Hosting a web app without managing servers

I’m intrigued by the post “The Serverless Start-up - Down with Servers!”, which appeared on High Scalability. The post describes how the startup TeleText created a highly available and scalable web service using AWS infrastructure, without the need to manage servers.

Creating serverless apps has long been possible using services by other vendors, such as Google Compute and Heroku. With the introduction of AWS Lambda the same is now possible with AWS, where you can stitch together a serverless framework from the patchwork of micro-services that AWS offers.

TeleText describes in their blog post how their API is served from AWS Lambda through the Amazon API Gateway, which provides means for traffic control (throttling), monitoring, and authentication. The storage backend is managed in Amazon DynamoDB.

Their setup ensures that there is no (or little) upfront cost for making the API available, and that the API can scale with increased demand.

Having managed Linux VPNs for years, the idea of going serverless is very tempting for me. Years back I dabbled with Google App Engine, but I didn’t find the SDK appealing, and Heroku’s pricing has deterred me from using their service.

With Google Container Engine, you can now completely bypass the restrictions in Google App Engine, and deploy custom Docker containers to Google’s managed platform. AWS offers a similar container service.

With the many new PaaS offerings appearing, competition is getting fierce, and prices come down fast. It may be the right time to migrate to serverless app and API hosting, and never having to manage a server again.