Best FaaS Providers: Comparison of Serverless Function Platforms (FaaS)

Best FaaS Providers

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FaaS (or Functions-as-a-Service) is one of the many growing tech innovations to date. Its market size is estimated to reach around 7.72 billion USD by 2021, according to a MarketsandMarkets study ????. In the cloud computing world, the demand for FaaS features and providers is increasing now more than ever.

Using FaaS, developers are able to rapidly deploy and create applications that are utilized everywhere. Allowing the possibility of dynamic scaling through a cost-efficient manner, it’s a no-brainer why developers prefer it.

There are a large number of cloud service providers out there, which might make it hard to choose the right one. 

 If you’re looking to find the perfect provider for you, then you’re in the right place ????! Here are the Top FaaS Providers that are sure to provide a seamless integration of FaaS Platforms into your application development. 

What is Function as a Service (FaaS)?

Before we get to the juicy ???? portion of this article, it’s important to first understand how FaaS works.

To put it simply, FaaS is a serverless way to write pieces of code and deploy them to a dynamically allocated server. This allocation is done through cloud service providers, like the ones we’ll mention in this article. It’s new, cost-efficient, and completely scalable!

All of these are actually explained in a previous article we’ve recently covered. We suggest checking that one out first. 

You can refer to this link to learn ???? more about FaaS and how it actually works. 

Top FaaS Providers

If you’ve finished learning about FaaS or if you already understood what it was from the start, let’s move on ???? to what we’re really here for. Here are the Top FaaS Providers used in the industry today. 

AWS Lambda

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Amazon offers AWS Lambda as a FaaS cloud service provider. With a vast variety of language ????️ support, it seems optimal to choose this provider. AWS Lambda is a FaaS platform that offers users to run, modify, and configure their code on available servers in a computer infrastructure.

The user is only billed so long as the code runs. This means more efficient code would definitely give you your money’s worth. It emphasizes the need for good code and good developers.

AWS Lambda makes use of the Dashbird and Cloudwatch monitoring systems. Monitoring systems are simply tools ???? that enable system administrators to monitor their infrastructure. Each cloud service provider has their own monitoring system.

Features

Server & OS Maintenance – AWS Lambda maintains the server for the user. Other than the efficiency of code, developers could focus less on the server side and mainly on the application’s logic. This is usually the case ???? for most cloud service providers, and AWS Lambda is no different.

Auto-scaling – AWS Lambda provides automatic scaling by default to give users the best performance

Logging – A historical log is kept of all the requests to functions that were ever made. AWS Lambda also keeps a track record of all resources used. This makes it easier for users to know their expenses and discover how their code could be improved.

Different cloud service providers offer language support for different languages. Here’s a list ???? of the languages that AWS Lambda is compatible with.

Language Support:

  • Node.js
  • Java
  • Go
  • PowerShell
  • Ruby Code
  • C#
  • Python
  • VisualBasic
  • F#

Limitations of AWS Lambda:

  • Minimum allocation range: 128 MB
  • Maximum allocation range: 1536 MB
  • Maximum function duration: 300 seconds ⏱️

If you’re interested and want to learn more about AWS Lambda, here’s a link to the AWS Lambda FAQ’s page.

Google Cloud Functions

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With Google, you have Google Cloud Functions. This cloud service provider is among the top service providers in the world ????. With prime facilities that allow developers to run functional code serverless free, it’s an appealing option for individuals in the cloud computing industry.

Google Cloud Functions utilizes the Google Cloud’s operation suite (formerly known as Stackdriver) as its monitoring system.

Features

No Server Management – Freeing developers from server management is one core functionality of Google Cloud Functions. This FaaS platform allows users the writing, modifications, and deploying of code without having to manage the servers themselves ????.

Scales Automatically – Like AWS Lambda, Google Cloud Functions also scales and manages its infrastructure according to the resources needed.  

Google & Third-Party Services – With this FaaS service provider, Google and Third-party services are permitted to be used as building blocks for code. This is super helpful for developers who prefer not to write code from scratch.

However, unlike other service providers, Google Cloud Functions only offer language support for Javascript. 

Language Support:

  • Node.js

Limitations of Google Cloud Functions:

  • Minimum allocation range: 128 MB
  • Function Limit: 1000 Functions
  • Maximum function duration: 540 seconds
  • ???? Over a million possible function calls per 100 seconds

Cloudflare Workers

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One reliable serverless application platform that started in 2017 would be Cloudflare Workers. Cloudflare’s API and edge network spans over 200 cities in more than 100 countries ????️, making it one of the best FaaS frameworks today.

Equipped with frequently updated documentation and guides to help developers troubleshoot issues, Cloudflare becomes easy to use even for the amateur developer. 

