Developers may end up writing less code than ever in 2020.
The rise of serverless has given way to more developers relying on focusing on writing the business logic between managed services integrations and third-party APIs, which could contribute to reducing the overall amount of supporting code that needs to be written in an application. And this shift could become the new normal in the coming year.
These are some of the observations of Alex Casalboni, Technical Evangelist at AWS and co-organizer of ServerlessDays Milan, as detailed in our recent report, “For the Love of Serverless 2020 AWS Lambda Benchmark Report for Developers, DevOps, and Decision Makers.”
In our interview, Casalboni also talks about the importance of focusing on training and smaller teams, serverless performance myths, and why he hasn’t heard the term “it doesn’t run on Lambda” in a while.
What are the biggest organizational challenges facing serverless adoption in 2020?
I think organizational challenges will mainly be related to cultural and technical change. After more than five years, the technology is mature, and I don’t think we can blame tooling and UX anymore. If I were to recommend two approaches that might help overcome most organizational challenges for both small and large organizations, I’d choose to invest in training and focusing on smaller teams who build smaller services. Training doesn’t need to involve classrooms. Many developers prefer attending meetups or reading blogs regularly. Smaller teams— or two-pizza teams as we call them at Amazon—are still hard to imagine in some more traditional organizations but have the very high potential to impact both the commitment and productivity of every team member.
What are the biggest technical challenges facing serverless adoption in 2020?
I think most technical challenges have been addressed in the last two to three years. Since I started using serverless in 2016, many blockers have been removed. There are still technical improvements on the roadmap that will unlock even more edge cases and simplify some of the very common ones. But if you look at the last 12 months, you’ll find so many innovations in this space (Amazon EventBridge, Amazon RDS Proxy, Provisioned Concurrency for AWS Lambda, Custom Runtimes, Data API for Amazon Aurora Serverless, AWS CDK, etc.) that I’m confident 2020 will be the year when all of these new ways of designing architectures come together to simplify developers’ lives.
Where do you see serverless heading in 2020?
One of the patterns I see is moving toward writing “less code.” Many developers are deeply convinced that their main job is to write code. Forty years ago, “developers” were convinced their job was to punch holes in cards manually. As developers, our primary job is to solve problems and satisfy customers’ needs. Now we can achieve the same things much faster by writing less code (even less FaaS code) via managed services integrations and third-party APIs. This pattern started years ago; some even coined the term “serviceful” as an alternative to “serverless,” and 2020 might be the year when it becomes the new normal.
What are you most excited about in 2020 regarding the state of serverless?
I haven’t heard “it doesn’t run on Lambda” for at least six months. The opportunities to “lift and shift” to serverless have increased, as a first step to get started quickly and experience the benefits.
What do you think is the biggest serverless myth that persists?
Performance. Because of the increasing number of built-in integrations (rather than custom polling or workarounds) and the continuous performance improvements under the hood, the “serverless is slow” myth should be reconsidered. Especially taking into account two of the major improvements of 2019: no more VPC cold starts and provisioned concurrency. These two combined will solve most concerns related to latency-sensitive applications at scale.
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