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Digital transformation finance, what you need to understand

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A lot of people link digital transformation and serverless with low cost. Those who have experienced the benefits of a serverless mindset and approach know its true value. Digital transformation finance involves Total Cost of ownership (TCO). And using a serverless approach will save you money for many use cases.

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Traditionally organizations spend a lot to keep their data centers and systems available. They use this money to patch and secure their systems. And keep them resilient, performing well, and operating effectively. Cloud and serverless have changed this picture. Those responsibilities have moved to the cloud provider. 

Shared responsibility model for AWS Lambda

Digital transformation finance drives the pace of evolution

You can offload a portion of your code liability to the cloud provider by taking a serverless approach.

The cloud provider is constantly evolving its ecosystem and adding new features and capabilities. They can be leveraged by you. It is even easier to take advantage of these improvements with a serverless team.

You are able to tap into an evolving ecosystem in step with customer needs. And competition from other cloud providers drives continuous improvements. If you are abstracted from the ecosystem, digital transformation finance is more costly.

Leveraging managed services

You are able to leverage AWS managed services and not write custom code:

https://docs.aws.amazon.com/lambda/latest/operatorguide/services-custom-code.html

CategoryAWS Service
ComputeAWS Lambda
Data storageAmazon S3
Amazon DynamoDB
Amazon RDS
APIAmazon API Gateway
Application IntegrationAmazon EventBridge
Amazon SNS
Amazon SQS
OrchestrationAWS Step Functions
Stream data and analyticsAmazon Kinesis Data Firehose
Common AWS services used instead of code
PatternAWS service
QueueAmazon SQS
Event busAmazon EventBridge
Publish/subscribe (fan-out)Amazon SNS
OrchestrationAWS Step Functions
APIAmazon API Gateway
Event streamsAmazon Kinesis
AWS Services used to implement patterns

Public cloud providers like AWS, Google or Azure offer the best platform team, if you enable your teams to use them.  You may need a platform capability depending on the size of your org. You can lower cognitive burden and establish guardrails. And set up good patterns and practices for your product or customer aligned teams. You evolve your stack and get maximum serverless advantage.

The ephemeral nature of a serverless approach means that the solution is usually executed from scratch. The code doesn’t get stagnant, degrade or fall behind in patches. This can prevent a static security attack target. It takes advantage of underlying improvements from the cloud provider. With good observability and CI/CD pipelines, you can quickly identify and fix any issues. 

Finance digital transformation to remove liabilities

With Amazon API Gateway REST APIs integrates with Step Functions Synchronous Express Workflows, serverless teams can remove proxy lambda code between their API gateway and step functions express workflows.  This removes a code liability. And improves performance as there is no lambda to execute to perform the proxy capability. And it enhances security posture. With less code, there is less risk. It lowers cognitive burden for their team. As you have less moving parts and components to worry about. And it cuts down on lambda runtime execution costs. 

Developers are one of your highest costs. Making them more effective is a massive cost-saving approach for digital transformation finance.

Meltdown and spectre vulnerabilities have led to IT organizations scrambling to patch their non-serverless solutions (EC2, AMI, on-prem, etc.). This non-differentiating work costs a significant amount of money. AWS have patched Lambda and Fargate. AWS customers have avoided that cost and stress. And they have spent that time delivering features and value to differentiate their business.

https://aws.amazon.com/security/security-bulletins/AWS-2018-013/

Updates to other AWS services

The following services required patching of EC2 instances managed on behalf of customers, have completed all work, and no customer action is required:

Fargate

Lambda

Unless otherwise discussed below, all other AWS services do not require customer action.

Processor Speculative Execution Research Disclosure

How much is this peace of mind worth to your organization? 

And how much would a security breach cost your organization?

A word about vendor lock-in.

I hear you cry: ‘what about vendor lock-in? With serverless, you’re locked in to the cloud provider ecosystem. What if they hike up the prices?’.

The Price Reduction | AWS News Blog shows the deep commitment to and consistency of price drops across the AWS ecosystem. This goes back many years.  I don’t foresee this tend changing with AWS Leadership Principles and continued customer obsession.

What about switching costs?

Don’t be concerned about switching costs. You can move well-architected serverless solutions to a different cloud provider. And you incur less cost compared with architecting and running a “portable” abstracted, non-locked-in solution from scratch.  With a serverless approach, you maximize the amount of work not done:

True #serverless solutions will never be multi-cloud or hybrid. They’ll never be platform agnostic.

What’s the real point?

A well-architected serverless solution will save on digital transformation finance.

And a serverless approach frees more of your organization resource to focus on improving time to value. You can delight your customers with awesome features and capabilities. Platform-aligned teams can focus on new and differentiated capabilities to enable your customer-facing teams. It helps you prevent the costs of future problems. The cloud provider is working on your behalf.

Complex distributed systems need the right expertise!

Takeaways

  • A Well Architected Serverless Solution will save you money
  • TCO is more important than raw compute costs
  • Leverage Serverless and Managed Services for maximum benefit
  • Lock yourself in to take advantage of the evolution of the cloud provider capabilities
  • Development teams are your most significant Cost; optimize them for high performance.
  • A Well Architected Serverless First mindset and approach will help you sleep better at night 🙂

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