The Journey to Serverless

Within minutes of tech space_ the subject matter of the Journey to Serverless in our fourth instalment of the event, was already being scrutinised.

However, one of our expert panel’s thought-provoking question of ‘can we ever be truly serverless?’ added another layer to the conversation that feature throughout the evening.

Harvey Nash’s quarterly Tech_Space event has been a collaborative effort from technology specialists, Usman Shahid of Newcastle, James Westwood of Leeds and Tom Holecza of Nottingham and Wednesday’s excellent discussion was testament to the quality and depth of conversation they have encouraged.

This time it was the turn of Mark Jose Technical Principal at Scott Logic, James Hall Director at Parallax and Dan Pudwell, Technology Director at Grid Smarter Cities to make up the panel to take the attendees through the various stages of the journey to becoming serverless, with an insight into three very different industries.

The panel

Caption: tech space_ panel for an evening of insight into serverless

Mark Jose kicked off the discussion speaking around the challenges of helping his clients , most of whom from the highly regulated financial sector, to understand the true nature of bringing traditionally on-premise solutions into the cloud and using an interesting selection of analogies to do so.

“Especially with non-technical stakeholders I use examples they can relate to.” Mark said.

“I often use the analogy of serverless being a bit like a villa in that you can leave things there and make it a home, but you also have to consider the costs when things break, as well as paying the mortgage monthly.”

Mark also joked that ‘Kubernetes and docker are a bit like timeshares’.

James Hall then took us through how serverless technology facilitated the architecture for a huge marketing campaign ahead of Euro 2016 allowing football fans to record themselves in a virtual studio singing along with the official track, This One’s For You by David Guetta, with their voices being added to the final song.

This One’s For You by David Guetta

Caption: The panel were treated to insight into the technology behind Parallax’s infinitely scalable recording campaign for Euro 2016

1 million fans from twelve different countries made history by participating in the campaign that would not have been possible without Parallax using serverless and CloudFormation to build a completely scalable architecture.

James championed the use of serverless technologies in greenfield development, saying: “The benefit of Greenfield projects can skip containerisation/small VMs and look straight into serverless deployments.”

The final talk was from Dan Pudwell who, much to the delight of tech leads and architects present with budget responsibility, addressed the audience on how to develop and run a serverless application for under £100, with a team of five developers in total and no QA.  

Dan took us through the thought process and the development workflow behind the ADAPT app which was built as to be used by disabled air passengers and aviation staff to improve airport accessibility.

A serverless approach was taken as AWS and building REST APIs would keep server management costs down and speed up development with having to write less code (although Dan admitted this was not entirely the case on this project).

Showing the audience a breakdown of cost, Dan said: “We were billed just 1 penny by AWS for the entire computing cost, we did have multiple AWS accounts which put the cost down and shows that serverless can be a bit of a leap of faith.”

To the q&a and a fascinating discussion ensued around whether the role of DevOps should be within the remit of your software developers, before focus turned to the emergence of newer technologies in the future, with codeless/low code platforms at the forefront.

To attend our next tech space_ event or would be interested in being part of the panel, get in touch with Usman Shahid, James Westwood or Tom Holesca on Linkedin or contact us through our Twitter below.

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