Off-by-none: Issue #108

September 22, 2020

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Join the Serverless Revolution! ๐Ÿš€

Welcome to Issue #108 of Off-by-none. I’m glad you could join us!

Last week, we were introduced to Serverless Land, heard some candid serverless feedback, and got a new Data API. This week, Alexander Hamilton endorses serverless, we learn how to bypass Cloudflare’s SQL injection filters, and we get automated language recognition. Plus, we have some amazing content from the serverless community.

Before we jump in, make sure you check out LAMBDA – A Serverless Musical (Hamilton “My Shot” Parody). This was my attempt to share the power of serverless with a broader audience by making it fun (and educational). You can find the cast and lyrics here. Enjoy! ๐ŸŽถ

When you want the latest serverless news… ๐Ÿ“ฃ

The TriggerMesh guide โ€œWhat Every CIO Needs to Know about Serverlessโ€ compares the major serverless offerings and explains concepts like cloud native and microservices. Use it to inform your peers / managers on serverless benefits and options. Sponsored

Pulumi has become the industryโ€™s first multi-cloud, multi-language Infrastructure as Code platform with 100% Azure support, saving Microsoft the need to invest in their own CDK. Mikhail Shilkov has a great post that explains how it’s always up-to-date.

And speaking of always being up-to-date, Google Cloud decided five years was long enough, so they finally launched their own API Gateway for Serverless Computing. It’s still in public beta, so get ready for the GA announcement at Google Cloud Next ’25.

In other cloud related news, Red Hat OpenShift was named as the most widely deployed multicloud container platform, Check Point has decided to buy secure remote access startup Odo Security, and Portshift announced security support for AWS Fargate Running EKS.

Also, Architect 7.0 was released, boasting HTTP APIs support and even better Sandbox testing, the team at Thundra introduced tracing for AWS AppSync, and the shortlist for the Cloud Excellence Awards 2020 was announced. I don’t know what bothers me more, the fact that none of my favorite companies are on there, or that they grouped serverless and containers together. ๐Ÿคจ

When you’re interested in some serverless stories… ๐Ÿ“–

Chris Plankey was sick of sending his monitoring data to another company’s AWS account, so he setup his own self-hosted Lambda monitoring and alerting with Slack. Might not be the best idea for most people, but his implementation is pretty slick. Plus, you could always use AWS Resource Groups to make your life easier.

Security folks would hope this was obvious, but Sunil Kumar answers “why did we start using AWS Secrets Manager to store sensitive data?

Justin Gรผse figured out how to move from WordPress to serverless, unhackable high-speed static websites, a trend that I hope others embrace. And Danny Kay (no not that one), had some fun triggering Lambda Functions from Amazon MSK.

Where to learn some advanced serverless concepts… ๐Ÿ—

Naresh Waswani has a really good series on building and designing applications using AWS Serverless and Microservices. The Choreograph Saga Pattern is ๐Ÿ”ฅ!

Simona Cotin tells us what happens when GraphQL and Serverless walk into a bar. The punchline is a recipe to infinitely scale APIs. And since we’re talking about GraphQL, you might want to learn about safe deployment strategies for AppSync Lambda datasources from Dmitry Lozitskiy.

If you’d prefer to stick with good old-fashioned APIs, Abhishek Ray will explain the difference between AWS API Gateway HTTP and REST APIs. For some more interesting matchups, check out Richard Seroter’s comparison of the CLI experiences offered by AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

In this week’s strange-things-that-probably-shouldn’t-be-possible, Serge van den Oever discovered how to let Netlify functions continue after completion. I’m sure regular Lambda functions allow you to do this too.

Yan Cui shares all you need to know about Lambda cold starts, and if you really want to optimize your serverless applications, check out Alex Casalboni’s deep dive for finding the optimal resources allocation for your Lambda functions.

When you just want to build with serverless… ๐Ÿ‘ทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Introducing AWS X-Ray new integration with AWS Step Functions
AWS Step Functions now integrates with AWS X-Ray to provide a comprehensive tracing experience for serverless orchestration workflows. Developers can now view maps and timelines of the underlying components that make up a Step Functions workflow. This helps to discover performance issues, detect permission problems, and track requests made to and from other AWS Services. Sponsored

Serkan ร–zal will show you how to build a serverless API from scratch, Aparna Joshi has a simple how to use Lambda functions in Netlify tutorial, and Steve Bjorg has a great two-part series on CloudWatch logging for web apps.

Ary Sharifian tries to explain how executing Python functions with AWS, Terraform, and Github Actions is somehow “Better Than Serverless.” Though I think Jose Ignacio Castelli has the right idea for using Python packages with AWS layersโ€Šโ€”โ€Šthe right way.

And Frank Wang shows you how using the Serverless Framework and CDK together can make for the best of both worlds.

When you’re worried about cloud security… ๐Ÿ”’

George Skouroupathis explains how he bypassed Cloudflare’s SQL Injection filter with some clever trickery. Good news is that they fixed it.

And for something truly ingenious, check out Ian McKay’s Racing against CloudWatch Synthetics Canaries post, that shows why atomicity is still such a difficult issue for distributed systems.

Where to look for some serverless reads… ๐Ÿค“

Imoh Etuk has a nice post that explains why serverless is the future of computing. I particularly like how he addresses the benefits for developers, DevOps, and product owners.

Zhang Lei and Deng Hongchao answer, why has Alibaba started to embrace OAM when serverless is so popular? Good question. At one point the authors ask, “How easy is this?”, but my eyes were so glassed over that I failed to respond.

Sourabh Jain expresses some problems with serverless architecture in AWS, even though most of these things have been addressed. However, there seems to be little doubt that serverless is the way toward building greener software.

