Off-by-none: Issue #121

December 22, 2020

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The Jamstack is really starting to jam… ๐Ÿš€

Welcome to Issue #121 of Off-by-none. Thanks for joining us!

Last week, we finished up week three of AWS re:Invent (there's one more to go in January), we saw how easy it is to run up huge cloud bills, and we shared some really great serverless reads. This week, we get tumbling windows and checkpointing, we watch the Jamstack space start to really heat up, and we congratulate our new serverless writers. Plus, we have plenty of awesome serverless posts from the community.

Congrats to our New Serverless Writers! ๐ŸŽ‰

We had several submissions for our new serverless writers contest, so hopefully we inspired a bunch of you to start sharing your insights and knowledge with the community! Our four winners will receive a digital copy of The Developerโ€™s Guide to Content Creation by Stephanie Morillo. Here are the excellent posts they wrote:

Ibrahim Cesar shares his story of serverless transformation on a news media outlet in Brazil, where he compares deployment tooling and shares some lessons learned. Kunal Sumbly shows us how to use AWS Rekognition to detect known faces in video streams. If you want to rebuild your blog without any Lambda functions, then Jon Holmann has a 4 part series on how to build a computeless blog for you. For those of you curious about other serverless platforms, Athithan Raj P. explains how to get started on Nimbella.

Got something to say about serverless? The contest may be over, but you can still post on Twitter using the hashtag #offbynone to help us find and amplify your content.

Special thanks to Michael Bahr for helping with the contest and donating the prizes. Your support is much appreciated! ๐Ÿ™Œ

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More re:Capping of re:Invent ๐Ÿ“

We typically see several roundup posts for re:Invent, but given its three-week run this year, they’ve been a bit more spread out. Here are a few more if you’re still not ready to put re:Invent 2020 behind you!

Brian Hough shares his top highlights from re:Invent 2020 for innovators and builders, while Renato Losio gives more of a general recap. Albiona Hoti from Webiny shares her top 5 serverless announcements, though I am a bit surprised to see that Proton made the list. I must be missing something.

Dhaval Nagar wrote a piece outlining what has changed in the AWS Lambda in the past year. It doesn’t cover everything but gives you a good sense of just how much can happen in a year.

Serverless News & Announcements ๐Ÿ“ฃ

There were a lot of announcements this week that continue to change the serverless and cloud landscape. For one, Vercel raised $40M to build the Next web. That means more investment into zero config frontend React apps that are powering lots of sites.

In other Jamstack news, Netlify launched their Technology Partner Program to help enterprises do more with the Jamstack, and Cloudflare joined the fray by introducing Cloudflare Pages, which they claim is “the best way to build JAMstack websites.” Cloudflare also acquired Linc to help automate web app deployment and host the front and back end at the edge.

Architect 8.4 was released and introduces “Lambda treeshaking.” This is another step toward automatically reducing the size of your Lambda deployment packages.

Also, Trend Micro unveiled the world’s first cloud-native file storage security, Supabase raised $6M for its open-source Firebase alternative, and Nimbella wants to help you overcome Mandalorian withdrawal and teach you serverless by playing FaaS Wars.

Serverless Stories ๐Ÿ“–

Great stories always have a lesson. Filip Pรฝrek shares what he learned about AWS AppSync subscriptions. There’s another good lesson is how the team at realized that serverless monitoring is no longer โ€œfinding a needle in a haystackโ€, once they implemented Epsagon.

And Kyle Galbraith shares his (and most other developer’s) frustrations tracking down the cause of an Internal Server Error with AWS HTTP API Gateway.

Serverless Concepts ๐Ÿ—

Ibrahim Cesar published another piece this week that asks, “What to choose for your Infrastructure as Code on AWS?” There is a lot of information in here, and while the choice isn’t clear cut, hopefully it fills in the gaps for you.

Anahit Pogosova has another excellent post in her series on mastering AWS Kinesis Data Streams. Read through both parts and you’re almost guaranteed to become a Kinesis expert.

There is a really interesting post from Alex Vipond that contends that your DynamoDB table is a list of relationships in your app’s graph. I’ve never quite thought of it this way, and I’m definitely not sold on the idea of inverted indexes for metadata, but reading this might unlock some key concepts for you.

Dhaval Nagar has an incredibly in-depth post that explains how pay per use can derail your serverless budget. Some of the scenarios are only for demonstration purposes, but it does show how it’s possible for costs to add up quickly.

And, Yan Cui has a great cheat sheet for choosing async event sources for Lambda.

Serverless Tutorials ๐Ÿ‘ทโ€โ™€๏ธ

The more I see people building with serverless, the more I see diverse combinations of services and packages showing up. For example, if you’re setting up a Serverless project with Webpack, Babel, and Knex, James Ingold might have some shortcuts for you. If you want to cache SSM Parameter Store values in Lambda with the CDK, Ryan Dsouza has a solution. And, if you need to start Synchronous Express Workflows with API Gateway and the CDK, Wojciech Matuszewski has you covered.

