Everything You Need To Know About Serverless Java

Java is a popular language among developers due to its ease of use, speed, adaptability to run on many web browsers, and extensive community. At the same time, 88% of companies report using the cloud, making cloud computing a leading trend in 2022.

It’s no wonder, then, to learn that a lot of people are trying to mix both those established technologies together to get their advantages. So, what happens when we combine Java and cloud computing? Let’s find out.

Introduction to serverless computing

If you’ve been a developer for a long time, you’re probably familiar with the following scenario. While building a web application, you basically had to do all the hard work yourself, including buying a server, setting it up, and maintaining it.

Another big problem you likely faced was scalability, i.e., getting additional servers and taking care of load balancing. And let’s not forget dealing with strict deadlines while you are at it!

When you combine all these factors, you begin to understand why many people experience developer burnout at some point, regardless of their motivation. However, this changed when serverless computing entered the stage in 2008. This new approach allowed developers to run their apps on cloud providers, such as Google Cloud, Oracle, and AWS, making the worry of servers, fault tolerance, and scalability a thing of the past.

So, where does Java fit in? Besides being one of the most popular programming languages in the world, Java’s also an ideal candidate for creating serverless functions due to its resource optimization and mature ecosystem.

Namely, serverless Java allows you to focus on creating code without worrying about physical constraints and infrastructure. Adding cloud computing to your working plan lets the infrastructure vendor take care of all the essentials, such as security, runtime, and scaling, while you can focus on the creation process.

The main advantages of serverless Java

Serverless models work in a simple way. In short, developers start by uploading their application’s code, which depends on a specific trigger to run. Once this trigger is fired, the code will start executing and responding to the specific event.

This type of workflow creates ideal conditions for building highly functional web apps using Java. On that note, serverless Java offers numerous advantages, including the following.

You won’t spend time on maintenance

Deploying and configuring the application using serverless Java is much easier because you don’t have to invest your time on maintenance. The serverless architecture allows you to entrust infrastructure management to cloud vendors, who’ll take care of monitoring and built-in scalability.

You’ll pay less

Using serverless Java is ideal if you don’t use your system regularly. Why? Because cloud vendors, such as AWS, only charge for execution time and resource usage. This is probably the biggest advantage of using serverless Java. Namely, instead of paying a fixed price, you’ll only pay for the time you use different resources.

You’ll get new upgrades frequently

Cloud service vendors improve their services by adding new upgrades often. For example, Azure provides two types of upgrades – an in-place upgrade that covers configuration changes and deployment upgrades and Virtual IP swap. At the same time, AWS offers convenient automated upgrades.

In addition, you can contact their support team 24/7 if you need any help with the upgrades.

The main disadvantages of serverless Java

The biggest drawback of using serverless Java is its cold boot performance. Namely, Java isn’t the fastest programming language, and its cold start time is much slower in comparison to other programming languages.

On the other hand, you’ll be able to reduce those cold start times with the help of proper tuning. However, this also means you’d have to possess outstanding Java skills and a good understanding of serverless computing.

Other disadvantages of serverless Java include system integration and limited function execution time.

System integration

When it comes to developing smaller applications, serverless architecture is an excellent solution that offers a straightforward approach. However, the same can’t be said about building more extensive applications.

Why? Because the management of large systems can lead to mutual interference of a number of functions.

Limited function execution time

Certain cloud service providers have limited execution time. For example, when it comes to Google Cloud, its first generation In Cloud Functions have a maximum timeout duration of 540 seconds.

At the same time, its second generation In Cloud Functions comes with a 3600 seconds limit for HTTP functions and a 540 seconds limit for event-driven functions. In other words, when dealing with heavy I/O operations or prolonged computations, there are better approaches than a serverless approach.

In such scenarios, a better and cheaper option would be to use traditional container-based applications.

What kind of apps can you build with serverless Java?

You can build a variety of applications using serverless Java, from content streaming applications to web applications. Serverless Java also allows you to work inside containerized applications, such as Kubernetes.

In addition, serverless Java is ideal for B2B projects, ‘glue’ logic, synchronous APIs, and asynchronous processing of files and messages.

Should you implement serverless Java into your app development process?

Serverless Java can be helpful to developers when creating a web app. Namely, you can use it to build highly functional applications without worrying about scalability and server maintenance since you’ll be leaving this part to cloud service vendors.

However, serverless Java also has a few disadvantages. For example, some cloud service vendors, like Google Cloud, have limited execution time. So if you’re doing heavy I/O operations, a serverless approach won’t be of much use.