Posted on March 31, 2022
Estimated reading time 4 minutes
What is serverless?
There is some confusion around Serverless because the term is not a completely accurate description of the technology. As with all cloud computing, the server still exists in a data centre somewhere, but your IT becomes serverless in the sense that management of servers can be ticked off the to-do list of your in-house team. Unlike other cloud computing models such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), you are completely liberated from administration associated with servers, storage, networking, virtualisation, and OS. Your cloud service provider handles it all for you. This means that the full focus of your IT team can be directed to the applications that make your business operate, grow, and thrive.
Serverless is the ultimate definition of ‘pay as you go’ when it comes to cloud computing. Though other cloud models do offer the flexibility to decide how much you want to provision, allowing you to come closer to your actual compute needs, you can still end up paying for unused resources by committing to a specified amount up front. With a Serverless model, the applications you’re running pull only on the resources they need, when they are using them, and that is exactly what you will pay for.
Not just for developers
Serverless is ideal for businesses with DevOps functions because it allows them to focus on development of business systems, software, and apps without getting bogged down in infrastructure administration and capacity planning.
But there are significant advantages for any kind of business in moving to a Serverless environment, as is exemplified in the case of one of our clients, a global recruitment firm with around 150 users, who sought our help with digital transformation. Through our Cloud Readiness Assessment – a thorough investigation of their environment – we helped them to identify that the best approach was to go entirely Serverless utilising the Microsoft365 stack and run every service the business needs through various Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings.
Here are some of the key outcomes we helped them achieve, which highlight common scenarios experienced by many of the businesses we work with:
1. Streamline IT administration
Our client had found that their IT team were spending excessive time administering their co-located datacentre environment – and this was one of the key drivers for moving to the cloud. A blended approach was considered, which would harness IaaS from Microsoft Azure complemented by SaaS solutions, but this would still require the IT team to manage the cloud infrastructure. Going serverless completely eliminated the admin burden so that the team could spend less time managing IT and more time finding ways to use it for the good of the business.
2. Increase staff productivity
One of the biggest challenges for our client was driving better performance of virtual desktops for their users. Shortcomings with speed and availability were hampering employee productivity and causing frustration. With the new serverless environment, all the apps and data workers need are accessed via SaaS, making them easily accessible over any network, on whatever device they are using.
As the project unfolded the business also decided to undertake a device refresh for many of its users. With personnel spread around the globe the IT team needed devices to arrive with users and be ready to go with minimal fuss. Atech proposed using Windows Autopilot, included in their Microsoft365 subscription, to set up the new devices. With permissions and privileges managed centrally, all the user needs to do is connect to a network and verify their credentials – and devices are ready to go in minutes, not days.
3. Improve security
With management of the environment removed, so too is the task of managing security of servers, infrastructure, and OS. The responsibility for monitoring, updates and patches lies with the cloud provider, who is generally better placed to keep on top of it all. The project we delivered for our client involved an upgrade to Microsoft365 from Office365 which also meant that they were able to benefit from the additional features in the platform. As an outcome of the project we delivered, they were able to significantly advance their security score beyond the industry average for the recruitment sector.
4. Business agility
When they approached us, our client was experiencing a period of rapid growth in their organisation. They needed infrastructure that would support the changes in the business, but the datacentre solution was falling short on the autonomy and agility they desired. Now, when IT needs to respond to business change, impact can be made almost instantly. User access can be flexed up and down, resources like storage can be consumed on the fly and new capabilities can be pushed out as soon as they are available.
5. Optimise costs
With the commercial cost of running on-premises IT, combined with the challenges already discussed, our client felt expense was disproportionate to the level of service being experienced. Moving to a Serverless environment meant that there would be no upfront costs and the business would shift much of its IT budget into operational expenditure (OpEx). What’s more, greater transparency and predictability of cost has enhanced the ability to budget and plan.
Guiding the path to Serverless
The organisation cited in this article had been considering a move to the cloud for some time, and imminent contract renewals provided the opportunity for them to make the move. But like many businesses, they needed guidance to help them identify what form that migration would take, and assistance in implementing it – which is why they got in touch with our cloud experts here at Atech.
Whether you’re reaching a similar crossroads, or you’d simply like to understand more about the benefits of a Serverless environment, our team are on hand to help. Get in touch for a commitment-free chat about how Atech can help with your modernisation.