Off-by-none: Issue #113

October 27, 2020

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Say goodbye to the dreaded CloudFormation 200 resources limit... πŸ‘‹

Welcome to Issue #113 of Off-by-none. Get ready for plenty of serverless!

Last week, we got a recap of a very serverless third quarter, saw how to add resiliency with circuit breakers, and got a lesson in privacy. This week, we get FIFO for SNS, get rid of the 200 resources limit in CloudFormation, and power up our python Lambdas. Plus, we have a ton of content from our amazing serverless community.

Serverless News & Announcements πŸ“£

SMOKE Stack stands for Serverless abstraction, Mashups across clouds, Open integration, Kubernetes portability and scaling, and Event-driven automation. This new whitepaper explains why it matters. Sponsored

Intergral announces AWS Lambda support on its next-gen NerdVision debugging platform according to a poorly written press release. Despite confusing Lambda as a programming language, having more options for debugging Lambda functions isn’t a bad thing.

NetApp debuted a new ‘storageless’ storage platform for Kubernetes apps. They make the comparison to serverless’ ability to meet availability and scale requirements. “Storageless does much the same thing, only it takes care of the storage considerations.” Don’t ask me how this is different than the serverless storage services that are already on the market.

Finally, Anyscale added $40M to bring its Ray-based distributed computing tech to the enterprise masses, promising a multi-cloud native, serverless experience. I’m glad to see investments in serverless, even though I’m not sure it means what they think it means.

Serverless Stories πŸ“–

Ken Collins wrote a great post about the Serverless Docker Patterns that are used at Custom Ink. And Fabrice Richard shares how his team built a real time scalable application without any servers.

If you’re looking for some resources, projects, and lessons learned from 100 days of (serverless) cloud learning, Mikkel Lauritzen has a story for you.

Serverless Concepts πŸ—

AWS Lambda has already been adopted by nearly half of companies with infrastructure in AWS. Check out this State of Serverless report from Datadog to see how (and how much) serverless is being used in the real world. Sponsored

Lou Bichard wrote up a piece on Lambda Extensions that explains what they are and why you should care, Dashbird shared their Ultimate Guide to AWS Step Functions, and Kisan Tamang put together An Ultimate Beginner Guide to DynamoDB.

I always find it helpful (and sometimes inspiring) to see other people’s development setups. Here’s Maciej Radzikowski’s AWS toolbox of tools, plugins, and applications.

Adrian Smijulj offers up 5 tips to make your Lambda Functions run faster (and cheaper) and Paul Swail explains the importance of integration and E2E tests for serverless apps.

Chris Bailey shows you how to authenticate with JWT via Cognito when you can’t sign a URL with v4 sig but still want to send data directly to DynamoDB (or some other API Gateway service integration).

Serverless Tutorials πŸ‘·β€β™€οΈ

Nader Dabit has another amazing tutorial that shows you how to build a scalable, full-stack serverless application using Next.js.

There’s also this post from Armin Samii that explains how to create a DM-based database for twitterbots on AWS Lambda. It’s a clever idea, regardless of your politics.

Allen Helton shows you how to integrate your app with webhooks using Amazon SNS, Jimmy Dahlqvist digs into AWS Lambda “internal” Extensions, and David Parks demonstrates how to build a Like counter with Fauna, Netlify and Nuxt.

And Asanka Nissanka has a relatively short tutorial that shows you how VueJS and Serverless can be used to build a realtime chat app. FYI, Amplify does a lot of the heavy lifting here.

Serverless Reads πŸ€“

This article from Alibaba is from last month, but I found Serverless: The Next Decade of Cloud Computing to be rather thought-provoking. While the article certainly advocates for a “serverless” future, what these experts consider to be “serverless” is sort of all over the place. Situ Fang (an Alibaba Cloud Senior Technical Expert) says, “Over the next decade, serverless will be open, standard, and free of vendor binding.” As you can probably imagine, this assumption relies heavily on its relationship to containers and perhaps the orchestration system that runs them.

Towards a Technical Debt Conceptualization for Serverless Computing is a paper I helped collaborate on with a team of researchers from Finland. It attempts to conceptualize Technical Debt within the serverless context.