The Official Cloudflare Workers documentation can be found here.

Features

Supports Multiple Languages – Cloudflare Workers features a variety of languages to cater to different developers. Some of the languages that this service provider supports are Js, Rust, C, and C++ ????.

Deploys Easily & Quickly – Using the CLI or Web Interface, developers are able to deploy code easily and quickly. Any server maintenance also wouldn’t be an issue as Cloudflare takes care of everything.

High-performance Global Network  – Performance will never become an issue as Cloudflare networks are virtually only milliseconds away from each user on the internet.

Language Support:

  • Node.js
  • Typescript
  • Rust
  • C
  • C++

Aside from the free plan, Cloudflare Workers also offers a pro plan to cater to the ever-growing world of cloud ☁️ computing. 

Limitations of Cloudflare Workers:

  • Number of Cron Triggers per account: 5 (Free)
  • Number of Cron Triggers per account: 5 (Pro)
  • Maximum 100 MB upload size limit (Free)
  • Maximum 100 MB upload size limit (Pro)
  • Maximum 200 MB upload size limit (Business)
  • Maximum 500 MB upload size limit (Enterprise)
  • Storage per account: 10 GB

For a list of all the limitations and benefits you could get from Cloudflare, follow this link to the Official Cloudflare Documentation Limits page ????.

Azure Cloud Functions

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Featured by Microsoft in 2016, Azure Cloud Functions is one of the best FaaS suppliers to date. With this FaaS platform, developers are able to build efficient and reliable code without having to worry ???? about server maintenance and infrastructure.  

For Azure Cloud Functions, the Azure Application Insights takes the place of its monitoring system.

Features

Any Tech Stack – With this provider, there’s no limit or restriction on languages you build and deploy code on. Any programming language can be used for this framework including NET, Node.js, Python, and Java.

Azure Application Insights – The official monitoring system, Azure Application Insights, includes a friendly user interface for users to effectively monitor their application’s performance. Issues, bottlenecks, and code inefficiency can be easily identified with this monitoring system ????.

End to End Experience – With built-in tools and integrated DevOps capabilities, users of this service provider can easily improve their end-to-end development and debugging process.

Language Support:

  • Node.js
  • C#
  • F#
  • Python
  • PHP
  • Java

Limitations of Azure Cloud Functions:

  • Limited to ten concurrent executions per function 
  • No limit for maximum execution time limit

You can find the full list ???? of Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Functions documentation over here.

Iron.io

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Iron.io is another amateur-friendly FaaS service provider that’s easy to use. This FaaS platform offers simple, reliable, and flexible serverless tools with fanatical support. Deploying and executing code had never been so easy with Iron ????. 

Although Iron offers a pro plan, a free plan is also available for all you wannabe devs out there. You can get started with their free plan over here.

Features

IronCache – Cache services are provided instantly with this provider and are ensured to be fast, scalable, and reliable. To boost performance ???? further, Iron.io also offers a Memcache compatible cache store. 

Focus on Coding – With Iron, an IronWorker is provided just for you. Think of this functionality as a little goblin that does all the server maintenance tasks for you, so you wouldn’t have to. This would definitely save a lot of time that could be used instead to make your application better.

With multi-language support introduced way back in 2012, a whole plethora of options were given to developers. In addition to Ruby, programming languages such as PHP and Python were officially made available in Iron.io with many more languages on the way.

For the current time being, Iron.io supports these three ???? languages.

Language Support:

  • Ruby
  • PHP
  • Python

Limitations of Iron:

  • Maximum Data Payload: 64KB
  • Memory per IronWorker: 320MB
  • Space per account: 10GB
  • Maximum function duration: 3600 seconds(60 minutes)
  • Maximum # of Scheduled Tasks: 100
  • Image Size Limit: 256MB ????

For the Official Iron.io guidelines and documentation, you can check out this link over here.

Twilio Functions

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Another powerful FaaS provider that you can definitely try out is Twilio Functions. If you’re a developer thinking ???? about creating scalable, quality, and event-driven Twilio applications, you should give this one a try. 

Features

Secure by Default – In Twilio, security is a given. It’s ensured that only Twilio requests are able to execute your functions.

Serverless – Along with its security, Twilio is also considered serverless. This means developers wouldn’t have to worry about maintaining servers and whatnot.

Autoscaling – Of course, we also have automatic scaling ⚖️. This ensures that whatever demands your application would request, Twilio shall provide.

Familiar – Twilio’s work environment is also powered by Node 12, which might be familiar to some developers.

