Serverless is More: Serverless computing means no more sweating the small stuff


Tommy Kolega, CIO, Viadex: Global IT Infrastructure and Deployment Specialists


Pic’n’Mix computing
Serverless computing is becoming the development platform of choice with start-ups, and Innovation and R&D teams within established organisations because it reduces reliance on traditional IT support. It also makes developers less dependent on hardware suppliers. Leveraging a cloud provider’s Serverless platform, means that all you need is a credit card, and off you go, creating your idea and first app.

Anyone who remembers Woolworths, remembers Pic’n’Mix the way it should be done. Often imitated today, but never bettered (IMHO). The thrill was partly in the eye-popping selection of almost radioactively glowing brightly coloured sugar creations (and even chocolate was included). The main part was rummaging through it and taking what you wanted in any combination, and quantity, all at the same price per pound. As a side note I found that the last bag of Pic’n’Mix was sold for £14,500 on eBay.

The idea of just taking whatever combo of whatever it is you want, easily self-served, is one of the fundamental values of cloud computing. Consume-as-you go operational models are universally assimilated into IT operations; for cloud-native businesses, or cloud-native applications, they are the infrastructure, the platform, the source of software, and anything else that carries ‘aaS’ as its suffix. For convenience, de-risking, improving efficiencies at large for the business, and in detail for developers, cloud services are the essence of streamlined IT.

cloud computing network conception


Don’t sweat the small stuff
The consumption of computing technology has reached the age where it’s exquisitely simple. As I say, all you need is a credit card. All you don’t need is taken out of the equation. The days of lengthy investigations into what hardware was needed, what the business case needed to be mindful of to justify the investment, how the ROI would work out, let alone configuration and training, teething and adjusting, watching and waiting, have now been replaced by instantaneity.

You want it? You get it. Now, Serverless computing takes all this convenience and agility to another level entirely; IT professionals need no longer be professors in infrastructure or coding. The great thing about that is, they can be visionaries. They can do what so many of us came into the business to do: innovate. You no longer have to sweat the small stuff.: “We live our lives as if they were one big emergency! We often rush around looking busy, trying to solve problems, but, we are often compounding them.”


The benefits of Serverless computing
Serverless technologies are akin to Functions as a Service, which is event-driven, scales infinitely and is completely transparent for developers. These technologies automate the execution of environments from a platform that removes the complexity of worrying about what the computer, storage and networking are doing.

If you’re considering Serverless computing it’s worth also looking at Kubernetes, “an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerised applications”. An informative article on DZone gives a good overview on when to use which. The primary benefits of Serverless are that its relatively easy to get started quickly and the platform, typically, inherently scales without you having to worry about this directly.

Hand working with a Cloud Computing diagram, new technology concept


Faster development, better outcomes
The cloud provider dynamically manages machine resource allocation. In other words, it removes the small stuff so that you can get on with the big stuff. An example is AWS Lambda which is marketed under the compelling proposition: “Run code without thinking about servers”.

The AWS Serverless environment is worth taking the time to explore. AWS have been leveraging Serverless technology for longer than anybody else and so are currently more mature than other providers in this space, at least from the cloud providers’ perspective. The Echo devices (like Alexa and Dot) are a great example of this leading innovation plaudit. They’ve been around for a few years and run almost completely on Serverless Lambda functions.

I recommend taking a quick look at the AWS Serverless Application Repository, to see that there are some quite useful functions already pre-defined. They include media files conversion (images or audio) from one format to another upon uploading the file to an S3 bucket (cloud storage for the Internet) and creating a survey from a file of questions almost instantaneously.

The other great thing about public cloud-provided Serverless, is the pay per event use consumption model, like each time you ask Alexa to give you your daily briefing. This makes it extremely cheap to get started and using to go and test out your idea.

If you have yet to evaluate Serverless, go do it now. Try it and see. Get developing now and start your first Serverless application idea out – AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM offer their Serverless environments all as part of their free plans – at least to get started. They all offer a range of uses to explore.

Viadex can help you move to the next level on your cloud adoption journey wherever it may be at the moment. Whilst Serverless computing is simplicity itself, it can involve complicated balancing acts about assimilating the approach into your current practices. Our focus is on taking the risk out of your technology decisions and making sure you get the optimum solution at the best price. Anytime you want to bounce ideas around or want to explore new ways of doing things, just get in touch.