The Architect platform can automatically deploy a service onto the Amazon Web Services’ Lambda, by processing a simple text file with an .arc extension that describes how to run the function on the serverless code-execution service.
By deploying Lambda, developers can reduce the amount of time it takes to send updates to their production system, according to Brian LeRoux, Chief Technology Officer of Small Wins, the company behind Begin.com.
This project, originally known as simply “Lambdas,” has evolved over the last two years as a response to LeRoux’s desire to increase agility and velocity at Small Wins.
“Our entire application is now serverless, and runs in the cloud, and we’re pretty stoked about that,” said LeRoux. “Our original prototype was not great: It was only three servers and typically a rolling deploy would take upwards of half an hour. That’s bad when you find a critical bug. Our deploys now are roughly 10 seconds.”
The .arc file may look something like this:
# this is an .arc file @app testapp @html get / get /hellos post /hello
Running npm run create from the command line generates cloud function code on the developer’s machine:
/ |-- src | `-- html | |-- get-index/ | |-- get-hellos/ | `-- post-hello/ |-- .arc `-- package.json
Another npm command, deploy, ships the code to the cloud.
Cloud functions, he said, is essentially another way of looking at cloud resources: “Cloud functions are a whole new beast. The metaphor of a server doesn’t serve us well at all anymore.” Rather than thinking about adding servers to an application cluster, the vision is to simply add functions which can automatically be scaled by the hosting provider.
“We adopted cloud technologies wholesale really early, and we ran into a lot of problems. No matter what you do, you need to automate your pipeline,” said LeRoux. “We knew cloud functions were going to be big when we started Begin.com. To enter the technology market these days, you have to be 10 times better than the competition to survive. One way to do that is to bring new technology to bear on that tech. ”
In the field of managing serverless cloud computing infrastructure, LeRoux said the choices are currently limited. “Amazon is my favorite. They’ve been doing it for quite a while.”