Serverless "Iteration Speed" Survey
Comparing AWS, Microsoft and GCP managed compute offerings assuming an HTTP endpoint
Published: Sunday, Dec 20, 2020 Last modified: Wednesday, Mar 29, 2023
¡UPDATE 2021 November: Measuring serverless cold starts!
I’ve used https://github.com/kaihendry/count to DX managed compute solutions aka Serverless computing.
AWS Fargate / Elastic Beanstalk is excluded because it does not scale to zero since it requires an underlying compute cluster which you pay hourly for.
|Feature||Serverless framework (AWS)||Apex Up (AWS)||SAM (AWS)||Functions (GCP)||Cloud Run (GCP)||Functions (Azure)|
|Local to Singapore||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No (Hong Kong)|
|My subjective DX rating||OK, custom entrypoint||Favourite||Bad, custom entrypoint||Bad, custom entrypoint||Great, but slow||Confusing, but once setup ... OK|
|Demo URL||AWS SG||AWS SG||AWS SG||GCP SG||GCP SG||Azure HK|
|Iteration speed||~30s||~10s||~30s||~2mins||~2mins||~30s |
|Custom domain||Yes, via a plugin||Yes||Yes||Via Firebase ||Yes ||Yes |
 CLI will say it's "done", though I suspect the Cloud is being eventually consistent... leading to some confusion when expected changes are not live!
 No CLI / IaC option AFAICT
I’ve noticed deployment failures can happen when:
Apex Up is the clear winner to me. Apex Up has
the fastest iterations to the cloud (~2s), a fantastic DX CLI with logging that’s easy to use. Apex Up also
static/ assets which the others don’t do and uses the
standard http request / response API.
To experiment in further public clouds with managed compute, the serverless
framework does seem to have the best starter
serverless create -h to view them.
Note about iteration speed
There are three types of iteration speed:
- Local development speed, speed of live reloader like entr. Painful with functions that do not use HTTP req/res interface.
- Using your serverless tooling to
time make deployand view changes on the Cloud endpoint.
- Time for your CI/CD pipeline (Github action) to deploy (often much longer since env is setup from scratch)
Iteration speed above is case 2.
I do not consider the time for the initial setup / IaC provisioning which can take a bit of waiting, for the custom domain!
What is Apex Up so fast?
I asked TJ and his reply was:
ahhh that’s just because it uploads straight to Lambda rather than using CloudFormation (or Terraform) for the Lambda ZIP, both of those systems add a bunch of delay :D
Unfortunately it’s quite tedious and difficult to compare the price, especially when there is a free tier. Just know that I’ve not noticed an impact on my bill when using serverless. It’s must cheaper than paying hourly. If it becomes expensive, you have options!
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