CI/CD / Cloud Native / Kubernetes / Programming Languages / Serverless

A Candid Assessment from The New York Times CTO with Serverless and the 1990s in Mind

22 Feb 2018 1:00pm, by

New York Times Chief Technology Officer Nick Rockwell is a believer in serverless technologies. He has been since the 1990s when he was using content delivery networks (CDN). In this interview for The New Stack Makers podcast, Rockwell asserts CDNs were designed to abstract the complexity of scaling and distributing loads much as serverless technologies promise today.

Currently, the Times is using Kubernetes as the default target for most apps.

Today’s serverless environments are a way to get organizations out of the business of scaling their own infrastructure. And that’s very true for the New York Times. But there is confusion and it’s unfortunate for Rockwell. There is this confluence of serverless and function-as-a-service technologies that creates distortion and may even be affecting developer adoption. This may also correlate when considering overall market growth in terms of developer time spent on serverless application projects.

The focus is mostly on Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform for The New York Times. Currently, the Times is using Kubernetes as the default target for most apps. But he says he is still a bit sheepish, saying that there is still the matter of abstracting the operating system environment. It’s still a good first step. He awaits the day when even the tool chains are abstracted and made serverless.

In the meantime, container management technologies have potential as a way to really achieve the promise that serverless offers. And that’s what makes this time may be so fascinating. Serverless Kubernetes deployments may be one of the most exciting developments, pointing to opportunities for tool chains that are indeed abstracted and auto-deployed.

In This Edition:

7:09: Serverless architectures in the late 1990s.
11:44: Exploring the three core types of serverless offerings and how the New York Times assessed those different offerings and is building out its serverless architecture.
18:38: What are some of the core features the New York Times is looking for and would like in serverless architectures now?
24:36: The complexity in application architectures and the more complex types of call patterns.
26:35: Internal issues with the change in mindset that comes with serverless architectures.
31:57: How serverless architectures with continuous development and continuous deployment.

Feature image via Pixabay.

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