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Serverless vs server-based architecture

Serverless architecture

Serverless architecture means that an application is not tied to a specific server. It is a cloud-based computing model where the cloud service provider manages all underlying infrastructure and determines which server the application should run on. As a company, you do not need to manage servers yourselves, and developers can focus entirely on writing and deploying code, concentrating on the functions and services their applications should perform.

With a serverless application, you only pay for what is running, for example, when a request is sent – not for the server itself. If there are no requests, the application can be shut down, meaning you only pay for the actual computing time.

Advantages and disadvantages of serverless

What most developers aim for with serverless is scalability. You can configure your application so that as demand increases, resources increase as well. Only imagination (and budget) sets the limits. Moreover, it can be a cost-effective way to manage your applications since you only pay for actual usage.

Users may hesitate to invest in serverless primarily because they don’t have direct control over the infrastructure. Another disadvantage can be that if the workload suddenly becomes very high, costs will increase accordingly.

Server-based architecture

In traditional server-based architecture, you are responsible for preparing, scaling, and managing servers and infrastructure where your applications run. The application is hosted on a specific server, either physical or virtual, and this is what you pay for. Therefore, the price does not vary depending on processed requests but remains a fixed cost for accessing server resources. This may result in underutilized resources and can also affect scalability since you are limited to the specific servers you rent or own.

Advantages and disadvantages of server-based architecture

Since you manage the server yourself, you have full control over the infrastructure and can customize, fine-tune, and optimize as you wish. Performance and availability are also considered consistent and predictable, depending on whether you rent the servers or own them. However, if the servers are located with you, their availability is also your responsibility, for example in the event of a power outage. The cost, on the other hand, is predictable as it always remains at the same level.

Disadvantages of server-based architecture include that more work is required in terms of installing, configuring, managing, and maintaining servers, among other tasks. When you own the server, space is limited, necessitating another server to scale and handle higher volumes.

Which option is preferable?

When choosing the best architecture for your business, it's essential to consider several factors and your specific needs.

Serverless architecture is generally suitable for applications with varying workloads and for companies looking to reduce operating costs by paying only for actual usage. Additionally, it's a good option for smaller companies with limited resources that want to focus on developing code rather than managing infrastructure.

Server-based architecture is often better suited for applications with stable and predictable workloads, where there's a need for control over infrastructure and/or performance. This is especially true for applications requiring a high degree of customization, fine-tuning, and optimization of server resources.

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