CircleCI adds orb for AWS Lambda to address growing serverless opportunity

The new orb is for the AWS Serverless Application Model that builds serverless applications for AWS Lambda, and meets a demand CircleCI says is now taking off.

LAS VEGAS – Today, as the AWS re:Invent kicks off, build platform provider CircleCI has added a new orb to their portfolio. This one, the eighth orb to support AWS platforms, is for the AWS Serverless Application Model [SAM] open-source framework for building serverless applications for AWS Lambda.

CircleCI was founded in 2011 and was very focused on one problem  – the continuous integration [CI] space.

“At that time, agile development was becoming popular, where you could make and test changes on a frequent basis,” said Tom Trahan CircleCI’s VP of Business Development. “We started with that focus. Since then, we have expanded to a full CI/CD platform for all automated activities for build, test and deploy, so the user can be confident the product is ready to put in the hands of customers – and can be done at speed.”

Trahan said that CircleCI’s development timeframe meant that they were built as a cloud-native platform, not on-prem software, which is a major advantage.

“We were designed from the ground up to run as a cloud service,” he said. “We compete against multiple options, particularly open source. Many organizations use the Jenkins open source tool, but when you do this in a serverless capacity, you need to look at multi tenanted SaaS solutions. We are the predominant vendor for that, and our main competition is DIY with open source.”  Today, CircleCI has over 600,000 developers building on their platform.

CircleCI started out with a direct model, but they have added partners in recent years.

“We have two parts to our channel,” Trahan said. “One is VARs and resellers. We’ve been doing that for close to three years. A lot of the mid-sized channel companies who made their initial growth on hardware and enterprise software have been launching their own DevOps transition teams, Customers recognize its importance, and are looking for assistance.”

This part of the channel also includes the marketplaces, Trahan said.

“We are in the GitHub marketplace. We expect to launch at AWS in time for Re:Invent. The cloud-native space is becoming a new channel source, and these exchanges are becoming more important”

The other part is the technology partner integration, like these orb integrations CircleCI is announcing now.

An orb is a package of configurations where a user doesn’t have to script out integrations.

“With an AWS integration, instead of having to learn API instructions, these can be prepackaged,” Trahan indicated. “The user just needs to understand the use case they want to execute – all the back-end use cases.”

Trahan said that the orbs serve as an accelerator for things that would be done across many companies. Companies use something like our ECR orb for the same use cases. No matter what kind of company they work for, they will use it to  build a Docker image and push it to the Amazon container registry.”

There is no separate charge for the orbs. They are part of the freemium tier in the CircleCI portfolio.

Since they first introduced a year ago, the orbs have become very popular. More than 1,200 Orbs have been created, 95% of them coming from the CircleCI ecosystem. Nearly a quarter of the over 30 million jobs created every month on CircleCI now use orbs.

Before the new Lambda integration, Circle CI had seven AWS orb integrations. The CLI [Command Line Interface] one was the most popular, followed by ECR, the Elastic Container Registry. The others are for S3, ECS, EKS, CodeDeploy and AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store.

“We choose them based on the popularity of those services for our users,” Trahan said.

The latest orb, is for the AWS SAM open source framework to build automated CI/CD platforms for testing and deploying to AWS Lambda.

“AWS Lambda has been around for a few years, but it has mainly used by early adopters,” Trahan noted. “In the same way that more and more companies have go through acceptance for clouds, it’s the same process for serverless. It’s just a few years behind. And with this acceptance, organizations then need a way to build test and release it effectively. Our integration provides this.”

Trahan said that serverless has gotten to the point where a growing number of customers have asked for this capability.

“People are ready to start adopting it,” he said. “It’s a huge opportunity over the next ten years.”

While the orbs are directly for the strategic partner side of CircleCI’s partner ecosystem. Trahan said that this announcement is very significant for their channel partners.

“It’s important when you look closely at where the world is in adoption of cloud services,” he said. “It feels like a long time – for those of us who work in the Bay area. But at scale, we are just now moving into the stage where a majority of companies who are not high-tech companies are in the process of adoption. That will now be an accelerating momentum. For resellers, that’s an accelerating opportunity over the next 10 years. And with Lambda specifically, it will benefit from the increasing move into serverless solutions that remove the burden of relying on the underlying infrastructure.”