Srinath Perera


Let’s Examine the Future of Serverless

Let’s start with a million dollar question: Can serverless live up to the expectations?

The answer decides and informs the strategies of many organizations.

This post answers the question using “Emerging Technology Analysis Canvas (ETAC),” a framework built to analyze emerging technologies. What is ETAC? It is a set of questions that probe the technology arranged around a logical narrative. It represents different aspects of technology visually on a single page. The visual representation is concise, compact, and comprehensible in a glance.

Serverless Analysis Canvas

The following canvas depicts serverless analysis. The canvas is read from left to right and top to bottom.

For a detailed discussion of the canvas please refer to Serverless Technology Outlook.

Summary of the Canvas

Following is a 10,000-foot outline of the canvas.

At the top-leftmost cell, the opportunity tries to understand the lay of the land. Amazon lambda providing FaaS as a very competitive price triggered Serverless. Soon others followed. Key players are IBM. Microsoft, Google, Amazon. It is built on top of the success of cloud computing.

At the macro level, serverless creates two network effects. The following pictures show those network effects.

Serverless Network Effects

Furthermore, because serverless abstracts and hides the complexity of real-world systems, organizations that use serverless get agility, reduced cost, and cost transparency.

As shown by the top-rightmost cell, Serverless has problems and challenges. However, despite those challenges, many use cases are still feasible. It is easy to learn, and there are a lot of developers who can program with it.

Moreover, the lack of standards and vendor lock-in are risks. However, the cloud had the same and yet won. Likely the same will happen with serverless as well.

Considering all these factors, serverless future looks promising. We think in 3–5 years most new applications will use serverless.

More Information

You can find a detailed analysis of the serverless canvas from Serverless Technology Outlook Document.

Also, you can find more information about ETAC from ETAC Specification @Github. Please consider helping us improve ETAC and Serverless outlook by sharing your thoughts and feedback via or GitHub issue.

To receive updates to ETAC and ETAC based emerging technology analysis, please subscribe to our Global Technology Outlook Updates Newsletter.

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