Serverless computing benefits with Tejas Gadhia from Zoho
|Richard Harris in DevOps Monday, November 11, 2019|
Tejas Gadhia, head of unified development platform product management at Zoho, discusses the benefits of working in a serverless environment, how developers should approach privacy and security, and why a solid foundation helps them achieve scale.
Serverless computing has changed the way apps and services are both built and consumed. With the recent rollout of its serverless platform, Catalyst, Zoho aims to take that a step further thanks to a unified technology stack and underlying framework built over the course of the past two decades. Developers understand that serverless computing eliminates the need to manage servers, but what does that really mean and how can they benefit? In this article, Tejas Gadhia, head of unified development platform product management at Zoho, discusses the benefits of working in a serverless environment, how developers should approach privacy and security, and why a solid foundation helps them achieve scale.
ADM: What are some of the biggest challenges in the current developer landscape?
Gadhia: Developers have always been carrying around invisible baggage in the name of DevOps, with a lot of effort going into provisioning, managing, and scaling infrastructure — not to mention the high fixed costs associated with that process. At times, organizations have to manage and allocate budgets for infrastructure and DevOps preemptively, and a considerable amount of energy goes into this planning.
In addition, developers have to constantly update themselves on the latest trends in technology in order to keep a competitive edge. This gets easier when the organization is motivated to move to new and improved technology, such as a serverless platform.
ADM: What is the business value of having a serverless platform?
Gadhia: Not needing to worry about DevOps drastically improves the time-to-market and eases the burden of managing and planning for infrastructure resources. Serverless computing also comes with inherent advantages, like pay-per-use and elastic scaling, which add value to the business in the long run with minimal effort needed from the organization.
ADM: What are the keys to building a scalable infrastructure?
Gadhia: One key is choosing a cloud vendor that can help achieve scale with very short notice, if not instantaneously. This creates a new level of agility and allows organizations to pivot quickly when necessary. It is also vital to have a development team that is tuned to working on cloud-based environments.
ADM: Which services are particularly key for today's business users, and which do you foresee emerging in the next year or two?
Gadhia: Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are on the rise right now and it is very important that organizations incorporate AI and ML services wherever they fit into their businesses. Both AI and ML are compute-heavy and require a lot of skill and expertise to develop from scratch. It is important to pick a vendor to bank on for AI and ML services, especially when these features aren't core to the business. At Zoho, for example, our Catalyst serverless platform was built on our years of experience handling cloud infrastructure across our more than 45 apps, as well as high-level services including AI and ML.
ADM: How do developers benefit from working in a serverless environment?
Gadhia: Serverless platforms reduce the baggage of DevOps for developers. This means development teams can focus more on the logic and business aspects of an application since they removed the burden of managing servers. A serverless platform also gives developers a lot of flexibility. For example, multi-lingual development teams can write a program in their preferred language and deploy it all in the same system in the form of microservices. This drastically improves developer productivity -- some languages excel in certain specific aspects compared to others, meaning members on multi-lingual teams can pick and choose the right tools they need to solve their specific problems.
ADM: How important is infrastructure to developers? What do they gain from building upon a solid foundation?
Gadhia: A rock-solid infrastructure offers many advantages, one of the most important being the ability to handle scale and the speed of response. A robust infrastructure also gives developers improved uptime reliability, which is, of course, important for organizations to maximize productivity.
ADM: Which types of third-party tools do developers find vital, and what is the best way to get the most out of them?
Gadhia: "Don't repeat yourself" is a concept that is followed by developers when they write code -- this ensures that developers don't reinvent common functionalities and problems that were already solved by other developers and published as open-source. Open-source libraries, software development kits [SDKs] and third-party tools provide a way to safely consume and solve difficult problems by abstracting them. Platforms like Github make it easy for developers to consume and publish their code as an abstracted library, allowing other developers to benefit from it.
ADM: How can developers best approach the issues of privacy and security as they relate to business end-users?
Gadhia: It may seem obvious, but organizations should choose a credible development platform that has all of the necessary security certifications, along with the ability to quickly add new ones as standards change and evolve. For example, GDPR compliance out of the box is a must-have for any organization that does business in the EU. Even for those that don't, GDPR compliance is an excellent place to start for any business that cares about data protection.
About Tejas Gadhia
Tejas Gadhia joined Zoho's Austin office in 2011 as a Sales Engineer providing demonstrations, implementations and best practice consultations ultimately enabling a wide variety of organizations to increase their operational efficiency. In 2015, Tejas joined the product management team for Zoho’s low-code platform, Zoho Creator, focusing on the developer network, strategic partnerships, product innovation, and sales and marketing operations.
Currently, Tejas works on Zoho’s unified development platform which comprises of a variety of tools from low-code to pro-code that enable developers of all skill levels to build powerful solutions that leverage Zoho’s deep tech stack.
Tejas holds a degree from the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘Em Horns!) in Economics and a minor in Petroleum Engineering.
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