Language Support:

  • C#
  • Java
  • Node.js
  • Php
  • Python
  • Ruby

Limitations of Twilio Functions:

  • 50 Services per Account
  • 25 Environments per Service
  • 100 Builds per hour ⌛
  • Up to 50 Function versions per Build
  • Up to 1000 public/protected asset versions per Build
  • Up to 50 private asset versions per Build
  • Maximum function duration: 10 seconds
  • Maximum # of concurrent tasks per account: 30 functions

For the full guide to Twilio’s documentation, click here.

IBM Cloud Functions

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When the terms reliable and simple come to mid, IBM Cloud would be the first option. Equipped with the necessary tools to get your code up and running ????‍♂️, this service provider is sure to give you a painless application development experience.

The official IBM Cloud Monitoring system is employed for developers to keep track of their application’s status.

Features

Cost-Effective Computing – Users will only be charged for the time their code is being executed, promoting efficient code-writing among developers.

Scalability – IBM Cloud Function servers automatically scales computing power ???? according to how much is needed. 

Trigger to Run – The REST API can be used to effectively trigger an event and execute your code.

Language Support:

  • Node.js
  • Swift
  • Java
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Go
  • PHP
  • .NET
  • Any Language (Docker)

Limitations of IBM Cloud Functions:

  • Maximum function duration: 600 seconds
  • Memory Limit: 2 GB

The full list of limitations and guidelines can be found ???? in the Official IBM Cloud Documentation.

Netlify Functions

With extraordinary features such as being able to execute code as API endpoints, Netlify Functions is the next one up on our list. Their aim is to give devs, like you ????, the FaaS platform to build scalable and dynamic applications. This cloud service provider ensures developers are able to deploy and execute their netlify functions fast and securely.

Netlify uses Netlify Analytics as their monitoring system for users, which is helpful in case you’d want to know how your app is doing.

Features

Build & Test Locally – Testing your code has never been easier with Netlify. Easily test code during development using the local CLI (or Command Line Interface). Developers are able to run local development servers which can be directly shared with the rest of their team.

Preview & Rollback – Are you familiar with Github? Netlify works hand-in-hand with Github that they’re somewhat connected. In case you need to rollback to a previous version of your application, you can easily do so using the integrated tools in Netlify ????.

Language Support:

  • Javascript
  • Typescript
  • Go

Aside from the Free account promo, Netlify also offers a Paid plan. 

Limitations of Netlify Functions:

  • Network Bandwidth: 100 GB/month (Free)
  • Storage: 100 GB (Free)
  • API Requests: 500 Requests/minute, 3 Deploys/minute (Free)
  • Network Bandwidth: 1 TB/month (Paid)
  • Storage: 1 TB (Paid)
  • API Requests: 500 Requests/minute, 3 Deploys/minute (Paid)

For the full list of Netlify’s documentation and guidelines ????, click here.

Oracle Cloud Functions

Oracle Cloud Functions is one FaaS platform that makes it into the list. Although not as popular as the ones previously mentioned, Oracle still gets the job done. This provider enables users to create and run applications in a secure, scalable, and quality environment ????. 

Administrative monitoring can be done through the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Monitoring, allowing developers to keep track of their application using dashboards, various metrics, and etc.

Features

Multiple Language Support – Oracle Cloud supports a variety of languages. This gives developers coming from different backgrounds a smoother transition to Oracle.

Easy Integration – Code integration is easy with REST API. This is useful if you want to automate certain business processes using event triggers ???? to execute code.

Language Support:

  • C
  • C++
  • Java
  • COBOL
  • PL/SQL
  • Visual Basic

Limitations of Oracle Cloud Functions:

  • Max-services-count-per-tenant: 100

The full range of limitations can be found ???? in the Official Oracle Cloud Functions Documentation.

Alibaba Cloud

The last, but surely not the least, a valued competitor in the cloud computing ???? provider industry would be Alibaba Cloud. Founded way back in 2009, Alibaba is one of the global leaders in cloud computing. If you want access to reliable and secure cloud computing and data processing capabilities, Alibaba Cloud could be the perfect choice for you.

To facilitate real-time and automatic performance monitoring of your applications, devs are free to use CloudMonitor, Alibaba’s built-in monitoring system.

Features

Highly Reliable – Over the years, Alibaba Cloud has established multiple zones over different locations. In the case that one zone becomes unavailable, Alibaba would automatically switch to a different zone ????. This ensures a fast, reliable, and high-performance environment for developers. 

Efficient – Through distributed clusters, Alibaba allows your code to be executed efficiently and effectively by virtually any user from different regions of the world, thereby improving performance.

O&M Free – Alibaba handles issues concerning O&M (or Operations & Maintenance) so developers, like yourself, wouldn’t have to. This is simply maintenance, daily operations, and repairs that are required for components to function properly.

