Tech history 101

Know your history — It’s a serverless world

JAXenter Editorial Team
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Welcome to our History 101 series! This week, we explore the serverless world. Who coined the term ‘serverless’ and why is it an inaccurate term? Will the technology take over the world or is it just a passing trend? Open your textbooks to chapter six; class is in session!

Since the onset of 2018, reports have been coming from all around taking the pulse of cloud-related trends and all of them are coming to the same conclusion: serverless computing is becoming a huge deal!

So, gather round cause it is time that we hold a class about this technology that is taking the world by storm!

Necessary clarifications

First things first — What *is* ‘serverless’?

Some say that the term ‘serverless’ was introduced in 2015, however, the truth is that the first appearance of the term was in 2012 in  Ken Fromm’s article Why The Future Of Software And Apps Is Serverless.

When it comes to defining serverless, ThoughtWorks uses the term:

A serverless architecture approach replaces long-running virtual machines with ephemeral compute power that comes into existence on request and disappears immediately after use.

To put it more simply, Tecnopedia defines serverless computing as “a type of cloud computing where the customer does not have to provision servers for the back-end code to run on, but accesses services as they are needed. Instead, the cloud provider starts and stops a container platform as a service as requests come in and the provider bills accordingly.”

However, we should clarify that ‘serverless’ it’s a pretty bad name for it! If we want to put it more accurately, we would have to use terms like ‘Functions as a Service’ (FaaS) or ‘event-driven computing’.

Serverless is steadily becoming the absolute trend and it offers amazing possibilities. Nonetheless, there are a couple of things that serverless is *not* but it may be confused to. For reasons of clarity:

  • Serverless is not a container
  • Serverless is not a PaaS

Higher than the clouds

So, the evolutionary path goes somewhat like this :


As the experts put it, serverless is the next abstraction of cloud computing. With serverless computing, developers can execute code that write using only the precise amount of compute resources needed to complete the task. No more, no less.

And since we have already covered the history of cloud computing, we will refer you back to class no. 4 for further information on the steps that proceeded the birth of serverless!

Event-driven future?

The future of serverless is really not that crystal clear. Is it going to take over the tech world or is it just a passing trend?

Debates have been going on and on especially in the ‘containers’ context – Are these two technologies competing with each other or complimenting each other?

Well, lucky for you this months issue of JAX mag is *all* about this debate!

For example, Jesse Butler from Oracle talks about what makes serverless a good cloud native choice, while Chip Childers, CTO of Cloud Foundry Foundation gives us a tour of what’s included in the era of cloud computing. Sascha Möllering of Amazon Web Services explains why deciding between serverless and containers isn’t just an either/or question and GitLab’s Priyanka Sharma demonstrates why enterprises should move their operations onto Kubernetes and how this can reduce operational costs of all kinds.

You can download the last issue here for free!

Miss a week of class? We’ve got your make-up work right here. Check out other chapters in our Know Your History series!



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