Article Review - You are thinking about serverless costs all wrong

AWSStrategyReviewDaily Email

Every now and again, I’d like to share a short article review with you from others in the serverless community. These will be pieces that I refer to often, either for inspiration or reference, some will be technical, others will be more strategic.

Today’s article is You are thinking about serverless costs all wrong, by Yan Cui.

You should read this if you want to convince colleagues, peers or clients of the benefits of adopting a serverless-first approach to building and operating software systems.

The core point Yan makes here is that the cost to an organisation of the salaries of engineers building a software app will vastly outweigh the costs in the AWS bill for said app for the large majority of apps.

And yet most of discussions I hear about serverless costs are fixated on the latter. Yes, cloud bills are more measurable, particularly so with serverless applications whose costs can be tied directly to usage levels.

But think of your total costs as the iceberg metaphor — the cloud bill is the short peak above the surface and the people costs are the huge mass beneath.

Yan explains:

“Let’s take a moment to consider our Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
“There are the charges that go into your monthly AWS bill. Service costs, data transfers, etc. This cost is easy to measure, and is too often the only thing we measure when it comes to cost.
“Yet, it often pales in comparison with engineer salaries. On average, a software engineer in London can earn around £80,000 a year, which is roughly $100,000. For sought-after skills such as AWS and DevOps you might even have to tap into the contractor market. A contractor with AWS and DevOps experience can set you back anything between £550 and £800 per day!”

Make sure you check out the full article, in particular for the great diagrams that really drive home the point.

Here’s the link again.

— Paul.

Originally published February 14, 2020.

Other articles you might enjoy:

Free Email Course

How to transition your team to a serverless-first mindset

In this 5-day email course, you’ll learn:

  • Lesson 1: Why serverless is inevitable
  • Lesson 2: How to identify a candidate project for your first serverless application
  • Lesson 3: How to compose the building blocks that AWS provides
  • Lesson 4: Common mistakes to avoid when building your first serverless application
  • Lesson 5: How to break ground on your first serverless project