Are Serverless Applications Right For Your Business?

Serverless computing has been quietly maturing for the past few years. All cloud providers have a serverless option and there has been a surge of interest over the last six months around serverless app development. I’ve been asked by a number of people if it is worth moving towards serverless for their businesses. I am hoping this will help the business side and the tech side come to a decision together because the answer is not cut and dry.

To start with we can distil the interested parties into 3 groups.

  • The business unit — might be tech savvy, but the world is changing fast and they don’t have a lot of time to code. They might also be great at managing the business but like to stay away from the tech side.
  • The Techjunkie — this is the group that lives on the bleeding edge. They enjoy the challenge of new technologies and that is what they find exciting about their job.
  • The Stalwarts — these guys don’t mind new technology, but it needs to be proven first. It’s not that they don’t like new technology, it’s that at the end of the day if production goes down it is their responsibility. So, they stick with what is tried and true.

We will focus on the business unit and follow up with two more pieces.

The Business Unit

CEOs, CFOs, and CTOs are starting to see the cost savings and it is quite staggering how much cheaper it is to go serverless.

It may not be the best decision for your company however. Your CTO needs to take a hard look at your dev team if you are considering the shift from virtual servers to serverless. Serverless is a paradigm shift in software development and you can’t just throw that on your dev team.

My suggestion is tackle a small project get it deployed and see how your dev team feels. That way if members on your dev team are spinning their wheels getting frustrated they can shift their focus back to something they do know. This is a great way to help stalwarts move towards newer technology.

Recommendation: If you are an established firm. Tackle a few small projects and see how your dev team feels. You do not want to slow your dev team down because at the end of the day if you save 25% on infrastructure costs, but lose 40–50% productivity are you still ahead of the game? (I know that is a short sighted view, but if you are a startup watching your burndown it could affect your timelines). If you are a startup and your team is gungho for it and no development has started. Then by all means give it a go, you will still have time to pivot if it doesn’t work out, and if it does workout you have a huge advantage in that your IT costs will be next to nothing.

Next up: Techjunkies, should you push for serverless?