Off-by-none: Issue #117

November 24, 2020

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SQL for NoSQL? 🤔

Welcome to Issue #117 of Off-by-none. We’ve got serverless by the plenty!

Last week, we got another round of pre:Invent announcements, we welcomed some new heroes, and we wished Lambda a Happy Birthday. This week, we’ve got even more pre:Invent announcements, a solution for PostgreSQL at serverless scale, and DynamoDB gets a new SQL-like API. Plus, we have a lot of content from the serverless community.

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

Auto-instrumented, trace-centric observability for serverless & k8s
If you’re running distributed serverless, Kubernetes, or containerized environments, you need a specialized tool that’s built to monitor them. Epsagon enables teams to automatically detect, troubleshoot, and resolve issues within complex microservices with no training, manual coding, tagging, or maintenance required. Try free today, connect your first trace instantly, and grab one of our “cloud observability” drones! Sponsored

Trend Micro announced the availability of Cloud One Application Security, a cloud native security solution for modern applications and APIs. It looks like a pretty nifty solution for serverless applications.

Another Cloud-Native Security Platform called Deepfence closed a $9.5 Million round of financing. Since the acquisition of Puresec and Protego last year, I hadn’t see much in this space, so it’s good to see it growing.

In other startup funding news, OpsLevel raised $5M to “fix” DevOps by helping teams develop a “you build it, you own it” culture. There’s definitely room in this space, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can get traction.

Dynatrace announced PurePath 4, which now automatically supports OpenTelemetry and W3C Trace Context with increased coverage for serverless and service mesh architectures. See? All the cool kids are doing it.

With AWS re:Invent dominating the news, I want to give a shout-out to our friends over at Microsoft who are running some #SeasonsOfServerless challenges that look like fun.

And if you’re having trouble narrowing down publications on Medium, I suggest The Cloud Architect, a new publication by the awesome Adrian Hornsby.

Serverless Stories 📖

Even though Ahmed Besbes makes it look easy, his post describing how he built and deployed a fun serverless machine learning app contains a treasure trove of cloud knowledge.

Igor Soroka isn’t architecting a game-changing serverless application, but getting some insight into how he’s building a serverless fuel API might give you some inspiration.

Serverless Use Cases 🗺

Sanjay Dandekar shows us a great use case by implementing batch processing using AWS Lambda. Parallelization with the Fan-Out pattern is so incredibly powerful.

You might not think you need a simple atomic counter with DynamoDB and API Gateway, but if you suddenly do need one, Vikas Solegaonkar has you covered.

And thanks to the team at Dashbird, here are some AWS Step Functions use cases for you.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Daniel Dominguez has some serverless architecture patterns for you. Plus, Brian Leroux shows you how to use the Strangler Pattern with OpenJS Architect.

Stephen Liedig helps explain how to simplify cross-account access with Amazon EventBridge resource policies, Sandeep Jandhyala from Capital One outlines some very good guardrails for AWS event-driven serverless architectures, and Gert Leenders shares why he doesn’t see the problem with Lambda Cold Starts.

There are a lot of re:Invent guides out there, but I really liked this one from Stackery.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

Chris Bailey has an excellent tutorial that shows you how to skip Lambda, save data to DynamoDB directly using API Gateway, then process it later with streams. I’m a big fan of these “Storage-First” approaches.

Roberto Javier Yudice Monico will get you set up to start using private domains for APIs with Serverless Framework and Terraform.

Ran Isenberg shows you how to do AWS Lambda Event Validation in Python with PowerTools, which is pretty darn cool.

And, Kiran Parajuli explains how to deploy static web apps with GitHub Pages (and Avishay Bar explains why that’s great for your career).Ttheburni

Serverless Security 🔒

We don’t see a lot of serverless security articles anymore, and even though this Importance of Security in Serverless Technologies post doesn’t contain anything novel, it’s always good to get a refresher. I don’t think we’ll see serverless standardization any time soon, especially since AWS continues to drive the market, but I’ve been wrong before. 🤷‍♂️

Serverless Reads 🤓

You can’t go wrong with a serverless article from theburningmonk. Take a look at how Yan Cui built a social network in 4 weeks with GraphQL and serverless.

Ant Stanley put on his analyst hat and took some time to explain Cloud Native Bimodal strategy. There’s no doubt that hybrid cloud models are here for quite some time, so if you don’t have a strategy to consolidate your operations, the next few years could be bumpy.

Reading Kubernetes – the Necessary Evil by Jon Arild Tørresdal was like being on an emotional roller coaster. You get your hopes up because he’s advocating for serverless, but then start screaming down the hill as his advice is mostly ignored by his clients. He explains the complexity tradeoff very well, and I really loved this line: “More alarming is that complexity hides itself — as a hidden cost — which does not appear on the monthly invoice. It is hidden inside work hours, research, courses, conferences, maintenance, updates and bugs.” Spot on.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🍿

On Serverless Chats, Episode #76: Building Well-Architected Serverless using CDK Patterns, I spoke with Matt Coulter about why he built, how he used it to help Liberty IT choose the CDK, how they’ve used these patterns to implement Well-Architected Serverless solutions, and much more.

