Skyscanner is a keynote poster child for the Scottish tech sector, marking the first ‘unicorn’ through becoming the nation’s first billion dollar startup, harnessing the power of the Cloud to do so.
In the featured video listen to CEO / Co-founder of Skyscanner Gareth Williams explain how fundamentally they are a software company living in the age of continuous deployment.
It is an ideal technology and service model for startups: Literally, pay only when your service is active, billed only for what you use. Not only that but a development paradigm that emphasizes rapid delivery of new, modular digital services.
Cloud Native, Digital Native
In a VentureBeat article the author envisioned ‘the future of enterprise tech‘, describing how pioneering organizations like Netflix are entirely embracing a Cloud paradigm for their business, moving away from the traditional approach of owning and operating your own data centre populated by EMC, Oracle and VMware.
Instead they are moving to ‘web scale IT’ via on demand rental of containers, commodity hardware and NoSQL databases, but critically it’s not just about swapping out the infrastructure components. In short, we’ve entered the ‘Cloud Era’, in terms of major waves of enterprise IT innovation.
This approach to IT has also come to be known as a ‘Cloud Native’ architecture, the new term that Google, VMware, and many others are using to describe a software and delivery model that centres around Linux containers like Docker, employed to deliver ‘Microservices’, a suite of components rather than one large software monolith, breaking large unwieldy single ‘monoliths’ of code into small, interlinked modules. The WSJ wrote how businesses need to adopt these trends or die.
As they describe in their tech blog Skyscanner has also adopted this principles. Phil Dalbeck Principal Engineer for Skyscanner describes in this Slideshare presentation how they too leveraged AWS to make this dramatic growth possible and scalable, also implementing best practices to ensure their information security. Also highlighting another key trend, ‘multi-cloud’, making use of multiple Cloud providers to fulfill all your business needs, they’ve also adopted Salesforce.com for their sales team to use.
The industry has since made another evolutionary leap forward, one that further lowers the barrier for new digital entrepreneurs, what is called ‘Serverless’ computing, implemented through services including AWS Lamda.
Serverless Cloud Computing is a great example of both the dynamism of Cloud services and also how this infrastructure evolution is changing the very nature of software engineering itself.
For example AWS offers this beginners guide for setting up your first serverless application.
This Silicon Angle article captures the essence of the opportunity – Entrepreneur Ryan Kroonenburg has built the world’s first ‘Serverless Startup’, a business model based entirely on leveraging this capability.
On Demand is the ideal model for startups, you incur costs only at the time you generate the associated sale, every transaction is profitable, but to date it’s been a utopian ideal not a realistic possibility. Serverless now brings that utopia to the real world, and for Scottish startups who don’t have access to the same investment capital as their USA counterparts but compensate for this through a wealth of ingenuity and creativity, it offers a hyper-accelerating rocket fuel for our innovation economy.