Serverless computing wars: AWS Lambdas vs Azure Functions

4 min read

In recent times, local servers and on-premises computers are counted as old school. Users and organisations have shifted their focus on Cloud to store, manage, and process data. Cloud computing has evolved in ways that DevOps teams can now focus on improving code and processes rather than focusing on provisioning, scaling, and maintaining servers.

This means we have now entered the Serverless era, and the big players of this era are AWS Lambda and Azure Functions. So if you are a developer now you need not worry about low-level infrastructure decision.

Coming to the bigger question. What is Serverless Computing / Function-as-a-Service?

Serverless Computing / Function-as-a-Service

FaaS can be described as a concept of serverless computing where applications depend on third party services to manage server-side logics. This means application developers can concentrate on building their applications rather than thinking about servers. So if you want to build any type of application or backend service, just go about with it as everything required to run and scale your application is already being handled for you.

Following are popular platforms that support Faas.

Benefits of Serverless Computing

Serverless applications and architectures are gaining momentum and are increasingly being used by companies of all sizes. Serverless technology rapidly reduces production time and minimizes your costs, while you still have the freedom to customize your code, without hindering functionalities.

For good reason, the serverless-based software takes care of many of the problems developers face when running systems and servers such as fault-tolerance, centralized logging, horizontal scalability, and deployments, to name a few. Additionally, the serverless pay-per-invocation model can result in drastic cost savings.

Since AWS Lambda and Azure Functions are the most popular and widely used serverless computing platforms, we will discuss these services further.

AWS Lambda

AWS is recognized as one of the largest market leaders for cloud computing. One of the recent services within the AWS umbrella that has gained a lot of traction is AWS Lambda. It is the part of Amazon Web Services that lets you run your code without provisioning or managing servers. AWS Lambda is a compute service that enables you to deploy applications and back-end services that operate with zero upfront cost and requires no system administration.

Although seemingly simple and easy to use, Lambda is a highly effective and scalable compute service that provides developers with a powerful platform to design and develop serverless event-driven systems and applications.

Pros:

  • Supports automatic scaling
  • Support unlimited number of functions
  • Takes 1 million requests for free, then charges $0.20/1 million invocations, plus $0.00001667/GB per sec

Cons:

  • Limited concurrent executions (1000 executions per account)
  • Supports lesser languages in comparison to Azure ( JavaScript, Java, C#, and Python)

Azure Functions

Microsoft provides a solution you can use to easily run small segments of code in the Cloud: Azure Functions. It provides solutions for processing data, integrating systems, and building simple APIs and microservices.

Azure Functions help you easily run small pieces of code in cloud without worrying about a whole application or the infrastructure to run it. With Azure functions, you can use triggers to execute your code and bindings to simplify the input and output of your code.

Pros:

  • Supports unlimiter concurrent executions
  • Supports C#, JavaScript, F#, Python, Batch, PHP, PowerShell
  • Supports unlimited number of functions
  • Takes 1 million requests for free, then charges $0.20/1 million invocations, plus $0.000016/GB per sec

Cons:

  • Manual scaling (App Service Plan)

Conclusion

When compared with the traditional Client-server approach, serverless architecture saves a lot effort and proves to cost effective for many organisations, no matter its size. The most important aspect of choosing the right platform is understanding which platform benefits your organisation the best.

AWS Lambda has been around for a while with infinite support to Linux-based platforms but Azure Functions is not behind in supporting Windows-based suite even after entering the serveless market recently. If you are going to adopt AWS you will be to make the most of its; availability to open source integration, pay-as-you-go model, and high performance computing environment. Azure, on the other hand is easier to use as it’s a Windows platform. It also supports a precise pricing model where they charge by the minute and it has extended support for MacOS and Linux.

So if you are looking for a clear winner here you shouldn’t be surprised that AWS and Azure are similar in many ways and it would be a tie if it was to choose who is better or worse than the other. This battle would always be heated and experts will be placing their bets on who wins the race.

In the end, the entire discussion would drill down to what your business needs. After all the mission would always be to grow your business at a marginal cost.

Read Next

The Lambda programming model

How to Run Code in the Cloud with AWS Lambda

Download Microsoft Azure serverless computing e-book for free

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