Function as a Service

Trevor Orsztynowicz

Websites have gone from hand-typed static pages, to massive applications with every feature under the moon. Most applications have some secret sauce that does magical things in the background - whether that be the ability to handle massive amounts of volume, reduce the barrier to entry into a market, or just keep users engaged by providing endless amounts of quick short updates.

Take Amazon as an example. Amazon operates their environment as a bunch of different groups, each running different services within the same company. S3, EC2, Payment Services. They’re all independent, highly scalable functions, tied together in the application we call

Companies and startups are starting to break this operational model open, and putting those individual functions online for everyone. They’re building services that do something really well - or rather that do one thing really really well. They’re companies that focus on a specific function or feature and are open enough so creative people can say “I’m going to take this, this, and this - mix it in a pot and voila!”.

Do you want to build your own Twitter? Find an SMS gateway, Cloud Computing Host and XMPP service provider.

Do you want to build an interesting RSS/ATOM service? Find an RSS aggregator service and pour on some glue - see what sticks.

It’s Function as a Service world (to use an already overused description). Eventually cloud companies will realize that doing one thing really really well is tremendously valuable. Why does everyone have to build their own DNS service? Why does everyone have to build their own hosting system? What about Enterprise Storage, Authentication, SMS Gateways, Massively scalable XMPP services? How come I have to do that myself? Can 10,000 messages sent through a jabber server be worth a dollar? I think it can (maybe the math needs adjusting but you get my point). We’re all really just building a massive computer called the internet, only with each big trend we replace ‘The Internet’ with something else. First it was ‘The Web’, then it was ‘Web 2.0′, and now its ‘The Cloud’.

The fact of the matter remains - the further along we go the more tightly knit the internet becomes, and that means that theres opportunity for programmable white label services to propel us further and faster.