Interesting take from Stacey Higginbotham on the new EDJX edge computing platform. This seems to be a wildly different approach to the ones taken by Fastly and CloudFlare, and just another indicator that the future of edge computing is far from settled.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🍿

The world was devolving into panic, as COVID-19 tore through every country on Earth. That’s when Yoav Abrahami received one of the most important assignments of his life: to build an app that would service the entire nation of Israel through its pandemic response. The kicker? He had one week to finish the job. Read and listen to the full story. Sponsored

On Episode #72: Serverless Privacy & Compliance of Serverless Chats, I finish my conversation with Mark Nunnikhoven about why your online privacy is so important, what we need to think about in terms of compliance, how serverless helps us create more secure applications.

New from AWS πŸ†•

Wow, AWS was busy this week, and it’s not even pre:Invent yet! There were several really great serverless announcements as well as a few others that caught my eye.

First of all, Amazon SNS introduced First-in-First-out (FIFO) topics with strict ordering and deduplication of messages, which is awesome. Danilo Poccia writes more about it here, but essentially this adds a whole new set of strict ordering and idempotency control to your SNS topics. Plus, Amazon SNS also now supports selecting the origination number when sending SMS messages, giving you much more flexibility.

In other serverless related news, AWS Step Functions now supports Amazon Athena service integration, you can now use existing Cognito User Pools & Identity Pools in your Amplify project, and AWS Lambda now supports AWS PrivateLink, allowing you to invoke Lambda functions from your VPC without exposing your traffic to the public internet (more info here).

They also announced Amazon CloudFront Origin Shield, which is supposed to reduce traffic and stress even more to your origin targets.

One of the most under-appreciated announcements has to be that AWS CloudFormation now supports increased limits on five service quotas, including bumping the 200 resources limit to 500. This is big!

Some of the other interesting announcements include:

Serverless Tools πŸ› 

Matt Coulter’s latest CDK Pattern lets you add voice to your serverless apps with Alexa. If you’re into serverless and CDK, check out the great work Matt is doing.

I came across a tweet mentioning the Amplify Framework Documentation and just how many libraries and components are available for it. Not only is it a great framework, but this documentation site is really well organized.

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

Lambda Powertools 1.7.0 is now out with a new Parser utility! 🀩 Parse and validate models 🀩 Auto-generate models from JSON, YAML, OpenAPI 🀩 Auto-serialize models to JSON, JSON Schema, or Dict ~ Heitor Lessa
Definitely worth checking out this amazing project for using Lambda with Python. The new parser utility is πŸ’―!

Serverless Jobs πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» Sponsored

Serverless Engineer –
At Stedi, we’re working in one of the biggest markets on the planet – EDI, the technological backbone of the physical product economy. We’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 we’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 πŸ—“

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.

October 27, 2020 – AWS Community Day Amsterdam (Online Event)

October 28, 2020 – ServerlessDays Virtual

November 30 – December 18, 2020 – AWS re:Invent (Keynotes)

Serverless Star of the Week ⭐️

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 week’s star is Nicolas Moutschen (@NMoutschen). Nicolas is a Specialist Solutions Architect for serverless technologies at AWS, where he helps customers build reliable and scalable applications. He also writes open source samples and tools to showcase how developers and companies can use and benefit from serverless and has some really cool coding projects that he shares on his blog as well. Nicolas has given talks at various conferences and meetups, including ServerlessDays Stockholm and ServerlessDays Belgium’s virtual meetup. Thanks, Nicolas, for sharing your work and insight with the community! πŸ™Œ

Final Thoughts πŸ€”

So much amazing serverless stuff is happening all around us, and AWS seems to be at a point where they are just checking off #awswishlist items one after another. The 200 resources limit being lifted is super helpful and will reduce unnecessary complexity from templates, and FIFO plus deduplication on SNS is something the community has been wanting for a while. I can’t wait to see what re:Invent season brings.

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.


Previous Issue

Issue #112October 20, 2020

Next Issue

Issue #114November 3, 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 β€œserver-full” 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.


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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 ⭐️!