Serverless Architecture vs Microservice Architecture

Serverless architecture is a cloud-computing execution model in which the cloud provider acts as the server, dynamically managing the allocation of machine resources.

On the other hand, Microservice architecture is a set of self-sustained small services, running on their own machines using lightweight mechanisms (usually REST APIs’) to allow inter-module communication of the underlying application.

Changing your architecture to deploy microservices & serverless has a huge number of benefits throughout its whole lifecycle in terms of –

  • How you write the software

  • How you deploy it

Serverless Architecture vs microservices

Serverless Architecture vs Microservice Architecture

Although still in its infancy, serverless computing shares some of the characteristics of microservices but it has a substantial difference in the way it delivers to applications.

There are pros and cons to each of them, which can be differentiated based on a number of parameters such as :

Serverless Architecture vs microservices pricing Pricing

Serverless Architecture:  Is pay-as-you-go such as in AWS Lambda, making it an attractive option for applications with infrequent requests & for the startups. It also reduces operational costs as infrastructure and virtual machines are handled by a service provider rather than directly on-premise, IaaS/PaaS.

Microservice Architecture: More expensive than Serverless.

Serverless Architecture vs microservices scalability Scalability

Serverless  Architecture: Can handle spike loads more easily and can be automatically managed quickly and

serverless architecture vs microservices Pricing Scalability
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transparently as the container service architecture is now being promoted to the next level of modular functions, thus functions are delivered as service.

The only limitation is on the maximum number of requests that can be processed making it unsuitable for high load systems.

Microservice Architecture: More scalable than microservices.

Serverless Architecture vs microservices complexity Complexity

Serverless  Architecture: Is more granular than microservice architecture. It(serverless) provides a much higher degree of functionality.

serverless architecture vs microservices Complexity
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Furthermore, serverless functions can also act as scheduled jobs, event handlers etc, and not just as services.

On the flip-side, Serverless also creates much more complexity, resulting in complicated integration testing, debugging & troubleshooting. It also has a number of other restrictions, such as a limited number of requests and operation duration, and supports fewer programming languages.

Although stateless by design & no in-memory cache, components of serverless are often cloud provider specific, which can be a caveat for serverless.

Microservice Architecture: By comparison, is a mature approach with platform-independent stateless design, no in-memory cached, centralized service being broken down into container services which are well supported by tools and processes.

Serverless Architecture vs microservices time to market Time to Market

Serverless  Architecture: For lightweight programming model and operational ease of a Serverless architecture, time to market is greatly reduced for new features, which is a key driver for many businesses.

serverless architecture vs microservices time to market
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It also means rapid prototypes creation for IoT(Internet of Things) solutions using FaaS(Function-as-a-Service) for data processing to demonstrate a new technology to investors or clients.

Microservice Architecture: Time to market in this case is slower than that of Serverless.


Although microservices still provides a solid approach to SOA(Service Oriented Architecture), Serverless is gaining popularity in event-based architecture and clearly has advantages in terms of reduced time to market, flexible pricing and reduced operational costs.

Summarising of what we discussed above to make the choice easier.

serverless architecture vs microservices summary

However, as of now, the best solution is a combination of both the Serverless and microservice architectural approaches, that will help to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing to bring more value to your customers.

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