Serverless computing

Take your mind off infrastructure and build apps faster

The promise of serverless computing

What if you could spend all your time building and deploying great apps, and none of your time managing servers? Serverless computing lets you do just that because the infrastructure you need to run and scale your apps is managed for you. Focus your efforts on your business. Redirect resources from infrastructure management into innovating and bringing apps to market faster.

What is serverless computing?

Serverless computing is the abstraction of servers, infrastructure and operating systems. When you build serverless apps you don’t need to provision and manage any servers, so you can take your mind off infrastructure concerns. Serverless computing is driven by the reaction to events and triggers happening in near-real time in the cloud. As a fully managed service, server management and capacity planning are invisible to the developer and billing is based just on resources consumed or the actual time your code is running.

Why build serverless applications?

Benefit from a fully managed service

Spare your teams the burden of managing servers. By utilising fully managed services, you can focus on your business logic and avoid administrative tasks. With serverless architecture, you simply deploy your code and it runs with high availability.

Scale flexibly

Serverless compute scales from nothing to handle tens of thousands of concurrent functions almost instantly (within seconds), to match any workload, and without requiring scale configuration – it reacts to events and triggers in near-real time.

Only pay for resources you use

With serverless architecture, you only pay for the time your code is running. Serverless computing is event-driven, and resources are allocated as soon as they’re triggered by an event. You’re only charged for the time and resources it takes to execute your code – through sub-second billing.

Webinar: Go serverless

Join Azure experts to understand how serverless computing in Azure can help you innovate faster, at a lower cost to your organisation.

Build with the Microsoft serverless application platform

Build serverless apps on Azure. Benefit from a complete serverless platform to improve developer productivity, focus on business goals and build intelligent apps that you’ll be able to get to market faster.

Boost developer productivity

Take advantage of features such as local debugging in Visual Studio, visual debug history, deployment slots and more. The Microsoft serverless platform goes a step beyond abstracting server infrastructure to provide functionality that helps developers maximise their efficiency.

Create seamless connections

Create modern apps by stitching together valuable and complementary functionality from various sources. Use innovative features like triggers and bindings in Azure Functions to easily interact with a range of Azure and external services and Logic Apps to capitalise on more than 100 connectors to Microsoft and third-party services.

Develop intelligent apps

Integrate intelligence in your apps with ease. With Azure, built-in intelligence is within the reach of all app developers. Enable your serverless code or logic to use Machine Learning and Cognitive Services.

See how customers are using serverless computing

Examples of serverless applications

Web application architecture

Azure Functions can power a single-page app. The app calls functions using the WebHook URL, saves user data and decides what data to display. Or, do simple customisations, such as changing advert targeting by calling a function and passing it user profile information.

IoT back end

For example, Internet of Things (IoT) devices send messages to Stream Analytics, which then calls an Azure function to transform the message. This function processes the data and creates a new update in Azure Cosmos DB.

SaaS integration

Functions supports triggers based on activity in a Software as a service (SaaS)-based application. For example, save a file in OneDrive, which triggers a function that uses the Microsoft Graph API to modify the spreadsheet, and creates additional charts and calculated data.

Mobile back end

A mobile back-end can be a set of HTTP APIs that are called from a mobile client using the WebHook URL. For example, a mobile application can capture an image, and then call an Azure function to get an access token for uploading to blob storage. A second function is triggered by the blob upload and resizes the image to be mobile friendly.

Explore Azure for serverless applications

Compute

Azure Functions is an event-driven compute experience that allows you to execute your code, written in the programming language of your choice, without worrying about servers. Benefit from scale on demand and never pay for idle capacity.

Storage

Azure Storage provides durable, highly available and massively scalable cloud storage to developers for cloud applications. Get options for unstructured object data, structured datasets, file storage and queue storage for serverless communication between cloud apps.

Database

Azure Cosmos DB delivers a database ally for your serverless app. This multi-model database service provides transparent scaling and replication of your data to wherever your users are.

Security and access control

Azure Active Directory provides cloud-based identity and access management. Using it, developers can securely control access to resources and manage and authenticate the users of their serverless apps.

Cloud messaging

Event Grid is a fully managed event routing service that enables rich application scenarios by connecting serverless logic to events coming from multiple Azure services or from your own apps.

Service Bus is a fully managed messaging infrastructure that enables you to build distributed and scalable cloud solutions with connections across private and public cloud environments.

Workflow orchestration

Logic Apps provide serverless workflows that allow developers to easily integrate data with their apps instead of writing complex glue code between disparate systems. Logic Apps also allow you to orchestrate and connect the serverless functions and APIs of your application.

API management

API Management is a turnkey solution to create, manage, monitor and secure your APIs at any scale.

Azure Functions Proxies allow creation of microservice architectures by breaking large API surfaces into multiple function apps, while still presenting a single API surface for clients.

Analytics

Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed analytics service for real-time streaming data. It allows you to author queries in simple, declarative, SQL-like language, and you only pay for the processing used per job.

Event Hubs is a fully managed service that simplifies mass ingestion of small data inputs, typically from devices and sensors, to process, route and store the data.

Intelligence

Azure Bot Service allows you to build intelligent serverless bots that can interact with your users contextually through multiple channels such as text/SMS, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Office 365, Twitter and other popular services.

Cognitive Services allows you to easily add intelligent features, such as emotion and sentiment detection, vision and speech recognition, language understanding, and knowledge and search, into your app. Using these services through serverless code or logic workflows minimises the learning curve for creating intelligent apps.

Developer tooling

Integrated Development Experience (IDE)

Visual Studio developer tools for Functions streamlines serverless development by enabling a fully local build, debug and publish experience from within the IDE.

Visual Studio developer tools for Logic Apps enable visual designing, building and deploying your logic apps from within Visual Studio.

Continuous integration and continuous delivery

Visual Studio Team Services allow you to build a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) workflow for your serverless applications.

Monitoring, logging and diagnostics

Application Insights is an extensible application performance management service to monitor your serverless applications, detect performance anomalies and diagnose issues with them.

SDKs

Azure SDKs and tools provide rich APIs for multiple platforms and languages that can be used from within your serverless functions, as well as command-line tools to help with automation and scripting.

Frameworks

Serverless Framework is an open-source application framework to simplify building serverless architectures. It supports a plugin for Azure Functions.

Analyst report

Economics of serverless cloud computing

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Webinar

Building event-driven apps using serverless architectures

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E-book

Get step-by-step guidance with the Azure Serverless Computing Cookbook

Read the e-book

Documentation

Learn how to use Functions with these quickstarts, tutorials and samples

Explore documentation

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