Leaders in tech make one common mistake when it comes to serverless and cloud computing: They want to migrate their current environment exactly as it is to the cloud. That’s about as limiting as planning a flight path along the road network and deciding the route based on street-level traffic. You can do it, but everyone’s going to look at you like you’re crazy.
Keeping that ‘lift and shift’ mindset prevents developers from seeing the real ROI of cloud computing and serverless technology. Instead, we have to challenge our traditional ways of thinking.
Redefining How we Think About Software Development
The traditional definition of software is anything that makes the hardware do what we want it to. We use operating systems to control internal functions as well as peripherals. We use application software to direct our computers to execute commands. So we tend to think of software as programmatic, needing specialized programming languages to develop. But the most popular functional programming language isn’t Erlang or Haskell or Lisp. It’s Microsoft Excel, if you can believe it, with over 750 million users.
Every Excel spreadsheet represents someone’s software; it makes their hardware process data in a way that’s valuable to them. In a similar way, the “systems” we build on the information technology side are just more software. And cloud computing gives us a new range of powerful tools so we can build bigger systems faster than before.
What are Cloud Computing and Serverless Computing?
Cloud computing largely references data centers and data storage. Serverless computing is one piece of cloud computing. It lets developers create software without managing infrastructure. In the end, it increases productivity, speeds up product delivery, optimizes resources and keeps developers focused on the end product rather than infrastructure maintenance.
Once deployed, serverless apps respond to demand, scaling up or down as needed. So when a serverless function sits idle, it costs nothing.
Key Benefits of Cloud Computing and Serverless Computing
There are many benefits of cloud computing and serverless frameworks. By far, the one leaders are most excited about is cost control and increased ROI. It’s also one that leaders most often miss.
Increase ROI With Cloud Computing and Serverless
The number-one way to increase ROI with serverless frameworks and cloud computing is to avoid building anything from scratch. Invest in open-minded research. Sometimes you need to build something yourself, but often there’s a way to shift some of the burden away from your team.
An easy example is functions. The first thing most developers think of when they hear “serverless” is functions. But the functions running code are just a tiny piece of the puzzle. Serverless technology allows development teams to hand off as much work as they can to cloud platforms like Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
Just like someone wouldn’t buy a field, till it, plant wheat, water it, thresh the wheat into flour, bake bread and toast it to make a piece of toast, developers shouldn’t write their own code when the building blocks already exist in their cloud platform. Take, for example, Azure’s Durable Functions feature. This feature manages stateful workflows so teams don’t need to explicitly create, store and retrieve the progress through your data’s workflow in some other place. This process is so common to the systems that teams build that the cloud providers made it available without needing us to write lines of code. It’s like instant toast delivered to your door!
The more a team can leverage already-made code, the more time they get back on their schedules and the more money goes back into the team’s budget, something we can all appreciate!