Contentpepper® Blog

Is a Serverless CMS the Nonplusultra in Content Marketing?

2019 May 31 at 13:15PM

“Serverless Architecture”, “Serverless Computing”, “Serverless CMS”: Never heard of? It‘s worthwhile for content marketers to get involved with this rather technical development. After all, "Serverless" also offers some advantages for Content Marketing.

“Serverless” – a misleading term

Serverless does not literally mean that a system can do without a server, it’s just that it's not your own server. Thus, the entire technology around serverless architecture is not new, but the business model of the event-driven application architecture is.

Advantages of the serverless CMS

Serverless CMS is a Content Management System that meets the needs of today's dynamic websites. Unlike a traditional CMS, it is safer, easier to use and is not operated on its own server but in the cloud.

A Serverless CMS works through a content delivery network using Function-as-a-Service (FaaS). This concept offers a very short runtime, which only exists for executing a function call. It may be seconds or even milliseconds. FaaS only consumes costs when a function is actually called, and is easy to maintain and scale.

If you do not maintain your own server, but use an external provider who also takes care of maintenance, you will save time and resources in the first place. There are no fixed costs, but the user pays only for the time in which the server is actually used actively. Provisioning takes place in minutes and not in days or weeks. The pay-per-use model keeps costs within reasonable limits.

The fact that one of the technology layers is eliminated, also makes it possible for Content Marketers with little technical knowledge to intervene and make their own changes. Their work is taken straight to the front end, without the need for complicated intermediate steps. This automatically leads to more efficiency – also for technical teams that can work more efficiently in a serverless environment.

Another important advantage is the automatic scaling in the FaaS environment. Applications are scalable in the cloud on-the-fly, and even complex services, such as customer management or social media integration, adapt immediately. Therefore, a serverless architecture is particularly useful for scenarios in which the load behavior varies greatly.

There are still some obstacles to overcome

Even if a Serverless CMS manages without its own server, the associated administration effort is not completely eliminated. Depending on the provider, individual software functions must be configured and versions need to be managed. The indispensable testing of individual software components also takes place in the cloud and requires resources that also incur costs.

For Developers it’s a challenge to give up much of their control, for example because they cannot access the virtual machine themselves, make changes to the operating system or the runtime environment.

The automatic scaling within the cloud is actually unproblematic, but only within the framework given by the provider. Then it is necessary to renegotiate or change to the next higher level. Normally, the number and duration of parallel requests are limited.

Of course, the user of a Serverless CMS relies on a single cloud provider, which can lead to vendor lock-in - whether the profitability of a transition is given, must be checked in advance.

From an IT organisation to a Cloud Provider

With the growing of serverless architecture in the cloud, traditional IT organisations are moving into the background more and more. System administrators are under-utilized in organisations that focus their IT strategy on the cloud, and developer knowledge is becoming increasingly relevant.

The benefits of a Serverless CMS, such as autoscaling, relatively low costs, and rapid provision of resources, can outweigh any disadvantages such as loss of control and vendor lock-in. In any case, companies should keep an eye on the serverless approach and possibly implement it after considering the accompanying factors.

Are you interested in other trends and developments in Content Management? In our free whitepaper „Headless CMS – the architectur of the future for digital experiences“ we explain, why the topic Headless CMS is gaining relevance, how Headless CMS exactly work, and in which application cases, the use is particularly advantageous.