Teaching people to do serverless is hard. It's far less about teaching someone about FaaS and far more about getting people into the right mindset. It is not about technology, or at least, it's not about doing technology
Serverless is about understanding when *not* to create technology. Creating anything leads to technical debt. Not only is it about not creating technology, it's about leaving as little footprint as possible, to only run when needed.
Serverless is about removing complexity by allowing the services that others provide to provide the complexity for you. Doing so means that you accept and understand the constraint that places on you, and creating within that.
Serverless is about accepting really positive trade-offs as well for the right reasons. Technology is there to serve a purpose. A relentless focus on that purpose means you can often build 80-90% of your requirements without ever having to write any actual code.
Serverless is a culture shift. It's not a technology choice that you can make between provide X or provider Y (although the marketing might make you believe that). If your devs don't have the business principles front and centre you're going to struggle.
Serverless isn't about FaaS although that is the primary mode of delivery at present simply because it ticks the boxes that fit in with the cultural shift.
So when someone talks about serverless and focuses on the technology rather than practices or principles, you are probably listening to the wrong person.
When I wrote my Serverless Best Practices medium.com/@PaulDJohnston… (which I need to now update) in August, I didn't expect it to get a lot of attention. I wrote it to point people to in conversations. It's a blog that is mostly about principles and ideas, rather than tech.
Principles lead to culture. It's much easier to look at something like the container world and move towards that, because it's analogous to the instance/VM/server world. Serverless isn't analogous - at least, not if the principles I put out there are followed.
All of this leads me to the conclusion that serverless isn't so much about technology but about culture inspired by the technology that has been created for us.
And if serverless is about culture and not technology, then definitions are much harder. Cultures aren't hard things. They are malleable - they evolve. You know it when you see it though.
We are maybe at an inflexion point though. Some of the uses of the word serverless make me particularly frustrated simply because it's extremely clear to me that while there may not "be servers" that the culture espoused by the usage are definitely not right.
And there's a core of serverless practitioners who are trying to work out how to change this. I'm not sure what will happen, but something has to change, because those of us who think this way largely agree, and have no vehicle for getting this across.
So watch this space! Serverless in 2019 is going to be the standout technology.
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