Serverless Heroes Down Under — Stackery Visits Australia!

Farrah Campbell

Last week I was battling jet lag and this week, an inbox of unanswered emails. But I'm also marveling at the quality of the AWS community all over the world. I had the privilege of speaking at  ServerlessDays Sydney the week before last, and along with the amazing conference talks, I also got to see firsthand just how much of the globe is involved in pushing forward serverless using AWS technology and how excited they were to share what they were learning.

In other words, my trip to Oceania was well worth the trans-global disorientation!

What did learn about serverless in Australia? Fundamentally in Australia (and the whole region), technology adoption is community-oriented. I found knowledge and experience are treated very highly and shared with respect. When something both important and helpful like serverless comes on the scene, the first few people who try it out are eager to spread their knowledge and successes with lots of developers ready to listen. In this community, a new paradigm that "just works" spreads like wildfire.

A Recap of an Amazing Conference 

I had a great time and while I don't have the space to go over every talk, these had lessons I think everyone should hear:

  • Ben Kehoe's keynote laid out something that we've all had on our minds: serverless should be about providing business value through better tooling. Serverless is a mindset and not a particular set of tools (related: my colleague Toby wrote about how serverless is not a technology last month). The serverless methodology means every team member should understand their role in the organization and how they can build business value.

  • Dale Salter shared how A Cloud Guru started used serverless architecture from its inception and went on to provide details about their particular architecture. He shared their two biggest challenges for Serverless Infrastructures and how they solved them. Latency was solved through data replication, limiting the amount of Lambda-to-Lambda invokes, hitting third party services directly when possible, and avoiding VPC-specific services.

  • Denis Bauer, Head of Cloud Computing Bioinformatics at CSIRO, explained how they've adopted serverless architecture in order to exchange human genomic information and shared their amazing cost savings from $714 to $20 and then optimized even further down to $2.50, along with their multi-cloud approach. This was really impressive to see. It definitely gave me hope for all that is to come for the Serverless Ecosystem!

But I had to give my talk, too

If you want to see slides from "A Serverless State of Mind"' it's available as a PDF here.

After every talk, there's a certain "blackout" feeling: was that 45 minutes? Did I sound okay? Did anyone get anything from it? What did I even say? Did that resonate with anyone? Then, I started to see the tweets:

If you ever see a talk and think the speaker did a good job, I assure that if you let them know they'll be enormously grateful and you will be gifting them with the reassurance of a job well done.

When I was finally offstage, the amazing ServerlessDays team handed me a sweet hat. Speaker gifts can feel silly in concept but in practice, they give a really nice feeling of belonging and punctuation to the experience and I absolutely loved mine and was ecstatic to wear it around town for the remainder of my trip.

Community is key

AWS Community Day in Melbourne got me especially excited to meet others in the ecosystem. From the second Aileen Gemma Smith opened the event, it felt warm, inclusive and welcoming. I was grateful to see a vast range of people who are taking AWS technology and pushing forward what's possible.

I also got the chance to meet Jeff Barr and Fran Arrigo, among other leaders from AWS. With each conversation I had, they all had the same message: community and sharing knowledge is the key to serverless success.

But for me, the biggest thrill of the trip was getting to spend some time meeting AWS User Group leaders from the Asia-Pacific region. They were all there to meet for a few days to share learnings and best practices from their community groups with the other leaders.

The entire concept of AWS community groups and events started in Japan with Jaws, and it was a great reminder that the dev community in the US is just a tiny piece of the picture. Serverless is after all a best practice and not a single tool, so community events are the place where we'll see the real serverless revolution.

One of the highlights was taking a trip on the Great Ocean Road, with this entire group. We got a chance to talk about our experiences in this rapidly-changing tech landscape.

So thank you AWS community, thank you ServerlessDays and the amazing volunteers, and thank you to Sydney! The serverless community is lucky to have all of you and, personally, I'm excited to learn from my new friends down under!

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