Top 3 Challenges in Serverless Technology Adoption




Wissen Team


July 2, 2024

According to an O’Reilly survey, 40% of enterprises had adopted serverless technology by 2019. By their own admission, it was more than what they had expected. The respondents cited reduced operational costs and auto-scaling as the main reasons for adopting it. 

More recent analysis suggests that serverless adoption is accelerating as enterprises incline toward deploying containerized applications and leveraging sophisticated tech stacks made available by cloud vendors. For instance, in its 2022 State of Serverless Report, Datadog outlines that more than 50% of the enterprises using AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud have adopted serverless.

Much of this growth can be attributed to the fact that serverless infrastructure scales automatically in response to a spike in traffic and charges only for what’s used. It seems to work well for enterprises that could witness traffic spikes. Another reason is that it enables developers to focus on building applications rather than spending time on provisioning and managing servers. 

In a world that demands continuous innovation, serverless technologies allow enterprises to focus on meeting customer demands. They also do not have ties with specific technologies or programming languages. 

So, serverless technology is not bound in any way.

But here’s the thing. While serverless technologies have many benefits, they also present their share of challenges that may slow down enterprise adoption. After all, the aforementioned surveys (O'Reilly and Datadog) also indicate that many enterprises (~50%) are still figuring out how to go about realizing the aforementioned benefits. 

It's not as simple as it sounds. The roadblocks range from fear of lack of security to vendor lock-in. Here are the top three challenges of serverless technologies.

Top Three Challenges in Serverless Technology Adoption

Lack of tools

Surveys have repeatedly shown a lack of tooling as one of the major roadblocks to adopting serverless technology. Tools are critical to helping enterprises move from legacy, monolithic applications to modern ones. 

However, enterprises face challenges finding the right tool that can address all their business needs. Developers have to depend on external vendors for debugging and monitoring tools. Finding the right tool that seamlessly integrates with the CI/CD pipeline and guarantees safety is challenging. 

That’s why most enterprises prefer using custom tools to manage their serverless tasks. However, that also requires a deep understanding of serverless architecture and implementation. Such tools are also expensive to build. 

The overreliance on custom tools indicates an urgent need for standardized and easy tools to use. Few startups have already started building such tools and are bringing forth improvements in this direction. 

Debugging issues

Debugging serverless applications can be challenging as the systems are distributed. Identifying the root cause of a problem or replicating the environment can be difficult. Debugging a serverless code is another problem, as it’s hard to dig into the issues deeply.

The purpose of serverless technology is to give enterprises a competitive edge. But if the developers fail to identify the bug on time, they are likely to face trouble meeting customer needs. The only way to solve this problem is by monitoring the serverless applications and codes regularly. 

Enterprises must invest in the right monitoring tools to monitor the applications, run tests, and debug any coding issues that could emerge during the process.  

Lack of skills

Referring back to the O’Reilly’s survey, enterprises cite lack of skills as the topmost concern for adopting serverless technology. Serverless technologies are relatively new, and they are not as simple as they might seem. 

The acceleration in digital transformation further compounds the problem. As more enterprises become digital-first, getting the right talent has become difficult.

Fundamentally, serverless is a complex concept, and there are very few skilled people who understand it. There are also very few resources or formal training available to train the developers. 

Lack of knowledge and poor implementation increases the technical debt and proves expensive for the business. On that note, developer upskilling is non-negotiable for enterprises. They have to train the developers to facilitate successful implementation and monitoring. 

Enterprises need to support developers by sharing the latest resources, such as reports from industry leaders, and encouraging them to attend community events. They must be provided with case studies and documentation to support learning. And as technologies change, developers must take the initiative to upskill themselves continuously to keep pace. 

The Way Ahead

Serverless technologies will shape the future of innovative enterprises. Their market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.17% until 2026. But to successfully leverage the opportunities in this space, enterprises must overcome the aforementioned challenges and accelerate adoption. 

Here’s a rundown of the few solutions that enterprises can try:

  • Help developers get familiarized with serverless technology by replacing small components of legacy tools and systems. For example, replacing monolith applications with microservices-based applications or adding a serverless extension to monolith applications. This will help the employees get accustomed to using serverless technologies.
  • Use tools that are easier to adopt and do not require a steep learning curve.
  • Work with trusted technology partners who can build serverless capabilities that align with the business needs. 

As the demand for serverless technologies increases, enterprises must consider adopting them soon to manage the infrastructure efficiently, control expenditure, and focus on innovation. The earlier enterprises make a move, the better the chances of gaining a competitive advantage.