A techy bedtime story: The tale of wizards, caves and how Serverless came to be

We’ve noticed interesting threads floating around the internet asking how would you explain serverless to a toddler. As it happens, we just turned three years old and to mark the occasion, we decided to take up the challenge and wrote a bedtime story, for serverless enthusiasts of all ages, about how serverless came to be, from the very beginning. It is a magical tale of the ingenious, life-changing journey that got us to a new universe called Serverless. A special one, full of unbelievable ideas and imaginations, and some mighty wizards who made dreams and fantasies come true. So, tuck yourself in for this wild, technologically-magical ride.

Once upon a time in a free land far far away, there was an outlandish idea by a small group of wizards for remote computers to be accessed through a network. Many citizens of Earth didn’t think this was possible because computers stood alone and never spoke to one another, but this first assembly of wizards conjured their toughest spells to defy all the odds and overcame plenty of trials and failures eventually creating ARPANET. This became the world’s very first wide area packet switching network with distributed control, and also the first to implement the TCP/IP protocol suite. It was to change the world forever.

Decades later, when ARPANET became more popular and understood by the layman, a young wizard called Tim Berners-Lee (AKA The Great Wizard Tim) living on a nearby island used its magic to create the World Wide Web. The Web was a shiny new system, which used hypertext to interlink magical documents and other important resources. The Great Wizard Tim created Earth’s first web browser and built HTTP, HTML and the first HTTP server software and web server. It had already shown that communication between far reaching lands was quicker than the use of floating satellites. This then became The Internet; the ultimate magic trick for communication was unleashed upon Earth.

The new use of these browsers meant information could be shared between computers from entirely different lands! The wizards started using it avidly to exchange and learn more about new spells. The new technology also brought on the PC era, where sharing and communication would extend to even the homes of Earth’s citizens - no longer just for the mightiest wizards. But more was needed to start bigger projects and ideas for the wizards wanted even greater change.

Not too long after, resourceful collections of citizens created co-location caves, which were filled with bare metal. These computer servers were big, power-sucking monstrous giants needing networks and the metallic caves were the places for them to sit and work for tribes of all natures and projects. Colo sites filled a great void for the much needed expansion and space but they were expensive to find and keep; when it came to the monstrous giants and their hardware options and the maintenance for them, the caves proved inefficient. Hardware costs a lot of gold coins, needed shipping and installing, and also needed tribes to guess how many they would need in the future - tribes are clever but they can’t predict the future! Then came installing and configuring operating systems, tools for remote management and the installation of software for the application and the application code itself. (Phew! I’m just tired thinking of all of that!)

This way of living became out of control for tribes who needed hundreds or thousands of server monsters because more and more of Earth’s citizens were using The Internet; system failures, maintenance and gold coins spent on hardware were going through the roof. Soon enough though, the Virtualization spell came to save the day. Virtual Machines (VM) use one server monster for multiple environments meaning that hardware could be put to more efficient use; all management and deployment of servers was simplified and even better, security improved because of the separation of environments. In this new era, you would simply request a new instance and it’d be implemented!

So now the big clunkiness of gigantic metal monsters was taken out of the equation a bit, there was still the lengthy time it took to install and deploy software. The Internet was being used by everyone in this time and more of Earth’s citizens were demanding faster applications and more of them. It came time for wizarding giants to go above Earth and use The Cloud. The Public Cloud wizards took VM further by taking away hardware entirely and utilizing The Internet’s great speed. IaaS and PaaS meant that, for the first time, infrastructure like that in a colo cave and basic software infrastructure for platforms for a tribe’s application were entirely managed. GAME. CHANGER. AGAIN.

Without the need to manage their own hardware and software capabilities, tribes started using The Cloud to easily and quickly scale upwards, sideways as well as downwards to change their infrastructure as the demand changed. Gold coins and precious energy were saved! What soon became clear however was the need for Containers, which hold the entire runtime environment for an application. By keeping everything needed in one place, changes to other systems and the underlying infrastructure wouldn’t affect the application. The wizards at Docker made the use of Containers even easier to apply and to move, if tribes decided to use other IaaS or PaaS.

Soon after, the Wizard Giant AWS along with fellow giants Microsoft and Google presented to citizens and tribes alike a whole new universe called Serverless, which they’d been building for some time. Wizard Giant AWS created AWS Lambda - the first service within the whole new universe of Serverless. Many tribes decided to take the leap and make the move to the new universe as it was much more comfortable and happier for everyday living. They could focus only on what they loved doing, writing code for their application, because their architecture was now run in stateless containers triggered by events, all of which are managed by the Wizard Giants themselves.

Tribes today have entirely changed their way of living and working as the Serverless Universe gets bigger and becomes more encompassing; more agile, quicker, efficient builds and deployments can now be executed. As with any new way of life, the tribes are learning to adapt and make use of the new benefits and let go of old habits but the Serverless Universe is the starry sky they all wished. Many of them have already found and use the powerful all-seeing platform called Dashbird, offering a map to help them navigate this new land and other necessary tools to observe the beauty of it - it means they can live even more happily ever after!

A collection of lessons learned at Dashbird after working with 4,000+ customers and 300,000+ Lambda functions

Write for us!

We're looking for developers to share their experience with serverless.

Emails and pull requests welcome!

Start using Dashbird for free!

Failure detection, analytics and visibility for serverless applications in under 5 minutes.

Request Demo