Serverless vs Microservices: Which Is Right for Your Business?

Choosing between serverless and microservices can be complex. Our guide covers their differences, benefits, and drawbacks to help you make an informed decision for your business needs.

Serverless vs Microservices: Which Is Right for Your Business?

It is not an understatement that creating an application is thrilling, careful planning is still necessary. Picking contemporary technologies that work well with your project is a fantastic place to start when you want your program to endure and be relevant for many years to come.

Currently, the two main ideas in cloud computing are microservices and serverless. They enhance the application's effectiveness and make updates and scalability much simpler and faster.

What are Microservices?

A software architectural paradigm called microservices organises a program as a group of loosely linked services. A microservice is a compact, independent, self-sufficient entity that may be created and deployed on its own. Some other functions in the application or system are unaffected by its independent scaling. Complex programmes can be more easily managed and scaled as needed thanks to the microservices method.

This architectural framework has the benefit of making it simpler to fix one microservice if it becomes corrupted or requires maintenance while impacting the other services. In turn, this prevents any impact on general functionality.

What is a Serverless Model? 

Developers can create apps and services using serverless architecture, a cloud computing paradigm, without needing to set up or manage servers. Engineers only need to write and publish code in a serverless architecture because the entire backend technology is managed by a third party provider.

A user interaction or a change in the data can both serve as triggers for serverless systems, which are event-driven. Also, they are very scalable since the third-party supplier may instantly launch new instances of the code to manage a surge in traffic.

Serverless vs Microservices: Main Difference 

The term "microservice architecture" refers to a decentralised application that has been broken down into numerous smaller parts, or services. Each of them is in charge of ensuring that a specific task is carried out to perfection. Microservices are very focused and only perform a single task flawlessly.

Each architecture takes a different approach to problem-solving. Long-term fixes are provided through microservices. Every service is capable of running continuously for 24 hours a day. The primary distinction between serverless and microservices are as follows: 

▪ Functions

Short-lived functions only execute when a certain condition calls for them to. They are narrower and smaller. A function is solely responsible for one task, whereas a microservice can manage numerous related operations at once. Several functions are equal to one microservice.

▪︎ Several methods for IT operations

The creation of team resources is necessary for microservices. The tasks of monitoring, installation, support, and maintenance are carried out by an internal or external team. The team is totally in charge of supporting the architecture, handling its computing, and ensuring its safety.

Contrarily, serverless architecture depends on a third-party supplier. The business is not required to create, protect, and manage own server space. All internal functions are handled by the cloud provider. Using this strategy, project costs can be decreased while avoiding hiring and onboarding fees, storage charges, and hardware purchases.

▪︎ Cost

The initial cost of creating microservices is higher. To complete the project, multiple teams are required, and it takes time and careful preparation to establish the relationships between the various components. Microservices' creation and upkeep are more expensive as a result of their reliance on internal resources and assistance. Nonetheless, there are benefits to this strategy. The business does not rely on outside plans and does not run the risk of a vendor lock-in.

▪︎ Runtime

The runtime of serverless functions is constrained. Every provider has a cap on how long a certain function can run. For instance, a function on AWS Lambda can run for 15 minutes. This is because routines are intended to be quick activities that don't use a lot of RAM.

Vendor requirements for runtime, storage space, and RAM do not apply to microservices. They are therefore more suited for intricate, long-term activities that need the storage and manipulation of massive volumes of data.

Real World Examples 

Let's now examine some real-world instances of both frameworks to perhaps assist you make the best decision for your company.

Real-world instances of microservices 

  1. Netflix - One of the first companies to use microservices cloud computing, or serverless microservices, is Netflix. These services are used for server uptime, reliability, and algorithms that recommend shows.
  1. Amazon - Due to its rapid expansion, numerous services were added. Yet, the business first used an expensive monolithic architecture. The programme was later rewritten by the corporation as microservices.
  1.  Uber - All business operations, including passenger planning, billing, alerts, and many others, are controlled by a microservices architecture.

Examples of Serverless in the real world

1. Nordstorm - The online store created its own framework using serverless architecture. To create an event-based app and add new features, their website leveraged serverless technology.

2. Codepen - This social development platform allows front-end designers and developers to collaborate on the creation of websites that are managed by a single DevOps team member using serverless technology.

3. Figma - By using microservices architecture, users can work together on a single design, freeing up developers to concentrate on their initiatives rather than filing systems.

Use Cases for Microservices

The use of microservices is widespread among renowned businesses like Netflix, Uber, Airbnb, etc. These businesses are always expanding and they enable them to scale very swiftly. 

  • Applications that must swiftly scale up or down
  • Software that you plan to update with new features and that will require you to do so quickly
  • Big data applications: In big data, each stage, such as data collecting, processing, delivery, storage, etc., has a single task, and the purpose of microservices is to perform specific tasks.
  • Rewriting legacy software
  • when you need to reuse portions of a software's components across other programmes.

Use cases for Serverless model 

Due to their low cost and excellent compatibility with lightweight apps, serverless technology presents a fantastic potential for online and mobile innovation in the startups.

  • Software with varying traffic: If your programme occasionally has significant traffic surges and other times it is absolutely dormant, it is the ideal answer because it intelligently assigns server resources based on the current scenario. It won't be necessary to pay for downtime or anxiety brought on by traffic jams.
  • Internet of Things: Both serverless and IoT are event-based
  • Automate automatic laboratory tests or deployment by adding them as events and triggers to continuous integration and delivery.

Pros of Microservices

  1. Easy scaling: Since the administrations are autonomous, you can add or delete functions and expand things with the least amount of effort possible. As opposed to monolithic apps, you do not have to consider the complete code base.
  1. Improved software resilience: Because  microservices are less dependent on one another, the failure of one does not bring down the whole application. That is especially helpful when traffic is heavy.

Cons of Microservices

  1. Connection challenges: You must carefully design how to link all microservices and move data from one location to another.
  1. Testing is challenging since each microservice must be individually tested before connection at the global level is tested.

Pros of Serverless Model

  1. You don't need to worry about server management; instead, concentrate on the application.
  1. Scaling is effortless since it happens automatically.

Cons Of Serverless Model 

  1. Testing is challenging since it is difficult to reproduce the serverless environment, making it difficult to predict how the code will perform after it is deployed.
  1. After each function is complete, the data is cached, but only temporarily. That implies that if the function is not stored, it will have to respond to the invocation request once more, which takes time.


Both technologies—Serverless and Microservices—have a similar structural design but employ various methods. Both serverless and micro prioritise scalability, adaptability, cost-effectiveness, and simplicity of adding new features as opposed to monolithic architecture. Since each service functions as an independent application, long-term scalability is the main goal of microservices.

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