When you’re looking for an audio/visual experience… ๐ŸŽง

On Serverless Chats Episode #67: The Story of the Serverless Framework (PART 2), I finish my chat with Austen Collins about the origins of the Serverless Framework and what the future of serverless and the framework looks like.

Marcia Villalba gives you 8 tips for mastering AWS SAM, and Yan Cui talks with Alex Wood about SAM 1.0. Plus there are seven great talks and a Q&A from ServerlessDays Warsaw 2020 that should give you plenty to think about.

And while I was researching “cloud music”, I came across The S3 Bucket Song by Kate Turchin.

When you want to know what AWS is working on… ๐Ÿ†•

Amazon Transcribe added support for automatic language identification, which is insanely cool and opens up a whole new set of use cases. Learn more about it here. Plus, Amazon Lex launched support for British English, so cheerio to that.

In Jamstack-related news, Amplify added server-side rendering (SSR) support for frameworks like Next.js and Nuxt.js, addressing one of my biggest concerns with the framework. There’s also a good post that shows you how to implement it.

Amazon API Gateway now supports mutual TLS authentication, which is good news for companies building Open Banking solutions. Also, Amazon CloudFront announced support for Brotli compression, which delivers up to 24% smaller file sizes as compared to Gzip.

Elasticsearch Audit Logs are now available on Amazon Elasticsearch Service, Amazon Comprehend now helps you mask personally identifiable information from text documents, and AWS CloudFormation now supports StackSets Resource Type in the CloudFormation Registry.

And finally, AWS Lambda added console support for visualizing AWS Step Functions workflows. This means you can now visualize where and how your functions are composed into serverless workflows without leaving the Lambda console. Good stuff. ๐Ÿ‘

Serverless Tools ๐Ÿ› 

If you’ve been deploying lots of test services to AWS, take a look at Troy Dieter’s post on using aws-auto-cleanup to keep an AWS test account neat and tidy. The tool looks as though it hasn’t been updated in a while, but maybe it doesn’t need to be.

And if you need a Chromium Binary for AWS Lambda and Google Cloud Functions, check out chrome-aws-lambda from Alix Axel.

Serverless Jobs ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป Sponsored

Serverless Engineer –
At Stedi, we’re working in one of the biggest markets on the planet โ€“ EDI, the technological backbone of the physical product economy. Weโ€™re building a next-generation platform: a ubiquitous commercial trading network to automate the trillions of dollars in B2B transactions exchanged by nearly every company on Earth. If you’re interested in what we’re building and how weโ€™re building it, we’d love to hear from you.

Have a job listing you’d like to share? Please contact me for more information.

Upcoming Serverless Events ๐Ÿ—“

There are a lot of upcoming serverless events, webinars, livestreams, and more. If you have an event you’d like me to mention, please email me.

Apparently there is an AWS Twitch Schedule that lets you see the list of upcoming streaming sessions. Who knew? ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ

September 23, 2020 – Amplify with Friends

September 23, 2020 – Nimbella and Postman: From APIs to Serverless Cloud Applications in Minutes

September 24, 2020 – Scaling up: Advanced Serverless Debugging through Observability (Webinar)

September 30, 2020 – CDK Day 2020 (Online Conference)

September 30, 2020 – Microsoft Create: Serverless – Conversations with Community and Industry Experts! ๐Ÿ—ฃ

October 1-2, 2020 – ServerlessDays Hamburg 2019 ๐Ÿ—ฃ

October 6-8, 2020 – Chaos Conf 2019

Serverless Star of the Week โญ๏ธ

There is a very long list of people that are doing #ServerlessGood and contributing to the Serverless community. These people deserve recognition for their efforts. So each week, I will mention someone whose recent contribution really stood out to me. I love meeting new people, so if you know someone who deserves recognition, please nominate them.

This weekโ€™s star is Simona Cotin (@simona_cotin). Simona is a Principal Cloud Advocate at Microsoft, where she engages with the web community to help create a great developer experience with Azure. She loves teaching others, and has courses hosted on Pluralsight covering the cloud and serverless. Simona has spoken at a number of conferences, meetups, and events, such as JSHeroes and ServerlessDays Amsterdam. And don’t miss her hosting and speaking at Microsoftโ€™s Create: Serverless conference next week. Thanks, Simona, for all you do for the community! ๐Ÿ™Œ

Final Thoughts ๐Ÿค”

Wow, it was another really busy week for serverless, so hopefully today’s newsletter didn’t overwhelm you. Don’t forget to check out and share LAMBDA – A Serverless Musical (Hamilton “My Shot” Parody), otherwise my wife won’t believe the effort was justified. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Also, there’s plenty more amazing serverless stuff on the horizon, so make sure you follow me on Twitter to get all the latest news and updates.

I hope you enjoyed this newsletter. We’re always looking for ideas and feedback to make it better and more inclusive, so please feel free to reach out to me via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or email.

Until next time,

Previous Issue

Issue #107September 15, 2020

Next Issue

Issue #109September 29, 2020

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About the Author

Jeremy is the GM of Serverless Cloud at Serverless, Inc. and an AWS Serverless Hero that has a soft spot for helping people solve problems using serverless. He frequently consults with companies and developers transitioning away from the traditional โ€œserver-fullโ€ approach. You can find him ranting about serverless on Twitter, in several forums and Slack groups, hosting the Serverless Chats podcast, and at (virtual) conferences around the world.


Nominate a Serverless Star

Off-by-none is committed to celebrating the diversity of the serverless community and recognizing the people who make it awesome. If you know of someone doing amazing things with serverless, please nominate them to be a Serverless Star โญ๏ธ!