Glossary
Edge Serverless Computing

Edge Serverless Computing

The convergence of serverless and edge computing has led to a new revolution in the tech sphere known as Edge Serverless. This combination of architectures has promised to deliver both the on-demand function execution of serverless computing, and the low latency benefits of edge computing.

Will this potent mix of efficiency and speed dawn a brand new era, or is it just another cheap gimmick? This article aims to explore the nuances of Edge Serverless, its pros and cons, along with its real world applications. 

Today, this technology is being widely adopted across e-commerce, gaming, and SaaS. 

What is Edge Serverless?

Edge Serverless is considered a revolution - it’s a movement that’s a result of raising dynamic traffic, but what exactly is it?

Edge Serverless allows computations to occur right at the edge nodes of a Content Delivery Network (CDN). The execution of functions close to the end users results in reduced latency, making it an ideal choice for real-time applications. 

With this capability at edge, you can write cloud functions of APIs, aggregate the responses, and consolidate your learnings by developing edge function applications and bring dynamic traffic content closer to the end-users. 

As it bridges the gap between serverless and edge computing, Edge Serverless is addressing the challenge of achieving efficiency and speed simultaneously. 

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Pros and Cons of Edge Serverless

Thanks to its hybrid nature, Edge Serverless offers an impressive set of benefits. For starters, it combines the scalable and cost-effective traits of serverless with the real-time and low-latency characteristics of edge computing. 

However, just like any technology, it cannot be considered perfect. Here’s why:

Pros Cons
Reduced Latency: Executing functions closer to the data source allows it to minimize latency, resulting in a near-instant processing time. Cold Start Latency: Despite it mitigating network latency, Edge Serverless suffers from a slight delay while starting up a function for the first time.
High Scalability: Due to serverless parentage, this tech scales automatically based on the workload. Limited assigned CPU and memory resources.
Pay-per-use model: It charges only for the resources used. Limited access to the source of data (e.g. DBs)

Examples of Use Cases Using Edge Serverless?

Let’s start by seeing Edge Serverless at work in specialized A/B Testing:

A user navigates to your website. They’re here to explore, learn, and perhaps make a purchase. In an effort to optimize their experience, your team has been developing two different web page designs.

But which one will be more engaging and effective for your user base? That’s where A/B testing comes in, and Edge Serverless plays an important role in this process:

  1. The user’s request, instead of traveling to a far-off datacenter, reaches the geographically closest edge node. The data travel distance is slashed, leading to significantly faster processing times. 
  2. At this nearest edge node, an edge function springs into action. Instead of merely initiating a process, this function serves a more intricate role. 
  3. The edge function is designed to randomly assign the user to either version A or version B of the webpage. It’s a division of your user base - half of your visitors will interact with one version, the other half with the other. 
  4. Thanks to the proximity of the edge node, the chosen version of the webpage is delivered almost instantaneously to the user. It’s a seamless experience for them, and behind the scenes, Edge Serverless is doing the heavy lifting.
  5. As the users interact with the versions of the webpage, the edge function is also busy collecting data about their behavior, engagement, and eventual outcomes - say, making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. 
  6. As all of this occurs, the beauty of Edge Serverless’s pay-per-use  model becomes evident. You’re only incurring costs as functions execute, keeping your expenses tightly controlled while gathering invaluable data for your optimization efforts.

Now, with the data gathered and processed at the edge nodes, your team can evaluate the results of the A/B test. Which version of the webpage was more successful in engaging users and encouraging the desired outcome? You have the data-driven insights to answer this question. 

Conclusion

In essence, it’s safe to say that Edge Serverless isn’t just another buzzword. It’s a potent mix of efficiency, scalability, and low latency. As this technology continues to evolve, it might well be the path to a faster, more efficient digital world. 

Published on:
December 28, 2023
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