on data is automatically provisioned by a cloud provider. Enterprises do not have to build the data infrastructure needed to support data operations. Such a setting allows you to host all your data sources in one place without siloes. It helps in bringing processed data to whichever service needs it while at the same time, providing access to stored data when needed.

Should you be Opting for Serverless Data Pipelines?

Answering this question directly is difficult as businesses in different domains or scales may have unique data needs. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but it is important to understand the benefits and disadvantages of serverless data pipelines. Making a final decision should consider all aspects and evaluate returns. Let us explore this in detail.

The Upsides


One of the prime benefits of using serverless data pipelines is the simplicity with which a data infrastructure is made available. Contrary to the traditional approach of having to build every component from scratch, all it takes is a few clicks on a cloud vendor’s dashboard. Your business's data infrastructure will be up and running without the need for even a single line of code.

Adding data sources to the pipeline is more of a plug-and-play operation. In short, technical complexity is at a minimum, and ease of use becomes a huge advantage. Developers and data analysts can collaborate on initiatives easily with easy data accessibility, delivery, and governance.


As with the generic nature of cloud computing, serverless data pipelines enjoy the power of scalability on demand. Businesses do not have to worry about migrating their data from one system to another as transactional volume increases. Their data infrastructure scales to accommodate the rise of workloads.

Such a mechanism provides an unlimited scope of growth for data capabilities. As we navigate the digital realm more, this ability can surely be a contributing factor to business competence in the long run.

Configuration and Control

We have already seen how serverless data pipelines simplify data operations. Adding to this is the ability to focus on more important computing tasks rather than being worried about configurations. Provisioning of data resources can be automated and intelligently managed depending on the workloads handled. This eliminates the need to have a large workforce for just data management alone.

The cloud vendor will maintain your data infrastructure at the most optimal level to suit your workloads. Automated provisioning of storage, computing power, archiving, backup and recovery, data updating, etc. makes life so easy for employees as well. Every data channel can be orchestrated from a single location to supply insights to different business systems on a demand basis.

Cost Effectiveness

With a serverless data pipeline, there is a considerable reduction in manpower needed to manage operations. For growing businesses, this is an opportunity to hire staff that are needed for their core operations rather than technology maintenance. Additionally, such a cloud-based data infrastructure doesn’t involve heavy upfront capital expenditure.

Businesses have the opportunity to leverage such services at scales that their business evolves. They only pay for what is being used rather than investing upfront in anticipated growth volume.

The Downsides

As we mentioned earlier, serverless data pipelines are not a one-size-fits-all solution to modern data challenges. They have their share of challenges as well. Some of the most concerning challenges are

Vendor Lock-in

Without a strategic implementation, there is a chance for a business to be locked into using only a single vendor’s offerings for all data needs. They may have compatibility issues with tools from other providers thereby forcing a dependence on technology that may not be the best in the market for a particular task.

Running longer processes

Serverless data pipelines are a lifeline in most cases. But when an application with a predictable workload needs to be run for a longer period, then serverless may not be the right fit. Since the workload is minimal and predictable, traditional servers are the only requirement you need. Bringing serverless into the picture will invite a host of complexities for the overall data infrastructure. Furthermore, when more requests are made by other systems for resources, there may be a need for more granular control over the data playing field. 

Limited Infrastructure Control

The business does not have a say in how the cloud vendor builds their data pipeline infrastructure. Specifications for servers, networks, management systems, etc. are often decided by the vendor with the business only having access to the service. However, businesses can enter into agreements that mandate operational reliability irrespective of the underlying infrastructure elements used.

Resource Limitations

While most vendors offer unlimited growth options for their data infrastructure, there are chances that some form of fair usage policies will be implemented to prevent costly failures. For example, there may be a limit set for the number of resources to be provisioned for a designated category of digital workload. The vendor does so to provide a stable environment for all their customers. However, at times such a restriction may affect the ability of your business to perform at its best when transactions are at extreme levels. An example of such an event could be extravagant shopping events like Black Friday sales for an eCommerce website.

The Final Verdict

The benefits of a serverless data pipeline outweigh the slight disadvantages that may arise over time. However, businesses cannot afford to ignore the downside as their ability to compete may become compromised at a crucial time because of any disadvantage. This is where the need for strategic evaluation, selection, and implementation of serverless data pipelines becomes a key factor.

Your business needs an experienced partner like Wissen to ensure that investments in technology like serverless data pipelines are made for the right choice. Get in touch with us to know more.