Serverless Framework V4: A New Model

Oct 26, 2023

Almost a decade ago, we set out to scratch an itch that plagues every developer:

"Why does managing software infrastructure take up so much time that could be better spent actually building stuff?"

To tackle this, we built a compelling solution that delivered architectures on managed/serverless services, centered around AWS Lambda. This is the Serverless Framework.

The response was overwhelming. Thanks to you, Serverless Framework became more than just a tool—it became the tool for serverless development.

"Serverless Framework is the most popular IaC tool for managing AWS Lambda functions among Datadog customers." - Datadog, State of Serverless 2023

Today, in the serverless arena, there's a palpable sense of flux—exciting, yet fraught with challenges.

New serverless services are rapidly emerging from AWS and beyond, offering incredible potential to developers. Yet, the experience of working with these services varies widely between vendors, creating a jarring, inconsistent development experience.

Moreover, as new serverless technologies enable more use-cases, it's not just opportunity that's growing—it's complexity too.

Last but not least, cost and portability concerns are increasing, and rightfully so in the new economy.

What does this shifting landscape mean for the Serverless Framework? Stepping up our game is essential. To do this, evolution is necessary, and we intend to evolve in a manner that shares the value we create with our community more than ever before.

Here's what you can expect from the forthcoming Serverless Framework V4:

  • No Breaking Changes: V.4 will introduce absolutely no breaking changes. However, it will enable new serverless application use-cases.
  • FaaS & Container Switching: We're making it easy to switch between Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) and serverless containers. No more Lambda lock-in; just a streamlined experience when transitioning between FaaS and serverless containers.
  • New Vendors, New Use-Cases: We're introducing new ways to extend the Framework to support all serverless vendors, services and use-cases via the upcoming Serverless Framework Extensions.
  • Revenue Share for Extension Makers: As a valued builder and community member, if you're contributing an Extension, we'll share 80% of its revenue with you, creating a more scalable and sustainable Infrastructure-as-Code model.
  • New Fee Structure: For organizations with annual revenue exceeding $2M, we're introducing some fees that apply to V.4 and beyond. We're a small team. We need to fuel further innovation, and this is a step in that direction. This also helps kick-start a new ecosystem.
  • A Better Partner Program: We have the largest serverless community and this new program provides efficient connections between those seeking help and solutions to those providing them, via reseller opportunities, lead generation activities, and profiles within our forthcoming improved partner directory on

More details on the changes are below. We know this could be a big shift for some organizations. At the same time, we're intent on innovating a model that allows all community members to share in our collective success.

Here are a few action items to get started:

Upcoming Pricing Changes for Serverless Framework V.4

The forthcoming release of Serverless Framework V.4 will introduce a new pricing model for Organizations generating more than $2M in Annual Revenue. These changes will only apply to Serverless Framework V.4 and beyond, slated for general availability early next year, and not to earlier versions. Serverless Framework V.3 will continue to be maintained via critical security and bug fixes through 2024.


  • Independent developers, open-source projects, and startups or organizations falling below the $2M annual revenue mark will be exempt from these fees.
  • Consultants doing work on behalf of a client. Instead, enroll in our new Partner Program to participate in our Reseller and Lead Generation activities.
  • Users of Serverless Framework V.3, and older versions.

Proposed Pricing Structure:

  • The new pricing will be tiered, depending on the number of Instances and Extensions your organization utilizes.
  • An Instance refers to a deployed Serverless Framework Service within a specific AWS Account, Stage and Region. In other words, the unique AWS Account ID, and set of "service", "stage" and "region" parameters within your deployed serverless.yml.
  • An Extension is a new concept to V.4 that correlates to a new use-case which the Serverless Framework can deploy. See below for more details.
  • 80% of the revenue generated from Extensions will go to the creators of those Extensions.
  • Fees for Instances will only apply if they have been in a deployed state for more than five days within the current month. This aims to exclude most temporary or preview Instances from incurring fees.
  • The first paid tier starts at $49/month and includes several Instances and Extensions.
  • Discounts increase considerably for organizations with many Instances and Extensions. Additional discounts will be provided to existing Serverless Framework Dashboard customers. Using the Dashboard is not a requirement for subscribing to V.4.
  • If you're concerned about the potential for excessive fees due to unusually high Instance usage, we understand your reservations. Please get in touch with us. As a nimble, small-scale company, we're flexible and eager to find a solution that works for you.

Introducing Serverless Framework Extensions

Serverless Framework V.4 will introduce Extensions, which allow users to deploy more serverless use-cases and infrastructure patterns than the Framework previously enabled (front-end frameworks, AI workflows, APIs, etc.).

Extensions are essentially Docker containers filled with Infrastructure-as-Code logic. They can be written in any programming language and leverage any library or framework of your choice.

The orchestration of Extensions is managed by an upcoming separate project integrated within V.4. This project takes care of the provisioning and the sharing of context, including inputs, outputs, policies and state.

What sets Extensions apart is their flexibility. Since they are containerized, you can easily integrate them into your existing workflows, even if those workflows are based on different Infrastructure-as-Code tools like AWS CloudFormation. Moreover, Extensions allow you to tap into new use-cases and services beyond AWS. In essence, they are Bring-your-own-Opinion.

To deploy an Extension, you can either use it programmatically or directly incorporate it into your serverless.yml files:

	# serverless.yml

service: my-app

  extension: mongodb-atlas@0.5.1
    databaseName: users
    databaseType: serverless

Extension Revenue Sharing

Anyone can build an Extension. Furthermore, we're introducing a revenue-sharing model where 80% of the revenue generated from your Extension will be directed to you. This is a first in Infrastructure-as-Code and draws inspiration from other platforms like YouTube and Twitter.

Extensions maintain a deployed state, and our upcoming pricing structure calculates the total deployed Extensions on a monthly basis.

Who Can Benefit?

  • Consulting Firms: If you frequently build reusable modules for clients, consider making them available to a broader audience by converting them into Extensions.
  • ISVs and Serverless Infrastructure Providers: If your goal is to increase your footprint in the AWS Lambda ecosystem, building an Extension is your entry ticket. Get close to the millions of new and existing Serverless Framework projects that have been deployed over the last several years.
  • Indiehackers: If you have an idea or an existing project that makes deployment of a use-case easy, consider packaging it as an Extension.

The Serverless Framework represents the largest AWS and serverless user-base. This model aligns our interests. We're eager to promote your Extensions.

This model also seeks to better incentivize the community to maintain and continue innovation of Infrastructure-as-Code, over long periods of time.

We'll be doing a lot of learning as we implement this model, but our speculative calculations suggest that some existing Serverless Framework Plug-Ins, if converted into Extensions, currently have the potential to generate over $65K in annual recurring revenue. We're working with Plug-In authors currently to migrate to Extensions where they make sense.

Reserve your Extension name today via the Serverless Framework Dashboard, and we'll follow up with our development kit in the coming weeks to help you get started.

Introducing Our New Partner Program

In tandem with the changes we're making, we are excited to unveil a new Partner Program. This program emphasizes reseller opportunities, lead generation, and features a forthcoming partner profile on

If you're a Consulting Firm, Independent Software Vendor, or General Distributor, and you want to connect with one of the largest serverless communities out there, this program is for you.

To start enrollment in our new Partner Program, fill out this application form.

Wrapping Up

Serverless Framework has attained remarkable success over the years. Now, more than ever, we are committed to elevating the framework's long-standing mission to new heights while addressing today's emerging challenges in the serverless movement. Moreover, we're intent on sharing value more inclusively, to nurture a more vibrant Serverless Framework community.

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