| 4 min read

Serverless: Cutting Edge or Ahead of its Time?

Written by DevOps Republic

We’ll start off with the answer to the question posed in the article; serverless isn’t cutting edge or ahead of its time. What is though, is the future anatomical make-up and DNA of application architecture, development, and infrastructure.

Or, as the Practice Lead in Cisco’s Cloud & Automation group defines it: 

Serverless functions offer a new programming paradigm that allows you to run individual chunks of code without having to provision the infrastructure in which the code will run

However, no matter how you define Serverless, many of you are most likely still wondering how your company, whether you are a small start-up or an enterprise organization, can benefit from what Serverless has to offer.  

We figured there was no better way to find the answer to this question than to go directly to the source of information. So, our AWS & DevOps Consultants reached out to their respective networks and spoke with some of the leading Cloud Engineers and Solution Architects working with Serverless today. Unsurprisingly, they had a lot to say on the subject; and considering this is one of the most talked about topics in the world of DevOps at the moment, we were more than happy to listen to it all!

That being said, there were some definite common themes that came out, as summarised below…

 

Why companies chose to move to a serverless model:

The reasons for why a business might choose to move towards the serverless model were varied, with Perry Devre, a key contributor to the DevOps Architecture team at Dominos, maintaining that AWS presented them with a simplicity of the services compared to managing data centers -where you have hoops to jump through in order to test connections...etc

Another architect and Co-Founder of a Cloud Consulting firm here in the NYC area also highlighted that Serverless is

Really good for young companies in the prototyping stage and looking for a cheap solution. It is great to pay only for what you use

So, clearly, it’s not all about the tech; serverless is also a genuinely attractive business decision for those higher up the ladder.

Indeed, the cost and flexibility is one of the main benefits of Serverless, since it allows a cloud provider like AWS to managing all the resources needed and only charge you for what you use.

 Other benefits for serverless ranged from giving the keys back to Developers, to focusing on code logic, reducing CapX & Opex, flexible scalability, automated high availability, and cleaner and more concise architecture. Evidently, there is a lot that is compelling about the serverless model, with each individual in our network citing a different reason for their organizations choice. Do you recognise any of these justifications, or do you have a different reason entirely?

 

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 Serverless sounds great; but there are still a lot of things to consider! So, what are they?

Unfortunately, with Serverless you are roped into a service that, at times can cause a lack in areas that you traditionally managed yourself. The main considerations you need to consider are around security, monitoring, Language Versions/compatibility, and latency – and these are the pain points that have been mentioned by just about everyone working within Serverless, not only those who we spoke with directly!

 However, and for a second time, we think that the Practice Lead in Cisco’s Cloud & Automation group put it best: 

Most companies need to learn how to walk before they run

 If you don’t take the time to set up serverless the right way, eventually you will trip up and have to basically start over or go through a lot of headaches to keep things moving forward. It’s something we heard a lot in our discussions with professionals working with serverless. In fact, Abhi Pobbati, Founder & CEP of CodeBlock, said “Is Serverless a right fit?.... In my opinion, Serverless was created for organizations that have the right teams, environment, and technology for it.” 

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At the end of the day, a company needs to understand its internal needs and be honest whether moving to Serverless makes sense. And as Joe Cercone, Enterprise Architect at HealthNow, stated; 

Core applications that have many internal dependencies may not necessarily be a good fit; whereas isolated instances of technology or those that are leveraging services or support containerization are a much better fit

 

Conclusion:

Cloud-native computing is transforming the way we think about infrastructure and architecture, forcing companies to think about new models and new methods for delivery. But, making sure you are choosing the right platform is critical to the long-term success and keeping pace with a landscape that is changing constantly. So, don’t just jump at serverless because someone – or a few someones – have mentioned how transformative it has been for them.

Taking the time settle on a strategy is the first step to understanding your options and, fundamentally, making the decision that is right for you and your organization.