Off-by-none: Issue #115

November 10, 2020

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pre:Invent is here. Prepare to drink from the firehose. 🔥

Welcome to Issue #115 of Off-by-none. Get ready for lots of serverless!

Last week, we saw support for WASM grow, we debunked some serverless myths, and asked if a serverless application was right for you. This week, we’ve got the first wave of pre:Invent announcements, we go back to school on DynamoDB, and we load up on serverless tools. Plus, we have some great content from the serverless community.

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

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I totally thought Skynet would run on AWS, but apparently Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform will be the brain for their future autonomous robots!

AWS announced plans to build an AWS Region in Hyderabad, India, bringing their region count in India up to two, plus their 17 CloudFront edge locations.

In startup news, FlashDrive announced the launch of its “Game-Changing Serverless Application Service”. It’s container-based, seemingly not event-driven, but also “serverless”. 🤔

And announced the results of DevOps Pulse 2020. Key highlights are that containers have become quite mature, but serverless adoption is still up 33%.

Serverless Stories 📖

I love serverless success stories, and after a 5 years digital transformation plan, Green Flag was able to create a serverless cloud native platform to help build a rapid, modern rescue service.

Lucia Mormocea explains why you don’t know what you don’t know, and how a serverless solution helped her distributed team build the quiz feature.

Also, Christopher Lanoue shows how he used AWS serverless to capture user emails in Google Sheets for PrimaryCast.

Serverless Use Cases 🗺

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

Speaking of Google Sheets, this post from Derrick Sherrill shows you how to build a hosted dashboard from Google Sheets data with WayScript. Some of these low code platforms are very cool.

In Mary Had a Little Lambda, Dean Fiala outlines a great use case for serverless: helping to automate DevOps tasks.

I also liked this post from Cameron Thompson about building a serverless link saving service. It’s a good use case, but coupling this with Siri shortcuts makes it that much sweeter.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Marko from has put together a compendium on DynamoDB Design Patterns for Single Table Design. Lots of great information in here for DynamoDB fanatics.

Yan Cui explains that, yes, even simple serverless applications have complex architecture diagrams, but that it’s not much different from other modern application architectures.

Tatsuro Shibamura gives us a quick review of the Azure Functions new feature “Retry Policy”. Very cool stuff being added over there.

If you’ve ever yelled out “Help, my Lambda won’t stop!”, then Lou Bichard has some tips for how to stop an AWS Lambda execution.

There are lots of serverless development and deployment frameworks out there, and this introduction to the Architect Framework by Serkan Özal does a great job summing up its benefits.

George Mao gives you the rundown on how to build APIs that consume cross account resources (and do it securely) in his latest post. Separate accounts per microservice seem to be the standard at AWS, so definitely worth understanding the best way to do this.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

Sanjay Dandekar gives you the ins and outs of the AWS Simple Email Service, Matthew Brown shows you how to create a serverless NodeJS REST API, and Paul Chin, Jr. shared Part 4 of his Serverless Login with OpenJS Architect series.

Duarte Nunes has a really cool tutorial on Building an AWS Lambda extension with Rust. Plus, Suparn Gupta has some tips for using AWS Elasticsearch with Serverless Lambda, which should make working with IAM permissions less tricky.

And Daniel Muller shows you how to use AWS S3 as a database. It’s true that there might be some better alternatives, but I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand.

Serverless Reads 🤓

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

Omri Levy has some thoughts on the genealogy of serverless. Less is more.

Haven’t we seen serverless before?“, asks Mandi Buswell. People seem to ask this question a lot, so we need to keep explaining that no, this is something very different.

Christian Bannes answers the question should use a single table or use one table per microservice with DynamoDB? Namespacing a table is an interesting idea, but I think I’d rather opt for greater separation.

There was this post on why you shouldn’t use AWS API Gateway HTTP APIs, but I think patience is a virtue. Many of these things appear to be on the roadmap.

If you want some industry analysis, including the reasons why serverless spending is increasing, give this a read.

Serverless Podcasts & Videos 🎧

On Serverless Chats Episode #74: Measure and Increase Developer Productivity using Serverless, I spoke with with Vadym Kazulkin and Christian Bannes about how cognitive load affects productivity, why writing more code increases technical debt, and how building evolutionary architectures with serverless lets you focus on business value.

Marcia Villalba shows you how to send emails from your AWS Lambda Functions in this full tutorial using AWS SAM and DynamoDB streams.

New from AWS 🆕

So it looks like pre:Invent is officially here. There were several big releases from AWS this past week, plus some really cool minor things.

On the serverless side, Amazon EventBridge introduced support for Event Replay! This is a hugely important announcement, because it adds another layer of resiliency to your event-driven applications. Danilo Poccia goes into more detail here.

Amazon RDS Data API now supports tag-based authorization, which is pretty cool, especially since Resource policies require “*” access. Plus, you can now export DynamoDB Table data to your Data Lake in Amazon S3, with no code writing required and encrypt your Amazon DynamoDB global tables by using your own encryption keys.

Also, AWS Lambda now supports Amazon MQ for Apache ActiveMQ as an event source and Amazon Kinesis Data Streams enables data stream retention up to one year.

And here are just a handful of some of the other notable announcements. Good luck keep up with all of them! 😳

Serverless Tools 🛠

This pattern generator and debugging tool for EventBridge might come in very handy.

If you’re looking for full-stack, serverless Jamstack, maybe give Redwood a try?

If MLOps is more your thing, take a look at Philipp Schmid’s efsync project.

And finally, for all you Java fans, you can simplify serverless best practices with AWS Lambda Powertools Java.

Serverless Jobs 👩‍💻 Sponsored

Serverless Engineer –
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Serverless Architect – Theodo
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Have a job listing you’d like to share? Please contact me for more information.

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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.

November 9-13, 2020 – AWS Community Days – online edition

November 23, 2020 – 3 Hours of Jamstack Conference

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 Andres Moreno (@ElLechon), nominated by Allen Helton (@AllenHeltonDev). Allen says that Andres has taken serverless head-on. He has architected several complex solutions that are entirely serverless, and strongly follows the POLP principle, which is easy to break with AWS serverless. Andres also consistently helps others in the community, while constantly exploring and learning new principles every day and sharing his work with the world. Thank you, Andres, for being a truly selfless serverless star! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

re:Invent is coming. Very soon. This has me both excited and a bit nervous at the same time. This past week was filled with announcements, and if it’s anything like last year, we can expect a lot more in the weeks to come. I’ll be doing my best to filter information as it comes out, but like all of you, I probably won’t be able to digest any of it until after the new year. Good luck.

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.

See you next week,

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Issue #114November 3, 2020

Next Issue

Issue #116November 17, 2020

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About the Author

Jeremy is an AWS Serverless Hero that has a soft spot for helping people solve problems using serverless, and frequently consults with companies and developers transitioning away from the traditional “server-full” approach. You can find him ranting about serverless on Twitter, in several forums and Slack groups, 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 ⭐️!