What Every CIO Needs to Know about Serverless, Part 1

Apr 6, 2020
What Every CIO Needs to Know about Serverless, Part 1
What Every CIO Needs to Know about Serverless, Part 1

TriggerMesh is a relative newcomer to a fast-growing cloud native market, but our team is made up of some of the most experienced cloud and Kubernetes experts. As we work towards the preview release of our cloud native integration platform we have more gas in the tank to bring an enterprise product to market and we’re rolling out a series of blogs to demystify this emerging market.

Part 1 looks at how serverless supports digital transformation. We also introduce two core concepts CIOs need to understand in order for serverless to make sense: cloud native and microservices.

The Role of Serverless within Your Digital Transformation Strategy

Think of digital transformation as a race.

A race for businesses to keep up with consumers’ accelerating and increasingly varied digital adoption. Consumers and employees alike benefit from – and now expect – experiences that predict their preferences and react to them instantly. Today, technology and software is no longer a cost center but an innovation center that drives business.

Consider just three compelling data points out of 40 aggregated by Forbes:

  • 75% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a company that knows their name and purchase history and recommends products based on their preferences. *Accenture
  • 44% of companies have already moved to a digital-first approach for customer experience. *IDG
  • 56% of CEOs said digital improvements have led to revenue growth. *Gartner

Thankfully, technologies and development approaches like cloud, PaaS, microservices, containers, DevOps, and serverless make keeping up with customers possible.

Cloud Native Overview

Cloud native technologies empower organizations to quickly build and run scalable and secure applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds. Containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs exemplify this approach.

These techniques enable loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable. Combined with robust automation, they allow engineers to make high-impact changes frequently and predictably (Adapted from CNCF definition). Together, these cloud native capabilities accelerate time to market with applications that can scale and operate with minimal overhead.

Cloud Native Basics – Microservices

In your race to satisfy consumers’ demands for responsiveness, microservices architectures are perhaps your number one ally. In contrast to the monolithic application, which is single-tiered and combines all services into a single program, microservices architectures separate services into discrete, coordinated units. The benefits of the microservices approach include continuous deployment,  faster testing, and the ability to update each service as needed without impacting the other services.

Digital powerhouse Netflix benefits from microservices in many ways, including allowing each client team (think Roku, PlayStation, mobile, and hundreds of client devices from which you can access Netflix) to update their app independently of each other. That equals happy customers! The previous monolith, in contrast, was so large that client teams couldn’t even run it locally which made testing and debugging very difficult. Netflix’s Kim Trott explains in this 2015 talk.

Typically, microservices are packaged and deployed via containers. As microservices applications grow, orchestrating all the containers and their access to compute, storage, and networking can become complex. The leading solution to handle this complexity is Kubernetes.

Cloud Native Basics – Event-driven Architecture

Event-driven serverless architectures (EDA) rely on events that indicate changes in a system. EDA enables loose coupling of services, which supports service abstraction and isolation, deployment flexibility, and independent scaling. This is especially relevant to function platforms because functions are smaller in scope and so the loosely-coupled architecture enables functions and/or microservices to operate independently. This loose coupling is key to enabling large numbers of small components to work effectively together while leveraging operational independence, auto-scaling, and on-demand cost models.

A Little About TriggerMesh

TriggerMesh believes enterprise developers will increasingly build applications as a mesh of cloud native functions and services from multiple cloud providers. We believe this architecture is the best way for agile businesses to deliver the effortless digital experiences customers expect and at the same time minimize infrastructure complexity.

To bring today’s enterprise applications into this future, the TriggerMesh cloud native integration platform ties together cloud computing, SaaS, and on-premises applications. We do this through an event-driven cloud service bus that connects application workflows across varied infrastructures.

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