Serverless Edge Computing: The What, Whys, and How




Wissen Team


May 28, 2024

The past few years have witnessed serverless and edge computing dominating most technological discussions. The rise of 5G, the wide adoption of microservices, and the increasing demand for elevated user experiences are some reasons driving serverless and edge adoption.

Serverless computing allows developers to use services from vendors on a need basis. They can rent a function and auto-scale without worrying about the infrastructure.

Edge computing performs computations at the network edge where the data originates. It enables deeper insights, better user experiences, and improved response times and unlocks the potential of data generated by IoT devices.

Both these technologies give enterprises the velocity to meet user needs at speed and drive competitiveness by allowing enterprises to leverage market opportunities faster.

Serverless edge computing combines the benefits that serverless and edge computing individually bring to the table and delivers greater value to the enterprise.

What Is Serverless Edge Computing?

Serverless edge computing marks the infrastructural evolution of cloud serverless. In this, the computing resources that deliver serverless functions are located closer to the end user, i.e., the edge.

Serverless doesn't do away with the servers but instead abstracts them from the application development process. This allows developers to build apps comfortably without worrying about the underlying servers.

The proximity to the end user allows serverless edge computing to operate more devices over a LAN's bandwidth. This decreases congestion and lowers latency.

Serverless edge computing enables local storage to collect and protect raw data. The local servers responsibly pre-process and reduce the data load. It also allows enterprises to make decisions before the results are sent to the cloud or the central data center.

How Does Serverless Edge Computing Work?

Next-gen applications now demand a meshed network of servers in near-real time to work optimally and deliver enhanced performance. This needs a completely different architecture than what currently powers the cloud.

Serverless edge computing solves latency and performance gap challenges for use cases cost-effectively. It brings computing directly to the location where it is needed and close to the end user. It further brings movement and scale to computing, eliminating the need for data to reside in a centralized server.

The edge complements this and allows modern-day applications powered by AI, IoT, and 5G to be liberated from the common computing challenges of latency and bandwidth that emerge due to distance.

In this form of computing, the compute nodes are located close to where the action happens. The movement of data then becomes seamless and eliminates data congestion. It delivers information at the precise moment when it is needed.

Serverless edge computing delivers a smart infrastructure that knows what to do when an event takes place. It identifies what needs to be delegated and provisions the same at the software level. Developers can then focus on things that matter, such as building and scaling apps.

Serverless edge computing employs an architecture that allows devices to complete tasks more quickly and efficiently. It assigns a dedicated micro server and infrastructure to each device and thereby allows it to perform complex tasks without having to send data back to a central location for processing.

Why Serverless Edge Computing - The Benefits

Serverless edge computing has become a revolutionary evolution of cloud computing due to some of its features and characteristics. These are:

  • Serverless architecture is composed of multiple functions that can run independently of each other and allow communication between functions using service APIs
  • Greater fault tolerance at runtime owing to a lightweight design
  • Stateless functional instances
  • Elastic with auto-scaling capabilities and optimization for low latency, eliminating performance hiccups when employing cloud services
  • No requirement for any software installed on any device, and can work with an internet connection and a working browser.
  • Unconstrained by the limitations of physical or virtual server structures, the compute scales immediately and is always available

It also frees developers from the task of managing the infrastructure and complex virtual machine deployments using tools that are mainly designed for data center implementations.

Given these features, some of the clear benefits that Serverless Edge Computing brings can be highlighted as follows:

Faster and Smoother Deployments

Serverless edge gives developers the capacity to release faster since they do not need to worry about heavy backend configurations. Instead of using one heavy stack, serverless employs a group of functions provided by a particular vendor, thereby providing the capacity to move faster during releases.

The microservices architecture makes it easier to update specific functionalities and/or features without having to fix and update the whole application.

High Availability and Optimized Response Times

Serverless edge computing optimizes response times. It makes data instantly available and enhances performance along with response times by allowing data processing close to the end user.

Since serverless edge computing uses data centers close to the end user, it lowers the risk of network outages in a remote location. To that end, it allows applications to keep processes running even during connectivity outages and increases confidence in ensuring the functionality of critical use cases.

Enhanced Security and Privacy

Serverless edge computing also enhances the security posture. In this environment, there is less back-and-forth movement of critical and sensitive information to the cloud.

The distributed processing, storage, and use of applications across devices and data centers improve security and also make it harder to disrupt the network.

Greater Scalability  

Scaling up or down becomes faster and more convenient with Serverless Edge Computing. There are no worries about managing infrastructure during these events since this is handled by the cloud provider.

Scalability makes it easier to adapt and adopt business models according to market demands and increases responsiveness toward changing market and consumer demands.

Final Word

We are witnessing how edge computing services are leveraging technologies that were developed for Serverless - stateless, pay-per-use, event-driven, and distributed mindset. This is a paradigm shift that serverless triggered, positioning itself as an enabler of edge computing.

As we move deeper into an application and software-driven world, technologies such as serverless edge computing will become essential to the enterprise technology toolkit to help them develop greater responsiveness in managing customer and market demands.

This article was first published here.