Engineering the Future of Software
Feb 25–26, 2018: Training
Feb 26–28, 2018: Tutorials & Conference
New York, NY

Mostly serverless

John Chapin (Symphonia)
2:15pm–3:05pm Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Secondary topics:  Best Practice, Case Study
Average rating: ***..
(3.33, 6 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Architects, engineers, and executives

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Familiarity with cloud architecture (useful but not required)

What you'll learn

  • Learn a set of holistic technical and team approaches that use a serverless mindset to open up cutting-edge architectural opportunities, even without using any strictly serverless technology


For those of us in the serverless community, technologies like AWS Lambda, API Gateway, and the Serverless Application Model seem like old hat. We’ve built and scaled applications, dealt with the idiosyncrasies, and espoused the value of a serverless approach for the past couple of years. However, for many large enterprises, a serverless transformation (or even a proof of concept) is still years away. But many of these more cautious companies are already dabbling in a serverless world, without even realizing it.

John Chapin shares the true story of an enterprise IT organization for which a potent combination of “mostly serverless” technology and a DevOps mindset have laid the groundwork for a future serverless transformation. John explains the latent serverless properties of legacy AWS services like S3, EC2, and Elastic Beanstalk and shows that while all those technologies don’t necessarily meet the strict criteria for truly serverless systems, they can still be used in a “mostly serverless” manner. For example, treating EC2 instances as stateless, ephemeral components means that, from an architectural perspective, they are interchangeable, and you can simply deploy code to them with little or no manual system configuration or tweaking. And, of course, S3 is one of the original serverless services.

Photo of John Chapin

John Chapin


John Chapin is a cofounder of Symphonia, an expert consultancy based in New York City that helps companies of all sizes use serverless and cloud technology to deliver value quickly and effectively. Along with Symphonia cofounder Mike Roberts, John authored the O’Reilly report What Is Serverless? His and Mike’s highly regarded talks and workshops are regularly featured at conferences such as the O’Reilly Software Architecture Conference, the O’Reilly Velocity Conference, OSCON, QCon, ServerlessConf, and AWS re:Invent. John can be reached at