The Good and Bad of 'Serverless' Google Cloud Functions

By Kellen 

The new "serverless" age is upon us!... Or so they keep telling us. Are you building out microservice architecture? Trying to shave off some money from your hosting bill? If so, Google Cloud Functions might intrigue you!

"Serverless" Madness

Two weeks prior, we rolled out support for AWS Lambda. In the same vein, we now offer Google Cloud Functions. If you read that release, this might be a bit repetitive. If this is new to you, we'll start with a quick spoiler: there's still servers.

Despite not being as airy and ephemeral as the name implies, Google Cloud Functions provide some real benefit to those building de-coupled applications. Nothing like a list:

Microservices with GCP and GCF

Google Cloud Functions can be powerful. But, what's not so good?

Functional

Before going any further let's clearly explain what Google Cloud Functions are. They are stand-alone functions that exist as part of your infrastructure. Instead of building one monolithic entity where every function is baked into one block of code, GCFs allow you to prop up each function on its own. Do you have an intensive operation like upload, compression, or data interpretation? Create a function for that operation and invoke it only when needed.

Building out your infrastructure this way allows you to create clean "blocks"; you'll need a heavier client to accomplish this, though. Something like Angular or one of myriad JavaScript frameworks that plunk themselves onto the clients browser. It's an exciting premise, but here's what's not so good - in a list, of course:

There's a missing piece, too, and that's how you'd deliver your application. That's where Fly comes in.

Fly

There's two main problem areas an Application Delivery Network can help with. The first is in delivering your application securely to a global user-base. The second is having a reliable load-balancer and functional API-gateway between your user-base and your application. If you're running Fly, you can...

Serverless Applications

When used in conjunction with Fly, Google Cloud Functions are a potent compliment to your applications. With "serverless applications" and delivery taken care of, we are one step closer to the dream of truly being able to focus on application code.

Fly started when we wondered "what would a programmable edge look like"? Developer workflows work great for infrastructure like CDNs and optimization services. You should really see for yourself, though.