There was great news for Node.js developers last week when AWS SDK for JavaScript v3 was released. And thanks to Paul Swail, you can learn how to migrate your Node.js Lambda functions to AWS SDK v3.

Towards Data Science has two great posts on deploying deep learning models as Serverless APIs and showing you how to build an AWS Lambda for Data Science.

In other data related things, Jason Wadsworth has some thoughts on managing changing access patterns with DynamoDB, and James Beswick has another excellent post (no surprise there) on using AWS Lambda for streaming analytics.

Nader Dabit shows you how to do Next.js CI / CD on AWS with GitHub Actions, Christoph Gerkens shares a Circuit Breaker solution for AWS Lambda Functions, and Eric Johnson walks you through using container image support for AWS Lambda with AWS SAM.

Serverless Security ๐Ÿ”’

We don’t see a lot of security posts anymore, but this piece on protecting your S3 buckets from breaches by Mauricio Klein had to be shared.

Serverless Reads ๐Ÿค“

If you missed Forrest Brazeal’s piece, AWS Lambda is winning, but first it had to die, you should definitely give it a read. There has definitely been a shift from the original Serverless Compute Manifesto, but as he points out, it’s likely what’s fueling the adoption. FaaS purists be damned. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mauro Krikorian wrote a very lengthy post about a hands-on approach in the journey to demystify Multi-Cloud. I started losing interest less than halfway through, not because the article is bad, but simply because I can’t possibly justify why any of this would be necessary. If you’re a big believer in multi-cloud (and not in a good way), this might be for you.

Podcasts, Videos, and more ๐ŸŽง

On Serverless Chats Episode #80: Revolutionary Serverless at re:Invent, I spoke with Ajay Nair about recent serverless launches at AWS and the use cases they target, what makes serverless such a revolutionary way to build modern applications, and what AWS is doing to ensure a serverless future for everyone.

New from AWS ๐Ÿ†•

Last week we saw a few more re:Invent announcements, with some very cool updates for Lambda, including tumbling windows and checkpointing for Amazon Kinesis and Amazon DynamoDB Streams. Plus Lambda now supports self-managed Apache Kafka as an event source and SASL/SCRAM authentication for functions triggered from Amazon MSK.

I was excited to see AWS SDK for JavaScript v3 become generally available, plus the APIs now available for the AWS Well-Architected Tool.

The new Amazon Location Service was announced in preview, as was High Throughput Mode for SQS FIFO Queues. Route 53 now has support for DNSSEC, and the AWS Database Migration Service now supports Amazon DocumentDB (with MongoDB compatibility) as a source, which is actually a lot cooler than one would think.

In DynamoDB news, you now can use PartiQL with NoSQL Workbench to query, insert, update, and delete table data in Amazon DynamoDB and PartiQL for DynamoDB now is supported in 23 AWS Regions.

Finally, Distributed Load Testing v1.2 was introduced with more features to easily simulate thousands of users connecting to your application so that you can better understand your application performance under load.

Thoughts from Twitter ๐Ÿฆ

AWS Lambda switched to “per ms billing” on Dec 1st 2020. Despite continued adoption and shifting more workload to Lambda, our December bill for our Lambda workload will come in at ~40% or less compared to previous months. Keep it coming, @awscloud . #serverless for the win! ~Markus Thurner
I know that 1ms billing might have a minimal impact on a lot of workloads, especially the small ones, but a 40% reduction on a $2,000 bill is nothing to sneeze at.

In my previous company some teams celebrated every production deployment because a lot of long-awaited changes were shipped each time. If you worked with me you know how excited and proud I felt about our team’s efforts and release milestones, *however* (a thread) ~ Sara Gerion
Awesome thread by Sara that explains why deploying to production should be such a regular thing that it becomes boring.

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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.

January 12-14, 2021 – AWS re:Invent (Part Deux)

Serverless Star of the Week โญ๏ธ

There is a very long list of people who 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 Bhuvaneswari Subramani (@installjournal). Bhuvaneswari is the Director of Engineering Operations at Infor and an AWS Community Hero. With almost two decades of IT experience under her belt, she shares her vast knowledge through writing, such as for the tech blog DevOps and CloudComputing, and the AWS User Group Bengaluru Blog. Bhuvaneswari was honored by AWS as one of the five recipients of the AWS re:Invent 2018 Community Leader Diversity Scholarship, and she is a co-organizer of Bengaluru AWS User Group and Bengaluru AWS Community Day. She is also an active speaker at community events, conferences, and delivers guest lectures on Cloud Computing at engineering colleges affiliated to Anna University. Your contributions are incredible, Bhuvaneswari, and we thank you! ๐Ÿ™Œ

Final Thoughts ๐Ÿค”

re:Invent has (sort of) come to an end, so I’m hoping we’ll get a few weeks to take a deep breath, enjoy the holidays, and let some of the awesome announcements sink in. That might be wishful thinking.

I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday. We’ll be back next week with our round-up of 2020!

Happy Holidays,

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.

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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.


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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 โญ๏ธ!