5 years ago

The Economics and Innovations of Serverless

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Serverless can change the way software is produced because it allows developers to focus more on business value.

Serverless. This term might be one of the biggest game changers since the cloud. If you are using the cloud in your business, then you should change your mindset to adapt to a serverless future. When talking about serverless, you will undoubtedly talk about its cost and the innovations surrounding it.

Serverless: cost and economics

It is not a secret that everyone likes to save money, and choosing a serverless architecture is one way to do just that. You do not have to pay for a full-time server when you can just pay based on a metric called “per function millisecond”. In effect, you are only paying for the resources that you use. Nothing more.

Economics, however, is broad and it is not all about costs.  Economics talks about production, distribution, and ultimately the use of things.  Serverless helps companies produce software that can change the way things are done.  It is software that is now transforming companies belonging to a different industry. It changes the way they deliver value to their customers.

For instance, Netflix uses software to change the way people accessed and watched videos. Uber also used software to change the entire transportation industry.

When you go serverless in creating software, you are able to drive non-linear business value. You are able to deliver software that has no overhead, just things that can enhance your services and ultimately your business. Serverless can bring together the benefits you get from both the cloud and service-oriented architecture.

You no longer pay for server time that you are not using. An application process can go from $10 per month to only 10 cents per month. But that’s not the point. The more important value of serverless is not only the money you save but also the fact that you have fostered a culture of innovation without worrying about overhead.


Technology is always in a state of flux. You have infrastructure, delivery processes, and applications that are coming out every minute.  Serverless will make an impact in the following areas:

  • Services. The thing with services right now is that you no longer have to work hard in order to offer it to your customers. For those who are looking to add certain functionality to their apps, there are APIs that they could use in order to make it happen. For instance, Twilio allows you to offer SMS, e-mail, and voice contact capabilities without having to write a line of code. You can even add facial detection just by adding Google Cloud Vision API to your own program.
  • Open Source. Whenever there is technology, you can expect some sort of open source version of it.  When it comes to serverless, there is an open source community that is coming out with innovations that can serve as your resources. Some are even added to the list of services that are available via APIs. Oracle has its own open source code in Fn Project. This project will allow you to run your own serverless infrastructure on your own cloud environment.  There are other examples from industry giants. Google has Knative, Alex Ellis had OpenFaas, while IBM has OpenWhisk. More projects are going to touch on networking and security, along with other aspects of serverless architectures.
  • Standards. Because you have a lot of options in serverless, you will really need standards to relieve headaches in providing interoperable and common interfaces across services, vendors, and projects. You might want to follow what the Serverless Working Group is doing when it comes to standards.  This is a group from the Cloud Native Compute Foundation.


Serverless is the next big thing in software architecture that brings the best of cloud and SOA under one umbrella. Serverless can change the way software is produced because it allows developers to focus more on business value.  Plus, it is helped by the fast adoption and proliferation of open source, services, and hopefully standards in the near future.

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Photo by Thomas Hawk.

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