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Written by George Orlin   

The Serverless Movement for Dummies

A peek at recent Google search trends will tell you that "Serverless Computing" is on the rise in the minds of technologists across industries. This increasingly prevalent computing strategy is emerging as a key player in the overall enterprise architecture for countless large organizations, including Capital One, Coca-Cola, Netflix, Nordstrom, and many more.

So what really is Serverless Computing, and how can it help our businesses?

Rupak Ganguly
, Solutions Architect at Docker, recently explored the subject at our most recent AITP Atlanta dinner in a fascinating talk that dove deep into the core issues of the topic.


The Evolution of Computing


  1. Data Centers: In years past, enterprise computing occurred almost exclusively within private, climate-controlled data centers consisting of hundreds or thousands of individual servers. In this world, deployments were complex, risky, and arduous. Infrastructure investment required massive capital contribution and the ROI only become clear after long payback periods.
  2. Cloud: With the emergence of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and other "cloud computing" providers, enterprises were presented with a new, more affordable computing option. This "cloud" option allowed licensing of server space within a managed data center, spreading the infrastructure investment over many months. Additionally, cloud introduced easier server-scaling, allowing performance to maintain consistent even as request volume increased. Finally, service-oriented architecture arose as a new architecture methodology that decoupled software components, making deployments significantly easier.
  3. PaaS: With platform-as-a-service, you stopped having to manage infrastructure altogether. The engineering teams now only focused on producing single-responsibility "microservices", exposed by standard sets of open APIs, allowed easy orchestration of previously complex, monolithic backend business processes. These microservices resided on auto-scaling servers, of any desirable size, in the cloud
  4. FaaS: Finally, we have arrived at serverless computing. In this world, individual functions (think of them as "micro-microservices") would each perform a small portion of a single-responsibility job. These functions are initiated by server events instead of user input. Finally, these functions require zero thought about infrastructure needs since each function (when utilizing an offering such as AWS Lambda) spins up its own computing infrastructure automatically, runs itself, then shuts the infrastructure down.

With that all said, it's clear that serverless computing isn't entirely serverless, but it does keep you from worrying about servers.

Definition of "serverless": Though servers exist, the developer does not have to think about them

When Serverless Makes Sense

A serverless architecture pattern can add significant value while reducing costs in the right use cases. So what are the right use cases?With that all said, it's clear that serverless computing isn't entirely serverless, but it does keep you from worrying about servers.

Use Cases

In these cases, serverless computing can simplify the processing of these jobs while keeping infrastructure management and costs very low. However, there are some challenges with serverless including higher latency, high prices at very high volumes, and challenges around service discovery. With that said, serverless may not always be the right choice for all scenarios.

So how does this help businesses innovate more quickly and spend less getting to meaningful results?

The answer to that question becomes clear when looking at the typical "cost of solution" model:

Solution Costs

Serverless dramatically reduces the effort associated with supporting a solution, from a much leaner DevOps needs to a much lower (in most cases) compute needs. When considering the model above, both the factors on the right side of the equation are reduced, which reduced the total cost of the solution to the business. Additionally, the opportunity for the business to iterate faster & test ideas faster than the competition becomes a real option.
Interested in learning more about serverless computing? Reach out to Rupak Ganguly for an expert opinion on best practices, and much more.

About AITP Atlanta

Does emerging technology fascinate and inspire you? Are you looking to learn more about high-tech including artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity?

Then we have some great news… AITP Atlanta is shaping up to be the premier forum of discovery and innovative thinking for local technologists in 2019. We’d like to invite you to join a tight network of professionals, just like you, on the journey to the cutting-edge of the possible across the technology industry.

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Association of IT Professionals (AITP) is the leading association for technology professionals, students and educators. Join us to build your professional network, strengthen your technical knowledge and soft skills, develop a personal career path, and keep current on technology and business trends. Be part of the community that continues to push technology forward and join thousands of other tech professionals as an AITP member.

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