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Serverless vs. containers
Deloitte on Cloud Blog
Why do I think that serverless will dominate…okay, slightly dominate? It’s a matter of looking at past patterns of adoption by developers who ultimately make the calls here, and they should.
December 19, 2018
A blog post by David Linthicum, managing director, chief cloud strategy officer, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Why do I think that serverless will dominate…okay, slightly dominate? It’s a matter of looking at past patterns of adoption by developers who ultimately make the calls here, and they should. These are a few things to consider:
Developers are not infrastructure people. The use of public cloud computing has forced many developers to become savvy as to what memory, CPU, and other platform capacity they need. While they are not bolting servers on racks, and never did, they make decisions that were previously left up to hardware people.
Public clouds do offer self- and quick provisioning of resources by those who push workloads to them. Developers often under- or overestimate the hardware footprints that they need, and each comes at either the cost of paying for virtual hardware in a pubic cloud that you won’t use, or watching your application fail due to lack of resources.
On the plus side, serverless can remove the developers from having to deal with virtual hardware configurations, or worry about over- or under spending on infrastructure. Serverless cloud computing removes the developers from the notion of a virtual server. Instead, they just run the serverless functions they created using the public cloud serverless cloud computing tools, and the servers they need are allocated from them automatically, and released automatically.
The public cloud providers did not invent containers. Another factor is that two of the big public cloud providers were not the real innovators with containers. While major cloud providers did adopt containers, it was really the public cloud users who demanded that this technology exist within public clouds that drove the innovations that now exist.
So, what we’re dealing with is NIH (not invented here) meets the big public cloud providers can likely make more money from serverless computing, and they view it as far more innovative than containers. That’s why the odds are higher that you’ll get a serverless cloud computing pitch from a big public cloud provider than one for containers. However, they may support both with an equal amount of selling and marketing dollars. (This is an outsider’s perspective.)
Finally, serverless seems to be more cost effective. This is the real reason that serverless will likely overtake containers. Speaking from personal experience, it’s going to take many more dollars to build a net-new application using cloud-based or on premises container technology, than it will to build the same application using serverless tools.
The developers don’t have to deal with the sizing of virtual compute, storage, and database resources to support the workloads. It’s going to happen automatically for them, which makes it much easier. Moreover, since the resources are being spun up and spun down for them, it tends to be more cost effective, although your mileage may vary.
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