How to choose a cloud serverless platform

From AWS Lambda and Azure Functions to Knative and OpenFaaS, we have at least a dozen functions-as-a-service platforms to choose from. Here’s how to navigate the options.

How to choose a cloud serverless platform

Running a server farm in the cloud at full capacity 24/7 can be awfully expensive. What if you could turn off most of the capacity when it isn’t needed? Taking this idea to its logical conclusion, what if you could bring up your servers on-demand when they are needed, and only provide enough capacity to handle the load?

Enter serverless computing. Serverless computing is an execution model for the cloud in which a cloud provider dynamically allocates—and then charges the user for—only the compute resources and storage needed to execute a particular piece of code. 

In other words, serverless computing is on-demand, pay-as-you-go, back-end computing. When a request comes in to a serverless endpoint, the back end either reuses an existing “hot” endpoint that already contains the correct code, or allocates and customizes a resource from a pool, or instantiates and customizes a new endpoint. The infrastructure will typically run as many instances as needed to handle the incoming requests, and release any idle instances after a cooling-off period.

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