Interview with JAX London speaker Bart Blommaerts

“Serverless can enable new and disruptive business ideas”

Gabriela Motroc
Bart Blommaerts

In recent years, the uprise of the cloud has brought us a lot of new and disruptive technologies. Everybody is talking about SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and other sorts of aaS. We talked to Bart Blommaerts, JAX London speaker and chairman of the different JWorks Competence Center Leads at Ordina, about the benefits of serverless computing and the reasons why companies should jump on the serverless computing bandwagon.

In 2014, Amazon launched AWS Lambda as the pinnacle of the cloud computing; it allows developers to focus on code, without spending time on managing servers. In this interview, Bart Blommaerts, JAX London speaker and chairman of the different JWorks Competence Center Leads at Ordina, presents the benefits of serverless computing and the reasons why companies should jump on the serverless computing bandwagon.   

JAXenter: What is the biggest benefit of serverless computing?

Bart Blommaerts: A major benefit of serverless computing is reduced cost. In a serverless system, the operational management of your servers is the responsibility of your cloud provider.

As a consumer, there is no (direct) cost to the operational management because you pay per execution of your serverless function. This advantage is even more apparent when you consider horizontal scaling of applications. This makes serverless functions a good match for experimentation, occasional requests, inconsistent traffic etc.

Another advantage of serverless computing is simplification. Developers don’t need to worry about maintaining the servers. The cloud provider will also define deployment requirements, which most of the time are very simple: write some Node.js, upload, done.

None of [cloud providers] want to miss the serverless bandwagon.

JAXenter: How important is it for companies to jump on the serverless computing bandwagon?

Bart Blommaerts: Serverless is still very new. This means that tooling is not very mature yet. However, this disadvantage provides a lot of opportunities to gain a competitive advantage. Contributing to tools such as the Serverless Framework can be very rewarding. Contributors can really influence the next evolutionary step of cloud computing.

All major cloud providers (Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, Google Cloud, AWS, …) are investing in this technology and making sure their existing cloud suite can integrate with serverless computing. This proves its importance. None of them want to miss the serverless bandwagon. Since many of these solutions are still in alpha or beta, you may even impact the final version.

JAXenter: The serverless movement is a major buzzword these days. Why is that?

Bart Blommaerts: Serverless is definitely the buzzword of the moment. I think there are three reasons for that:

  1. Reduced cost: The pay-per-execution model is very attractive. It allows experimentation beyond what is possible in other models. I believe serverless can enable new and disruptive business ideas.
  2. Focus on simplicity: By changing the way they think about servers, developers can focus on writing applications. Patching, configuring middleware and databases and support are now services provided by a cloud vendor.
  3. Serverless gets a lot of support from the technology leaders in our industry. For example, Adrian Cockcroft’s keynote at the SpringOne Platform, popular articles on Martin Fowler’s blog, dedicated conferences etc.

JAXenter: Do “serverless” and “NoOps” go hand in hand or was it just a popular opinion at one point?

Bart Blommaerts: Serverless does not mean No Operations. It might mean that Operations is outsourced to a team with specialised skills, but we are still going to need monitoring, security, remote debugging etc. This article by Charity Majors is recommended for those who want to learn more about this topic.

JAXenter: Why should people come to your session?

Bart Blommaerts: The goal of my talk is not only to introduce the serverless architecture style, but also to present demos of different cloud providers. The talk should be easy enough for everyone to understand, but it should also provide new insights for an experienced audience. My session will conclude with best practices and lessons learned.

Thank you very much!

Bart Blommaerts will be delivering one talk at JAX London in which he will introduce the serverless architecture style. The talk will conclude with best practices on how to use these serverless functions.

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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