How can you call it “serverless” when there are still servers?

It's almost a right of passage. You give a talk about “serverless” then someone in the crowd points out you're still using servers. This happens in a number of different ways.

  • Someone new to the technology asking a genuine question.
  • The developer or ops person who needs to clarify this for everyone else.
  • A loaded question basically accusing you of lying.

So how do you deal with this question?

That's a topic that came up recently in a Serverless Slack group I belong to. While I haven't tested it yet I've come up with a response that I think is pretty good:

Would you still call someone carless if they didn't own a car but regularly used a taxi/Uber? Serverless is exactly the same. I don't own a server, I pay someone who owns a server to execute my code when I need it.

How do you deal with this question?