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  • Writer's pictureNisha Sashidharan, Head of Marketing

Scalability, Speed, and Savings: Serverless Computing in Prominent Corporations

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital entertainment, wherein millions of viewers eagerly anticipate the latest ‘Star Wars — The Mandalorian' episode on Disney Plus, issues such as buffering can undermine user experiences. While adept backend engineers can preemptively forecast traffic surges, the true challenge lies in addressing unanticipated spikes in demand, such as the occurrence when cricket star Virat Kohli takes the pitch during an India v. Pakistan match, resulting in an instantaneous doubling of concurrent viewers.

Adopting Serverless Computing has become an essential strategy for top companies. The scalability, speed, and cost savings it offers have made it an attractive choice for organizations dealing with unpredictable workloads and the need for agility. This blog post highlights several real-world use cases of Serverless Computing, highlighting how it empowers businesses to optimize resources and enhance user experiences. Read on!


Instances Warranting the Adoption of Serverless Architectures

Substantial Cost-Efficiency: Like the "pay-as-you-go" model of mobile phone plans, Serverless Computing ensures that developers are billed solely for the computational resources they consume. Functions within the system are activated only when required by the application, and the code dynamically scales, with provisioning occurring at intervals as precise as 100 milliseconds.

Dual-Dimensional Scalability: Serverless architectures are inherently designed to scale horizontally across multiple geographic regions and vertically in response to unexpected load spikes. In the event of a function being triggered by an event, the platform's infrastructure seamlessly provisions and manages the execution of said function across multiple computing nodes, followed by automatic termination.

Swift Time-to-Market: Conventionally, configuring the backend has been a cumbersome and time-consuming process that often obstructed deployment timelines, as developers had to make comprehensive adjustments to the entire application. With Serverless Computing, developers can upload code entirely or in modular segments. The specifics of "when" and "how much" are managed by the platform vendors since the application is no longer monolithic.

Prominent Enterprises Embrace Serverless Computing

In a world where idle computational capacity is akin to leaving the television on with no viewers, businesses are increasingly turning to Serverless Computing. Even enterprises with substantial computational resources at their disposal recognize that operational and maintenance costs associated with traditional, centralized systems can quickly erode their financial resources. The following real-world use cases demonstrate the pivotal role of Serverless Computing in resolving these challenges and optimizing resource utilization.

On-the-Fly Video Content Transcoding at Netflix: Netflix, with 238.39 million subscribers in 190 countries, streams 6.1 billion hours of content every month. To ensure the uninterrupted viewing experience of users, Netflix heavily relies on AWS Lambda for dynamic video transcoding. As a user initiates their streaming session (accompanied by the familiar "Ta-Dum" sound), Lambda functions swiftly transcode the source video into the desired format, resolution, and bitrate. These functions are event-triggered, dynamically adapting to fluctuations in demand and scaling without the need for managing a fleet of monolithic systems. Beyond offering precise control over video quality and delivery, this architecture guarantees optimal streaming across diverse devices and network conditions.

Real-Time Design Collaboration at Adobe Figma: Managing a cloud-based collaboration platform with millions of active clients and projects, all without requiring local installations necessitates an elastic infrastructure that can provide a responsive experience. Serverless Computing effectively addresses this by managing unpredictable workloads, enabling designers to concentrate on collaboration instead of file management. When multiple users collaborate on a design, the system is tasked with synchronizing changes, rendering previews, and managing user interactions. Like Netflix, event-triggered functions respond to user actions, executing necessary computations, verifying permissions, and broadcasting updates to all collaborators.

Coca-Cola's Smart Vending Machines: Coca-Cola's market presence spans the globe through crates, pallets, and vending machines. The logic behind the operation is straightforward: when a customer purchases a beverage, the vending machine initiates a payment gateway transaction, followed by the triggering of an AWS gateway that, in turn, activates a Lambda function. This Lambda function manages the business logic associated with the transaction. Additionally, Serverless architecture supports the processing of sales transaction data and historical patterns, with costs incurred only for the actual computational resources utilized. This agility enables Coca-Cola to promptly adapt to shifting market conditions, leading to more precise demand forecasting, reduced inventory management costs, and enhanced product availability.

Ensuring Optimal Pricing at Airbnb: Airbnb utilizes Lambda functions to process user requests when searching for accommodations. These functions are responsible for querying the database, filtering search results, and calculating pricing and availability. Nathan Blecharczyk, CTO of Airbnb, emphasizes the advantages of scaling up server resources without the constraints of minimum usage commitments. Furthermore, Serverless architecture bolsters security by enabling Airbnb to execute functions within isolated environments, mitigating the risk of data breaches, and facilitating integration with other AWS services to enhance overall functionality.

Modernizing Finance with Real-Time Fraud Detection at Capital One: Capital One's foremost application of Serverless Computing lies in its robust fraud detection system. Within milliseconds from transaction initiation, functions commence data retrieval from diverse sources and employ machine learning models to evaluate the transaction for potential fraudulent activity. This assessment relies on historical data, behavioral anomalies, and other factors. In the event of a flagged transaction, an alert is promptly dispatched to the relevant security team, or automated processes are initiated to safeguard the customer's account. This event-driven architecture empowers Capital One to respond to potential fraud in real time, exemplifying how Serverless Computing can deliver agility and enhance security within the financial sector.

Monolithic Architectures: Not Extinct, but Evolving

It is worth noting that "Serverless Computing" is somewhat of a misnomer. Furthermore, the belief that monolithic architectures have become obsolete must be more accurate. Instead of dismissing them entirely, the focus should shift towards a thorough evaluation of an enterprise's unique constraints, enabling the identification of a hybrid Serverless solution that aligns with best practices and security considerations.

In conclusion, Serverless Computing has become a powerful tool for organizations seeking to meet the ever-evolving demands of the digital landscape. Its ability to scale, its speed of deployment, and its cost-saving features make it an asset for companies looking to thrive in an increasingly competitive and dynamic environment. As technology advances, Serverless Computing will play an even more prominent role in shaping the future of digital innovation and service delivery. In the next blog post from the series, we will discuss the best practices and patterns while designing serverless applications. Stay tuned!


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