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Does Moore’s Law formula apply to Serverless?

Gordon Moore, Intel co-founder and creator of Moore’s Law, died earlier this year at 94. He was one of Intel’s co-founders and became chairman and CEO of the company in 1979, serving as CEO for eight years.

Gordon Moore of Moore's Law
“Gordon Moore was an amazing innovator, businessman, and philanthropist.”, Bill Gates.

While Moore played a significant role in developing the tech that powers modern computing devices, many people will also be familiar with his name because of “Moore’s Law”. His 1965 Moore’s Law formula predicted that processors would roughly double the transistor count yearly. A decade later (1975), he changed his estimate to one doubling every two years. The law is still valid, but experts have predicted it may slow in the 2020s.

Moore’s Law: The number of transistors on microchips doubles every two years:

Moore's Law Formula
Data Source: Wikipedia

In 2015, when a journalist asked him about Moore’s law, he said, “Once I made a successful prediction, I avoided making another,” according to a statement from The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Serverless leverages Moore’s Law

While Moore’s law has been instrumental in driving advancements in computing power and cost, it is not directly related to serverless. However, serverless does leverage the benefits of Moore’s law by allowing developers to take advantage of the increasing computing power of the modern cloud and the cost savings that come with it.

At The Serverless Edge, we are fans of Moore’s law, as it demonstrates that being on the edge of innovation means rapid advancement – the flywheel is constantly getting faster. The modern cloud is on a similar trajectory, maturing into its powerhouse.

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels articulates a very similar perspective by insisting that the “cloud” is not a technology but a “way of doing things” that must be “defined by its benefits.” He lists four benefits that he sees as hallmarks of cloud computing:

  1. lower costs,
  2. increased agility,
  3. letting someone else do the heavy lifting,
  4. and the ability to build new architectures.

The tip of the spear

Phil Le-Brun echoed this sentiment at ServerlessDays Belfast. Phil is the director of the enterprise strategy team for AWS. He often speaks to C-level executives about the cloud, giving him a unique perspective.

He says only 5-10% of workloads are in the cloud. And of those workloads, only a minority are serverless. We are at the tip of the spear of where things are going. And to embrace it and keep pushing.

Unlike Gordon Moore and Intel, the modern cloud is more than just making technology exponentially efficient. The Modern Cloud requires commitment and input from people to reach the exponential improvements of Moore’s law.

As software engineers, our job is not to write code but to help the business. Ben Kehoe, the previous lead researcher at iRobot, once said, “The point is not functions, managed services, operations, cost, code, or technology. The point is focus—the ‘why’ of serverless.”

Again, this bares repeating, so let’s break that down:

  • Functions are not the point.
  • Managed services are not the point.
  • NoOps is not the point.
  • Cost is not the point.
  • Code is not the point.
  • Technology is not the point.
  • Events are not the point.
  • Architecture is not the point.
  • Mapping is not the point. 
  • Data is not the point.
  • Innovation is not the point.
  • Even sustainability is not the point!

Serverless is a consequence of focusing on business value and offloading everything else (infrastructure and operations, for example). Serverless-first should remind you to “not sweat the small stuff”—focus on your business and delivering value to your customers instead. 

The power of the cloud is at your fingertips. You have the skills and the business problem. Do not tolerate any slowdown. 

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