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Five reasons why software businesses should be serverless

By : Joseph Wortmann

“Lambda Lambda Lambda!” It’s not just the nerd-movie fraternity any more.

Imagine your CTO walks into your office with grand plans for a new serverless architecture in AWS. If it hasn’t already happened, it probably will soon.

However, it’s not a Happily Ever After panacea. You’ll still have to manage your AWS infrastructure to ensure that you are secure, scalable and stable. That said, here’s what you’ll need to do to make that happen.



BUT YOU SHOULD CARE.

What’s more, you should listen to your CTO, because he’s offering you the software development equivalent of the Holy Grail. You really can have it faster, better and cheaper. So for just a moment, let’s postpone our next tee-time — and think about it.



THIS CONVERSATION REALLY HAPPENED. SOMEWHERE

CTO: Boss, this Serverless stuff is awesome. It’ll allow us to deliver our new products faster, with better quality, and at less cost for our business.

Boss: That’s nice, but I like the way things are now. Our servers give me the feeling we’ve created something real. Besides, our software is so complex, even we can’t understand it. That’s got to be a huge barrier to entry for our competition, right?



#1: SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER OPERATING COSTS.

CTO: Actually boss, those are both bad things. We have to maintain those servers, and repurchase them about every three years. That’s really expensive.

What’s more, most of the code in our big, complex software just implements commodity functionalities in the serverless world. For example, a bunch of that code goes to implementing our own queue, something that we can get for pennies from AWS. And theirs actually works!

Boss: So how would serverless get me what I want faster? Tell me fast. I’ve got a tee-time.



#2: FREE SOFTWARE BUILDING BLOCKS = FASTER SPEED TO MARKET.

CTO: Well, a lot of the capabilities we need to build a system, such as Database, Queueing, Messaging, User Management and Logging — and a bunch more — are already provided by AWS. All we have to do is configure them.

That’s a huge time savings when we’re building new products. It lets us focus on the technology that really gives us an edge.

Boss: OK, even I can see how that would speed-up our time to market. But you also said our products would be better. I’m all about the finer things in life. Here, feel my sweater. It’s cashmere.



#3: SIMPLIFIED SOFTWARE TESTING = IMPROVED PRODUCT QUALITY.

CTO: It looks really soft, Boss, but I’m a bit of a germaphobe. Anyhow, serverless architecture enables us to write small, functional pieces of code that adhere to a contract. They’re not only easier to write, but they’re also much simpler to test. Which means we’ll produce much higher quality products than our competitors’ bug-ridden junk.

Boss: I like simple. I’m a simple guy. And I like winning! Have I ever told you about the time I got a hole-in-one?

CTO: Yes, boss. Just yesterday, as a matter of fact. Back on track now. Serverless also allows us to deliver our products for less cost, remember?

Boss: (swinging an imaginary golf club) Ok, I like reducing expenses. Makes my bonus bigger. So how do we do it?



#4: SIMPLIFIED SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT = LOWER PAYROLL EXPENSES.

CTO: Two ways. First, in a serverless architecture, we can hire less experienced developers, and they get more done — because the code they have to write is simpler. That reduces payroll costs.



#5: SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER OPERATING COSTS. AGAIN.

CTO: Oh, and we only pay for the AWS services we use, reducing the amount of waste in our computing — and our storage costs. Did you know that some of our servers are utilized only 15% of the time?

Boss: FIFTEEN PERCENT? That’s ridiculous! What do they do the other 90% of the time? Never mind, I don’t want to know. (Thoughtful Pause). Hey, I have a great idea: We should go serverless! Check into that, will you? My tee-time is here.



Feedback? contact Joe with any comments



About the Author

An experienced C-Level executive with a breadth of experience in operations, sales, marketing, technology, and product development. Joe specializes in innovation and change leadership, having had success as both an entrepreneur and intrapreneur, across numerous industries including defense, insurance, telecommunications, information services and healthcare industries.

Joe relishes the opportunity to make a real difference, both in the success of the corporation and in the lives of the people he interacts with. A self-starter that neither requires nor desires large amounts of oversight having succesfully built numerous DevOps teams and Solution Architected some of the most advanced and secure utility computing applications.