Interview series with JAX DevOps speakers — Part 4

The road to serverless maturity: Running away from “NoOps” or toward it?

Gabriela Motroc

© Shutterstock / tkemot

Serverless has grown considerably in the past few years but is it ready to embrace its maturity? And does that mean running away from NoOps or toward it? In the last part of our interview series, we invited six JAX DevOps speakers to weigh in on the serverless movement, its “competition” with container-based cloud infrastructure and the challenges Kubernetes and Docker should be addressing this year.

Serverless = […]Ops

We’ve already had this conversation but that doesn’t mean we cleared the air. Does serverless mean NoOps? It depends who you ask. Bart Blommaerts, architect at Ordina is opposed to the idea of giving serverless this nickname but Michiel Rook of FourScouts believes that  “serverless is one more step towards ‘NoOps'” — although it should be noted that he dislikes the term.

What do you think? If you want to hear why Bart thinks serverless does not mean NoOps, check out this video interview. If you want to dive deeper into this discussion, keep reading.

Speaking of serverless, it might be young but it has quickly gained a seat at the big boys’ table. Last year, JAXenter included serverless computing in the annual survey and the results are quite astonishing — this rather young topic grabbeda lot of respondents’ attention.

JAXenter technology trends survey 2017: Results

The good news is that serverless is on our radar again so if you want to have a say in this year’s trends (and give serverless your ‘seal of approval’), don’t forget to fill out our annual survey


In the first part of this interview series, we asked a few JAX DevOps speakers to share their predictions for 2018 and pinpoint the characteristics that every good DevOps practitioner should have.

Then we invited them to talk about DevSecOps, companies’ move to the cloud and how/if this trend will continue to grow in 2018. In the third part of the interview series, we invited them to weigh in on the microservices hype, Java’s place in all this and what’s happening in the container world.

Now it’s time to talk about the serverless movement.  

How will serverless change in 2018? 

The DevOps actors

Daniel Bryant works as an Independent Technical Consultant and is CTO at SpectoLabs.

Tommy Tynjä is a Senior Software Engineer and Continuous Delivery Consultant at Diabol.

Michiel Rook is a Java/PHP/Scala consultant from the Netherlands, working at FourScouts.

Antonio Cobo is an Agile Delivery Consultant for OpenCredo.

Philipp Krenn is part of the infrastructure team and a developer advocate at Elastic.

Alexander Schwartz is Principal IT Consultant at msg systems.

Michiel Rook: Serverless is one more step towards “NoOps” (even though I dislike that term). I.e., running on API-driven infrastructure that just works and you don’t have to think about, as a commodity.

Philipp Krenn: I would expect the tooling and best practices around serverless to mature. It is a very useful tool that will solve some problems and we will learn where it shouldn’t be used.


Will serverless be seen as a competitor to container-based cloud infrastructure or will they go hand in hand?

Daniel Bryant: I believe you will see serverless technologies running on containers and CIaaS — like Kubeless, OpenFaaS, Oracle’s Fn, and Fission — and so they will be (largely) complementary.

The development styles can be very different though — serverless FaaS is all about events driven architecture and creating stateless services, and containers can satisfy more traditional paradigms.

Tommy Tynjä: There will be use cases for both technologies. The important thing for an organization leveraging these technologies is to have proper Continuous Delivery pipelines set up to allow the business to focus on what matters, which is the software that adds value to their customers. How the software is run is secondary as long as all the necessary feedback loops such as delivery pipelines, monitoring and fault-tolerance etc. are in place.

Michiel Rook: I think there’s plenty of room for both technologies.

Philipp Krenn: I think they will complement each other. While containers will move further away from managing infrastructure, both technologies will have their use-cases.

What challenges should Kubernetes and Docker address in 2018?

Daniel Bryant: The key focus of both platforms should be (and is) focusing on the developer experience or developer UX— i.e. minimising the friction between a great idea, coding, testing, deploying and observing in production.

Many of us (myself included) have gotten very excited about containers, but now that the core container technology is maturing we have to get back to basics — as a developer this is all about focusing on delivery value to our users by coding and deploying new features.

Tommy Tynjä: Service-mesh frameworks such as Istio are very interesting and addresses cross-cutting concerns you are likely to encounter when running on Kubernetes. Such frameworks will become natural parts of service platforms going forward.

Philipp Krenn: Kubernetes  Less alpha, more stable. If your CEO knew how much alpha and beta software is running their core business we’d all get fired ;-).

Docker — Fix or find your business model. Alternatively make sure that the core technology isn’t at risk regardless of what will happen to Docker Inc.


Could you offer us some tips & tricks that you discovered last year and decided to stick to?

Daniel Bryant: As a shameless plug, all of the tools and techniques that I am interested in will be shared in my upcoming book with O’Reilly “Continuous Delivery in Java”. 

Tommy Tynjä: When making decisions on which tools or products to use there has to be proper support for automation using APIs, CLIs, infrastructure as code or such. Surprisingly many tools do not offer this today and many have such support built-in later in non-ideal ways.

Otherwise you will find yourself spending too much time either figuring out how to automate even the simplest thing or ever worse, configure something manually without being able to easily version control and reproduce it. Automation has to, and should, be easy and the encouraged way of configuring a tool or product.

Philipp Krenn: Since I work for Elastic, the company behind Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash, I’m mostly focused on the logging, monitoring, and tracing side of things. Most of my tips and tricks are around combining different kinds of events to see the bigger picture, like correlating errors with infrastructure changes or deployments. Only when you combine all kinds of events together you get the full overview.

Alexander Schwartz: In 2016/2017 I picked up Prometheus for monitoring and Zipkin for tracing. I don’t want to miss them in my next project.


Are your calendars marked for JAX DevOps 2018? If you’d like to know more about the latest trends in DevOps and meet the top movers and shakers in the global DevOps scene, join us in London between April 9-12, 2018.


Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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