The developer enablement that Intercom offered its teams on these two projects—in which developers were set free to prototype, test, iterate, and rework their apps and workflows at the speed of ideas—is just part of the powerful case Clancy thinks can be made for AWS serverless computing. "Serverless computing isn't the solution for everything, but it's a good fit for many more use cases than people realize," he says.

The time savings available from serverless computing don't stop with deployment. "For example,” Clancy says, “because our serverless billing solution is based on Amazon Athena, we can adapt to even dramatic requirement changes simply by updating some SQL definitions."

Intercom can also use serverless computing to free up maintenance resources. "With serverless architectures on AWS, we don't have to worry about replacing retired instance types, addressing limits, or performing version and security updates," says Bothra. "It's all under the hood, ready when we are."

Serverless computing makes it even simpler to take advantage of the easy scalability AWS is known for. "What I would tell other startups is that AWS is prepared for much larger scale than just about any company is actually going to need," says Clancy. "Not having to think about scale is like a dream for us."

High availability is also easier to achieve on AWS serverless architectures. "Using AWS serverless computing enables us to provide higher availability at lower costs," says Clancy. "We don't have to overprovision against traffic spikes, low-quality customer integrations, or any of the other problems you have to plan for with traditional architectures.”

Clancy sums up: “We’re deliberate about where we use AWS serverless computing and where we don’t. But we’re also very enthusiastic about it and we are actively looking for more opportunities to use it.”