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The state of serverless computing: Current trends and future prospects

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Not one, not two, but four reports so far have shown serverless computing displaying an incredible growth rate, becoming one of the hottest cloud-related technologies. Here, we have a closer look at the 2018 State of the Cloud report by Cloudability and we engage in a short discussion on serverless’ future prospects.

Since the onset of 2018, three major reports have been released that take the pulse of cloud-related trends with all three coming to the same conclusion: serverless computing is becoming a huge deal!

To summarize what we have seen so far, I present to you the key findings from the three reports, namely the RightScale 2018 State of the Cloud report, Currents 2018 report, and Cloud Foundry 2018 report:

  • According to the RightScale 2018 State of the Cloud report, serverless computing is the number one growing cloud service with a growth rate of 75%.
  • Currents 2018 report asked the participants to rank the most beneficial aspects of serverless computing as well as the biggest challenges to its adoption. The reduction of costs related to the server provisioning was ranked the number one beneficial aspect, while the difficulty to monitor and debug was the biggest challenge.
  • The Cloud Foundry 2018 report showed that 46% of surveyed companies use serverless computing and that serverless technology is growing at a rapid pace.

Last but not least, we have the newly-released report on cloud-related technologies that is the State of the Cloud 2018 report by Cloudability which was published just a couple of days ago.

One of the key findings? You guessed it, serverless continues to display a phenomenal growth rate.

SEE ALSO: What do developer trends in the cloud look like?

But let’s dig into the most interesting findings in some more detail.

State of the Cloud 2018

This year’s State of the Cloud 2018 report analyzes data from over 1,500 organizations with over $2.5 billion spent in 2017. Its goal is to provide insight into cloud spending and usage patterns.

Diving into the most interesting results, we start with one of our favorite rankings: Kubernetes is the one to win the containers orchestration race, once again! Who’s surprised? Not me!

Consecutive reports depict the increasing dominance of Kubernetes among containers orchestration tools and the State of the Cloud 2018 report does not make an exception to the rule.

Interesting fact: According to the State of the Cloud 2018 report, as companies start to further explore and invest in machine learning capabilities, we witness high growth rates related to GPU-based instances that are expected to continue.

When it comes to database usage, MySQL seems to be the clear winner with more than 67% of the respondents putting their trust in the open source database.  PostgreSQL, however, seems to be trending up since last year.

Interesting fact: Open-source databases would be a good choice for companies with ae database type that is dependent on the application requirements, the report suggests.

And last but not least, let’s go back to our main topic: serveless computing!

The report under examination seems to agree with the findings presented in the introduction of this article that depict serverless computing becoming increasingly relevant.

More precisely, the State of the Cloud 2018 report shows a *very* impressive growth rate of serverless, picking up to 667 percent!

And while we are on the topic of serverless, I would like to open a discussion on the technology’s journey to massive adoption, revisiting some interesting statements by some distinguished experts.

It’s not as young as you think but it has a bright future

The concept behind serverless computing is not as new as you may think! Granted, serverless owes its widespread popularity to the Amazon’s launch of Lambda in 2014 which gave birth to a vast ecosystem of commercial and open source products and services. Nonetheless, the serverless concept was present back in 2008 with Google’s App Engine having elements of metered billing.

As for the term “serverless”, it is actually a misleading name since servers are *still* needed to execute functions. But I guess you know that already!

One of the most prominent advantages of serverless is its scalability. Serverless applications can scale pretty much infinitely and at a very low cost because customers pay only when the function is used, rather than for unused server time.

SEE ALSO: Cloud Foundry report: Severless computing and container technologies are in full swing

Another significant advantage is that developers are simply in love with it! And how can they not since it gives them the ability to do what they love doing the most, writing code, freeing them from the endless burden of infrastructure deployment.

But building applications on serverless platforms is not that simple. It requires developers to change significantly how to think about and handle tasks.

Serverless computation is going to fundamentally change not only the economics of what is back-end computing, but it’s going to be the core of the future of distributed computing.

Satya Nadella , Chief Executive Officer at Microsoft

And for reasons like this, the future of serverless adoption is painted in different colors from different points of view.

Rich Sharples, senior director of product management at Red Hat Inc appears to approach serverless adoption with a bit of skepticism:

I think few companies will go all-in on serverless; your general IT shop will have a mix.

Craig Lowery, a research director in the technology and service provider group at Gartner Inc., however, sees serverless future in brighter colors:

People don’t understand it, so they delegate it to a niche. Once they kicked those old expectations, they were able to realize the benefits.

What’s your take on serverless’ future adoption? Feeling more enthusiastic or rather skeptical? To me, the possibilities of serverless computing appear nearly endless and I am most definitely enthusiastic about what the future holds!


Eirini-Eleni Papadopoulou
Eirini-Eleni Papadopoulou was the editor for Coming from an academic background in East Asian Studies, she decided that it was time to go back to her high-school hobby that was computer science and she dived into the development world. Other hobbies include esports and League of Legends, although she never managed to escape elo hell (yet), and she is a guest writer/analyst for competitive LoL at TGH.

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