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Serverless computing’s future is now – and why you should care

By Peter Horadan, EVP of Engineering and CTO, Avalara | Feb. 2, 2017
Instead of allocating virtual machines in the cloud, you upload functions and let the IaaS service provider figure out how to deploy, run and scale those functions

Another limitation of serverless computing is that if a company has a large application with a lot of functions to stitch together, there is no “compiler” in the IaaS system to do the stitching. Instead, each function is uploaded separately and must be managed to work together by the software team.

This is much less efficient than linking to a function in the same executable. Testing and debugging is more challenging, since functions are managed individually and may be on different versions in different environments.

Finally, only a limited number of programming languages are currently supported by IaaS vendors, which could mean additional training for the existing team or the need to bring on new team members. New tools are being delivered regularly, and I expect these problems to start to go away, but at least for now, serverless computing is still “some assembly required.”

The adoption rate for serverless computing will likely accelerate dramatically as vendors overcome or eliminate these obstacles. Eventually, even the most mission-critical workloads will be moved to this environment as teams continue to gain trust that IaaS vendors are much better at managing hardware than they are.

Ultimately, every company benefits from having developers spend less time worrying about infrastructure and more time implementing differentiated features and functionality. Whether it’s the start-up that goes from idea to product in a fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost, or an existing business that can drive down costs and increase agility, “serverless computing” will likely soon be just “computing,” and a programmer born today may never encounter the term “server” at all.

Avalara’s Compliance Cloud platform helps businesses of all sizes manage complicated and burdensome tax compliance obligations imposed by state, local, and other taxing authorities throughout the world. Each year, Avalara processes billions of indirect tax transactions, files hundreds of thousands of compliance documents and returns, and manages millions of exemption certificates and other compliance-related documents.

 

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