Marcia Villalba has a great interview with Nicole Yip about how LEGO is standardizing their serverless services. Plus, if you’re not sure which re:Invent sessions to watch, Marcia will be preparing a daily video for you.

AWS pre:Invent Announcements 😳

Ok. Here we are again. Staring at the firehose. I’ve broken the announcements down into categories and provided a little bit of context for the Database and Serverless sections. There is a lot more to come, so invest your mental effort wisely.


You now can use a SQL-compatible query language to query, insert, update, and delete table data in Amazon DynamoDB
PartiQL looks really cool, but I have some concerns, mostly due to the fact that you could easily write some really inefficient (and expensive) queries. Good news is that the AWS Pricing Calculator now supports Amazon DynamoDB, so maybe you can figure out how much these bad queries will cost you?

Now you can use Amazon Kinesis Data Streams to capture item-level changes in your Amazon DynamoDB tables
This is exciting. Amazon Kinesis has some really great services including transformations and integrations. The more these services do this stuff for me, the less code I need to write.

You now can restore Amazon DynamoDB tables even faster when recovering from data loss or corruption
I don’t think I’ve ever corrupted a DynamoDB table, but I’ll take the faster recovery time when I eventually do.

AWS Database Migration Service now supports Aurora PostgreSQL Serverless as a target
AWS DMS is probably one of the most underrated services. And now, you can even move database migration tasks from one replication instance to another.

Amazon Kinesis Data Analytics now supports Apache Flink v1.11 and the Apache Flink Dashboard.
People love Flink, and now so does Amazon Kinesis Data Analytics.

Amazon Elasticsearch Service adds support for hot reload of dictionary files
Also a very cool feature, if you want to still deal with the Elasticsearch Service.


Amazon EventBridge announces improved resource policies for event buses
Working across accounts is quickly becoming table stakes. This is a step in the right direction.

AWS Step Functions now supports Amazon API Gateway service integration
This feature is incredibly useful, making it super easy to orchestrate across microservices using standard APIs.

AWS Lambda now supports Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (AVX2)
Wow! Compute-intensive applications such as machine learning inferencing, multimedia processing, scientific simulations, HPC, and financial modeling that leverage AVX2 can now be deployed on Lambda.

New – Code Signing, a Trust and Integrity Control for AWS Lambda
This is a nice security upgrade for people who need more guarantees.

Introducing Real-Time Live Sports Updates Using AWS AppSync
Not a feature announcement, but a very cool Solutions Implementation.




Serverless Tools 🛠

For all of you asking for a Postgres version of serverless-mysql, Matteo Gioioso may have just made your day!

Overwhelmed by the AWS re:Invent Session Catalog? Check out this one. It was made for humans.

Serverless Jobs 👩‍💻 Sponsored

Serverless Engineer –
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Serverless Architect – Theodo
We build massively scalable, resilient, low cost and high quality systems for our clients in record time using our expertise, technology and methodology. This role is client facing, hands on architecting and building the end solution within a team. Work alongside thought leaders with constant experimentation and innovation, plus dedicated time to work on open-source and content and encouraged to speak at world conferences.

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.

AWS re:Invent 2020 is a free, 3-week virtual conference (Nov. 30 – Dec. 18, 2020). Register today to gain access to over 500 sessions and much more. With over 50 tracks and hundreds of hours of content, it’s never been easier to catch up on the latest in cloud computing. Registration is now open! Sponsored

November 27, 2020 – Building complex Well Architected serverless architectures with Dashbird (Webinar)

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 Mark McCann (@markmccann). Mark is a Senior Architect at Liberty Information Technology, and has been developing software and solutions for Liberty Mutual for nearly 20 years. He spoke about that experience on an episode of Serverless Chats, and is currently working on making “Business idea to production in minutes” a reality. Mark holds several AWS Cloud Certifications and has a vast amount of experience with microservices, event-driven architecture, Docker, AWS, and other emerging cloud technologies. Thanks, Mark, for showing how enterprises can adopt serverless! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

We’re less than a week out, and I’ve already read more AWS product announcements than I can remember. But fear not! I’m fully stocked up on Coke Zeroes and coffee and I’m ready for whatever AWS throws at me.

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.

Buckle up for re:Invent,

Previous Issue

Issue #116November 17, 2020

Next Issue

Issue #118December 1, 2020

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About the Author

Jeremy is the CEO and Founder of Ampt 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 “server-full” approach. You can find him ranting about serverless on Twitter, in several forums and Slack groups, hosting the Serverless Chats podcast, and at 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 ⭐️!