Application development trends can be as ephemeral as serverless architecture. In the function-as-a-service (FaaS) world, the key players have remained consistent, but the landscape of capabilities is constantly changing. Our research demonstrates that cloud decision-makers consider FaaS adoption by their development teams to be among their top priorities for the next 12 months. This blog will delve into the reasons why.

In uncertain economic conditions, enterprises must find ways to remove friction from the development process while pushing the technologies and practices that power innovation. FaaS aligns perfectly with this priority, as it abstracts away infrastructure concerns from developers. FaaS forms the core of serverless architecture and supports the deployment of arbitrary business logic, decouples state from underlying compute, automatically scales on demand, and supports event-driven communication. Enterprises that leverage FaaS for suitable use cases deploy discrete, independent software packages quickly and leverage a favorable billing model in which they only pay for invocations and runtime. This enables developers to experiment and focus on code rather than infrastructure and configuration. Here’s what you should know about the FaaS landscape:

  • The FaaS market is still emerging but is rapidly heading toward an established state. The hyperscale cloud providers and edge compute platforms still hold the dominant market share, but third-party providers and the open source community have made tremendous contributions to the space, further reducing complexity, time to “hello world,” and added support for hybrid environments. Innovations within and outside of the public cloud have pushed serverless and FaaS beyond the cloud-born early adopters and into the everyday. As challenges such as cold starts and the inherent ephemerality of FaaS workloads continue to be overcome with new offerings and extensions, FaaS adoption will continue to rise until it sits alongside Kubernetes as a mainstream cloud-native standard for building applications.
  • The vendor landscape for FaaS is a mix of hyperscalers, all-purpose platform providers, and third-party enhancements. The Function-As-A-Service Platforms Landscape, Q1 2023 report includes 24 vendors operating across multiple geographic regions and industry focuses. In addition to core public cloud FaaS platform providers, we have also included vendors offering functions at the edge, hybrid environments, and third-party enhancement providers.
  • The core FaaS use cases are data processing and analysis, SaaS customizations, and IoT. The differentiating extended use cases include, but are not limited to, CI/CD automation, streaming, video processing, workflow orchestration, and infrastructure automation. It’s worth pointing out that the difference between a core and extended use case in the report is that core use cases tend to be supported by most if not all FaaS platform providers while extended use cases see greater differentiation.

So where is the FaaS market headed? Over the next two years, the space should be firmly established and sit alongside Kubernetes and containerization as a de facto standard for cloud-native development and deployment. In fact, we expect the lines and platform capabilities between traditional container approaches and serverless to blur more as container platforms seek to abstract infrastructure complexities away from development. We expect to see new partnerships and acquisitions among the big public cloud and edge players and the third-party providers, with the best open source and third-party extensions finding a home in the marketplace ecosystem while some smaller niche players get targeted for acquisition. Lastly, FaaS will continue to grow at the edge. The core characteristics of FaaS, such as the ability to scale to zero, are well suited for edge compute, and the edge compute companies will have an outsized impact on the direction of this market over the next few years.