Allow yourself to focus all your efforts on delivering value

Let the cloud providers handle everything else.

Believe it or not you can get infinite scaling, full security, and high performance for nearly zero operational cost. You should concentrate on building features that add value for your customers. And you can do that much faster when you don’t have to worry about anything else.

Red Badger built a customer portal for CarTrawler in 2 months. With multiple microservices that cost from $10 each a month to run. At scale. We used serverless architectures…

Use the cloud’s highest level of abstraction - Go Serverless!

Serverless doesn’t mean no servers, just that servers are no longer something we have to think about. Along with scalability and networking infrastructure. It’s really Functions-as-a-Service (FaaS) and simply amounts to providing code that we want to be run when an event such as a website visit, or some data from an IoT device, or a message from another application, happens.

“We’re at the start of the biggest revolution in history! One that lowers the barriers to the point where any one person or organisation can build web-scale services at costs so small they become irrelevant. It levels the competition and allows everyone the opportunity to just concentrate on building value. Guaranteed they’ll do it, so large organisations should too, or be left behind.”

— CIO Stuart Harris

Serverless is perfect for stateless transformations (i.e. take some data from somewhere, do something with it and send it somewhere else), and that’s a surprisingly large number of applications (including websites and APIs). Because scaling is extremely fast and handled by the provider, it’s also great for bursts of peak traffic and saves you the (still extremely challenging) tasks of having to set this up yourself.

However, invocations from cold (i.e. when there hasn’t been an invocation for a while) can still be quite slow (JavaScript startup, whilst faster than Java startup, may still add an extra few 100 milliseconds). But this is being paid a lot of attention by the providers and cold startup time has improved massively over the last year, to the point where it’s now feasible to render web pages, for example.

“We’ve always considered technology to be a means to an end. The real focus should be delighting our customers. Not worrying about whether the operating system has been patched. Or whether the network is secure. Or even what language this service is written in. Microservices running in the serverless cloud are the best way to stop us from having to worry about all those things.”

— COO David Wynne

Serverless encourages microservice architectures and allows us to concentrate on writing code that delivers value rather than worrying about orthogonal concerns such as scalability, security, and reliability. It’s also really, really cheap (you can invoke a function millions of times for a dollar!) largely because you don’t have pay for servers sitting idle.

Amazon is leading the way with its Lambda offering. Microsoft has Azure Functions in beta. Google Cloud Functions and Auth0 Webtasks are also competing. IBM’s OpenWhisk is open-source and may well become important for running serverless on-premise.

Serverless Computing is in its infancy (AWS Lambda is less than 2 years old) and so the industry is still to understand how best to architect, write and deploy serverless applications and the developer tooling is still not mature. This is changing fast though and the excellent Serverless Framework (previously Jaws) is currently in release candidate for version 1.0. Apex is another tool for easily deploying functions that allows you to write them in languages such as Go instead of the more common JavaScript (node.js).

As serverless matures it is bound to become the defacto way that we run code in the cloud (and probably on-premise too).

“Whilst some CIOs are celebrating getting to 4 releases per year, others are releasing multiple times a day. The progressive CIO’s ability to deliver value to their organisation’s customers faster and to drive innovation in their industry is disrupting their rivals. To get there used to be a scary challenge but it’s getting easier, faster, more secure and infinitely cheaper. Serverless is the next step in this journey and provides a lower barrier to entry for more CIOs to be more courageous.”

— CEO Cain Ullah


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