It’s easy to forget how many modern technologies are taken for granted as you read this post, possibly on your smartphone.
It can be hard to grasp the sheer number of revolutionary inventions that have been made throughout human history. These inventions often took forms we didn’t know we wanted. Henry Ford famously stated, “If I had asked people what their desires were, they would have answered faster horses.”
What does this all have to do serverless computing? It allows us to do repetitive, daily tasks more efficiently. It takes away some of the tedious, time-consuming work that goes into managing infrastructure so that we can use our limited cognitive energy more efficiently.
Many of us didn’t know what we wanted or needed when Serverless was created. If Amazon Web Services (AWS), had asked people what they wanted, they would likely have replied with something like “better abstraction for server”.
You might not be convinced yet. This is why serverless matters as a manager, developer, or business stakeholder. But it should be a priority.
Why is serverless better? It took me many years before I realized that my job was not to code code. My job is to help businesses achieve their goals. It is important to build a product that is both profitable and has a positive effect on users. Even if the code is well-written and elegant, the desired outcome is not the code. It’s a tool to achieve an end, not a goal in and of itself.
Beyond implementing the feature, there are many other tasks that I must do in order to bring a product idea to market. These include configuring machine image configurations or auto-scaling on my cluster of servers.
AWS Lambda makes most of these irrelevant or greatly simplifies them. This allows me to focus on the most important aspects of the project like implementing product features or thinking about architectural tradeoffs. This is a far more productive way to use a developer’s energy and time, and it frees you up for the important (but mundane) tasks of managing the infrastructure.
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Lambda is extremely scalable right out of the box and automatically scales to meet demand. Our applications can scale up much faster because they can access a large pool of resources managed through AWS. They will scale down to zero when they aren’t being used. This means we don’t need to pay for idle servers. This makes Lambda an economical solution for most systems.
You also get blue-green deployment with Lambda right out of the box. AWS manages your function and routes all requests to the updated version. Functions are automatically deployed to three availability zones (AZs), providing you with a high level of resilience against AZ-wide failures. It’s easy to create a multi-region active-active system.
Why should managers care so much about serverless? Serverless adoption is a sign of a team that is more productive and less stressed, according to my experience.
AWS Lambda, as we have discussed, makes it easier for developers and architects to create production-ready systems. You can leverage a vast array of capabilities built into the platform, including autoscaling and multiAZ resilience. This directly results in higher productivity and quicker delivery times.
It is difficult to build and manage infrastructure that provides the same level of resilience and scalability as the enterprise. Teams often don’t have the time or resources to do this. This type of infrastructure requires skills that are not easily acquired.