December 13, 2022

Why the 'serverless cloud' isn't actually serverless

In serverless computing, functions and data from a website, app or device are processed using cloud-based technology. The term "serverless" is a little misleading because it implies that these computing processes don't use any servers. Physical servers are still needed, but they are located off-site.

Cloud servers are virtual, which means that they deliver computing capacity via the internet. These cloud computing platforms allow remote user access, making them a highly flexible and accessible solution for companies in East Africa.

Data centres for serverless clouds

Cloud providers use servers located on server farms or in data centres. These form the backbone of their cloud platforms. When individuals or companies subscribe to a cloud service provider, they have access to a vast global network of data centres.

These data centres are highly secure and efficient thanks to automated systems, third-party audits and regular security and compliance checks. They are even used by heavily regulated organisations due to the security and computing power that they offer to millions of active users.

What are the features of a serverless cloud?

What attributes define a serverless cloud if it does, in fact, have a server attached to it? Most agree that these systems have some key features:

  1. Scalability - It's possible to scale up and down continuously without the need to reprogram or reformat. Burstable capacity opens up new possibilities for businesses. It gives companies the peace of mind that their servers can handle spikes in traffic without crashing. Clients can easily upgrade the size of their cloud services, normally with a few clicks. Equally so, it's easy to downgrade and reduce spending when the resources are no longer needed.
  2. Flexible pricing - Cloud service providers generally operate on a pay-per-use model. As requirements change, companies pay more or less depending on what they need. Pay-per-use and flexible month-to-month contracts appeal to agile organisations.
  3. Self-maintaining systems - Since the server and computing power is provided for by the cloud service provider, users do not need to maintain or upgrade their own systems. On-premises servers can be costly and cannot be scaled up or down very quickly. Should something go wrong, the cost to fix an on-premises server is also high. Companies need in-house expertise or must pay call-out fees for a technician to attend to any issues. With serverless clouds, the cloud provider manages all maintenance and upgrades on your behalf.
  4. Improved performance with serverless clouds -The final key feature of serverless technology is its reliability. Reputable cloud service providers backup their services through clearly defined service level agreements (SLAs). Guaranteeing minimum levels of uptime and availability appeals to businesses that want to ensure their networks are always up and running. Since all security and faults are dealt with by the cloud service provider, companies can enjoy a robust system with high levels of cyber security.

Focus on the front-end with a serverless cloud

With serverless computing, developers can focus on the front-end of a website or application without worrying about the related back-end functions. Serverless clouds will still require back-end or full-stack developers. The cloud provider will give them the base to operate, however, the developer will be responsible for creating the back-end functionality. So in essence, a serverless cloud takes away the "admin" of creating an environment for a developer to work in.

Consumers and users interact with and see the front-end. Data files, computing power and security features are all part of the back-end. IT teams and developers are freed up when the server is taken out of the equation. The back-end functions are managed by the cloud service provider, who makes sure they are monitored, maintained and regularly upgraded.

In spite of the fact that serverless clouds are not truly "serverless," they are undoubtedly easier to use, less expensive to deploy and maintain and deliver a high return on investment. For more information or to get a quote for our cloud solutions, email us at or leave us a message.

SEACOM owns Africa’s largest network of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, including fibre optic networks and subsea cables. We offer a wide range of industry-leading scalable ICT solutions for large companies that operate throughout the region.

SEACOM is privately owned - making it adaptable to the needs of the client. We are the preferred ICT and internet connectivity supplier for African enterprises. We can guarantee fast, reliable and secure internet and networking services at affordable prices.

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