Language Support:

  • Node.js
  • Python
  • PHP
  • Java
  • C#
  • Go
  • Ruby
  • PowerShell
  • TypeScript
  • F#
  • C++
  • Lua
  • Dart
  • Others 

All supported programming languages in Alibaba Cloud, along with their respective references, can be found ???? in the Official Alibaba Cloud Language Support section.

Limitations of Alibaba Cloud:

  • Maximum # of Functions per Service: 50
  • Maximum # of Function Triggers: 10

The full list of function compute limitations can be found in the Official Alibaba Cloud Limitations.

Pros of FaaS

With knowing all these cloud service providers, you might be wondering if FaaS is even worth it. Here are some of the Pros of using FaaS in your application ????.

  • Cost-Efficient – You’ll only be paying for the resources you use. Accounts would only be charged as long as your functions run. Efficient functions equate to cost efficiency.
  • Management and Security – All security and management would be handled by your chosen cloud service provider.
  • Scalability – FaaS providers make your code completely scalable. This happens instantaneously as functions are needed and reduces them accordingly as they are no longer used.
  • Reduces Delay – It’s simply faster. With servers situated in different geographical zones ????️, developers wouldn’t have to experience development latencies. 

Cons of Faas

We all know that nothIng’s perfect right? Not even FaaS. Here are some of the least favored Cons of using FaaS.

  • Limits – Each cloud service provider offers different limits to users. It may be the execution time ???? or it could be the memory.  
  • No Local Data Storage – All data would be stored on the cloud and within the servers of the provider you’ve employed. This could both be a good and a bad thing. If something were to happen to the company that’s handling your data, then it may become unretrievable. 
  • Debugging and Monitoring – Debugging and monitoring issues with your provider may become time-consuming if you aren’t familiar with the various built-in tools and utilities.
  • Vendor Lock-in – If anything happens to your chosen FaaS provider, perhaps due to a company shutdown ???? or bankruptcy, developers would face a serious problem.

You Might Ask

What is FaaS used for?

FaaS (or Function-as-a-Service) is a serverless way to write and update code on the fly. Since it’s serverless, you, my dear user, would be saving a lot of time and money ????. 

FaaS service providers allow developers to create and deploy pieces of code called functions that may be executed as the application demands it. 

When a function is called, a server is allocated by the service provider. The function is then executed and the server shuts down right after. It’s that simple! 

This works best for simple and repetitive tasks such as scheduling daily posts or retrieving messages from a messaging application ✊.


What is a serverless platform?

A serverless platform is a cloud-native development model which allows developers to create and maintain applications without having to touch servers. Cloud service providers exist to dynamically allocate these servers and maintain them for you.

For devs, this is amazing as it would be one less aspect to worry ???? about. More focus can then be given to the logic, design, etc. of the application.


What is a FaaS example?

One great example of FaaS would be Amazon’s Alexa, particularly Alexa Skills. Alexa is Amazon’s cloud-based voice service that happens to use FaaS. Think of the skills as the functions that are executed when the user voices an instruction to Alexa. 

Each time a request is made, a cloud ☁️ server is dynamically allocated and the function to handle that request is executed.


What is open FaaS?

OpenFaaS is a FaaS framework for building scalable applications in a scalable and high-performance environment. Its origins come from the serverless framework in the Docker Swarm ????. 

Currently, OpenFaaS supports other types of backend infrastructure namely Kubernetes and Hyper.sh.


How do I install the FaaS command line in OpenFaaS?

Installing the FaaS command line is simple. 

You can install ???? the CLI with a curl utility script, brew or by downloading the binary from the releases page. Once installed you’ll get the faas-cli command and faas alias.


How do you create new functions in OpenFaas?

Once you’ve finished installing the faas-cli. Deploying functions is easy with the faas-cli up command. 

This command:

  1. builds an image into the local Docker library;
  2. pushes the image to a remote ???? container registry;
  3. and deploys the function into a cluster.

For more information on creating OpenFaaS functions, the Official OpenFaaS Documentation contains a wide array of descriptions and guides that you can follow.


Conclusion

FaaS is a rapid and brand-new way of creating serverless applications. For developers living in the 21st century, this is amazing. Deploying code can now be simple, quick, and easy to learn ????. 

With the service providers mentioned in this article, hopefully you now have a vague idea of how the development process for your application could work.

What do you think? Did you find a cloud service provider that fits your project? There are lots of providers that aim to provide a seamless experience to developers in the cloud computing industry. These are just some of the Top FaaS Providers out there. Let us know if we missed any and we’ll be sure to include it in the list ????.

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