Did You Want a Side of Serverless BS With Your Software, or Hardware FUD?
It's not enough to say ''serverless'' and stop thinking. Software needs hardware, and vice versa, so add some context to the conversation.
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Did you want a side of SLBS (serverless BS) with your software or hardware FUD?
A few years ago, a popular industry buzzword term theme included serverless and hardwareless.
It turns out, serverless and hardwareless are still trendy, and while some might view the cloud or software-defined data center (SDDC) virtualization, or IoT folks as the culprits, it is more widespread, with plenty of bandwagon riders. SLBS can span from IoT to mobile, VDI, and workspace clients (zero or similar), workstations, server, storage, networks. To me, what’s ironic is that many purveyors of of SLBS also like to talk about hardware.
What's the Issue With SLBS?
Simple: On the one hand, there is no such thing as software that does not need hardware somewhere in the stack. Second, many purveyors of SLBS are solutions that, in the past, would have been called shrink-wrap. Thirdly, IMHO SLBS tends to take away from the real benefit or story of some solutions that can also prompt questions or thoughts of whether there are other FUD (fear uncertainty doubt) or MUD (marketing uncertainty doubt). Dare to be different, give some context about what your serverless means, as opposed to being lumped in with other SLBS followers.
Moving Beyond SLBS
Can we move beyond the SLBS and focus on what the software or solution does, enables, its value proposition, etc. instead of how it is dressed, packaged, or wrapped?
I don't think it matters who or why SLBS appeared or even that it exists. It's more important to clarify what it means and what it does not mean, adding some context. For example, you can acquire (buy, rent, subscribe) software without a server (or hardware). Likewise, you can get the software that comes bundled prepackaged with hardware (e.g. tin-wrapped), or via a cloud or other service.
The software can be shrink wrapped, virtual wrapped, or download to run on a bare metal physical machine, cloud, container, or VMs. The key is the context: Does the software come with or without hardware? This is an important point in that the software can be serverless (e.g. does not come with, or depend on specific hardware), or, it can be bundled, converged (CI), or hyper-converged, (HCI), among other package options.
Software needs hardware, hardware need software, both get defined and wrapped
All software requires some hardware somewhere in the stack. Even virtual, container, cloud, and yes, software-defined anything requires hardware. What’s different is how much hardware is needed, where it is located, how is it is used, consumed, paid for as well as what the software that it enables.
What's the Point?
There are applications, solutions, and various software that use fewer servers, less hardware, or runs somewhere else where the hardware, including servers, are in the stack. Until the next truly industry revolutionary technology occurs, which I think will be software that no longer requires any hardware (or marketing-ware) in the stack, and hardware that no longer needs any software in the stack, hardware will continue to need software and vice versa.
This is where the marketing-ware (not to be confused with valueware) comes into play with a response along the lines of clouds and virtual servers or containers eliminating the need for hardware. That would be correct with some context in that clouds, virtual machines, containers, and other software-defined entities still need some hardware somewhere in the stack. Sure there can be less hardware including servers at a given place. Hardware still needs software, and the software still needs hardware somewhere in the stack.
Data Infrastructure stack layers (hardware and software get defined with increasing value)
Show me some software that does not need any hardware anywhere in the stack, and I will either show you something truly industry unique — or something that may be an addition to the SLBS list.
Add some context to what you are saying; some examples include that your software:
- works with your existing hardware (or software).
- does not need you to buy new or extra hardware.
- can run on the cloud, virtual, container, or physical.
- requires fewer servers, less hardware, less cloud, container or virtual resources.
- is the focus being compatible with various data infrastructure resources.
- can be deployed and packaged as shrink-wrap, tin-wrapped or download.
- is packaged and marketed with less FUD, or, FUDless if you prefer.
In other words, dare to be different, stand out, articulate your value proposition, and add some context instead of following behind the SLBS crowd.
What This All Means
Watch out for getting hung up on or pulled into myths about serverless or hardwareless, at least until hardware no longer needs software and software no longer needs hardware somewhere in the stack. The other point is to look for solutions that enable more effective (not just efficient or utilization) use of hardware (as well as software license) resources. Effective meaning more productive, getting more value and benefit without introducing bottlenecks, errors, or rework.
The focus does not have to be eliminating hardware (or software), rather, how to get more value out of hardware costs (up front and recurring maintenance) as well as software licenses (and their maintenance, among other fees). This also applies to cloud and service providers, how to get more value and benefit, removing complexity (and costs will follow), as opposed to simply cutting and compromising.
Next time somebody says serverless or hardwareless, ask them if they mean fewer servers, less hardware, making more effective (and efficient) use of those resources, or if they mean no hardware or servers. If the latter, then ask them where their software will run. If they say cloud, virtual or container, no worries, at least then you know where the servers and hardware are located. Oh, and by the way, just for fun, watch for vendors who like to talk serverless or hardware less yet like to talk about hardware.
Ok, nuff said for now…
Where to Learn More
Published at DZone with permission of Greg Schulz, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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