Serverless Computing or Containers: Choosing the Right Solution for your Workloads

Serverless computing and Containers offer some of the latest technologies for application deployment and abstraction. Often, these technologies are pitted against each other but rather than thinking of them as competitors, a more sound approach would be to think of them as technologies that can complement each other and live together in the same ecosystem. Both offer feature-sets and capabilities that can be ideal in different situations depending on the needs of the workload or application or even the teams implementing them.

The right tool for the right job

Use cases for either of these technologies are different and trying to shoe-horn any of these solutions into a toolset that they are not the best option for, can pose problems. Containers offer an effective stopgap solution between on-premise hosting and fully cloud-based abstraction. They offer an ideal platform to host older applications that need to be modernized and run in more flexible environments, ensuring that the application will run without significant additional development and refactoring. On the other hand, serverless computing, which offers greater scalability and advanced cloud-native capabilities, only truly works with applications that have been refactored to be cloud-native.

The choice between Containers and Serverless computing also very much depends on the team implementing the solution. If a team is solely experienced in deploying monolithic applications on-premises, they can lose a massive amount of productivity if asked to start doing things completely differently. While Serverless computing offers a plethora of great features, such as event-driven processing and “infinite” scalability, a team not experienced in deploying stateless function-based apps will find a Serverless implementation quite challenging.

For workloads that can adapt to being super stateless, Serverless offers a compelling choice. Breaking down applications and workloads into their smallest components so that development can focus on microservices is the ideal way to go so that iterative development on them does not have to deal with the entire monolithic application – something one may have to do when working with a more traditional app-stack.

A question of compatibility

A challenge you may face when choosing between the technologies is that the tool sets and ecosystems that surround them are fairly different. Monitoring, alerting, error-tracing and many other processes are handled completely differently between the solutions. Troubleshooting problems and managing the aforementioned processes on containers and container orchestration in EKS stacks require tools made for those ecosystems. On the other hand, in a Serverless deployment that runs on AWS, you will be utilizing tooling and services tailored for it and resources that AWS provides. Hence, knowing how to answer these compatibility and support questions is vital when looking for a solution that best fits your needs and capabilities.

Onica’s teams possess expertise across both Serverless computing and container deployment. Working with a technology partner such as Onica can help you determine and implement the right solution or mix of solutions for your application deployment. If you are interested in modernizing your applications and are looking to utilize either of these technologies, get in touch with our team today!

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