Off-by-none: Issue #132

March 9, 2021

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You have reached your API Destination...

Welcome to Issue #132 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Epsagon and Lumigo.

Last week, Google Cloud put Kubernetes on autopilot, we got a lesson in serverless security, and we learned how to use source maps with Lambda. This week, EventBridge expands its reach, we discover a plethora of new serverless tools, and we share one of the best arguments for serverless we’ve ever heard. Plus, we’ve got plenty of great content from the serverless community.

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Serverless News & Announcements 📣

Not a lot in terms of serverless news this week, but we did find out that Okta and Auth0 are “joining forces” later this year. This is rather interesting news for us serverless fans given that Auth0 was a popular alternative to the less than stellar AWS Cognito offering. Yan Cui shared some thoughts on that and makes the case for and against Amazon Cognito.

Serverless Stories 📖

Michael Morgenstern claims that AWS’s faulty UX cost his business $7k and then refused to do anything about it. There was definitely plenty of user error involved, but there are still some important lessons here. AWS billing complexity aside, developers are more empowered than ever to make complex cloud buying decisions with just a few clicks or keystrokes. Without the proper safeguards in place, you might just be out $7k.

Pubudu Jayawardana shows us how he built a simple sprint dashboard with AWS Amplify. It’s part story, part tutorial, and part lessons learned.

Serverless Use Cases 🗺

Dmitry Lozitskiy shares a straightforward use case that creates an AWS Serverless blogs notifier for MS Teams to stay up to date with serverless best practices.

And John Schmidt shows you how to verify your Shopify webhooks using serverless functions with Vercel.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Samuel Vandecasteele has an excellent post that experiments with integrating third-party APIs using the new API Destinations of Amazon EventBridge. Seems like there are still some limitations, but they also seem very promising.

Collin Smith gives you a simple DynamoDB introduction, Sarjeel Yusuf explains how to create active/active multi-region systems on steroids with serverless, and Ran Ribenzaft does a deep dive and comparison of open-source monitoring tools.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

Yan Cui shares a quick lesson that shows you how to configure environment specific parameters with Vue.js and Amplify.

Kit Fenderson-Peters gives you everything you need to know to create a custom S3 bucket policy with the Serverless Framework.

And Salma Alam-Naylor teaches you how to generate an RSS feed for your blog with JavaScript and Netlify functions. Something that I would greatly appreciate you doing so it’s easier to find all your awesome serverless content. 😉

Webinar: Observability for Serverless Apps with AWS & Lumigo
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Serverless Security 🔒

Ariel Assaraf shares some best practices for keeping your serverless architecture secure. Most of these articles generally try to push you to a security vendor (this isn’t an exception), but there are some solid learnings and good concepts in here that you should at least be aware of.

Serverless Reads 🤓

Enrico Piccinin shares his thoughts on whether to use serverless functions to build microservices. I do think that there is a point where highly predictable workloads benefit less from serverless, but until you’re 100% certain that a serverfull solution would reduce TCO, I’d stay the course.

You’ve probably heard about Fauna by now, and probably for good reason. Wayne Rash explains how Fauna helps deliver the serverless future at least from a data perspective.

You can’t escape Pulumi and other IaC tools, or can you? This article rightfully argues that development teams need a way to create and audit repeatable deployments. But I sometimes wonder if IaC is the only solution here.

Colin Chartier gives his take on why serverless is more expensive than you’d expect. Unfortunately, his assumptions are all wrong. I could go on a rant here, but Tom McLaughlin already said it all.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

Do yourself a favor and listen to Forrest Brazeal​’s brilliant pitch for choosing serverless. It’s only 10 minutes long, and I highly suggest you take the time.

On Serverless Chats Episode #91: Streaming Data at Scale Using Serverless (PART 1), I chat with Anahit Pogosova about where and why we’d use Kinesis, how Lambda helps you supercharge it, how to embrace (and deal with) the failures, common serverless misconceptions, and much more.

Lukas Liesis curated a list of his favorite re:Invent sessions. Looks like we have similar taste.

Dylan Albertazzi posted a response to Ben Awad’s “Serverless Doesn’t Make Sense” video. I think Dylan does a fine job with his rebuttal, but we should probably move away from encouraging the warming hacks. If you really need warm Lambdas, the official solution (though expensive) is the more reliable option.

New from AWS 🆕

Lots of really great serverless announcements this week from AWS, including Amazon EventBridge’s support for API Destinations. James Beswick has a great post that dives deeper here.

Amazon EventBridge also added propagation of X-Ray trace context so that you can view the end-to-end flow of events through your applications. Which is pretty darn cool.

AWS Step Functions added tooling support for YAML, because who didn’t want more YAML? But seriously, this is a nice addition to keep your configurations consistent.

The AWS Lambda console now features a new navigation design that reduces the amount of scrolling needed to access common configuration options, which is a nice improvement.

AWS Lambda adds four Trusted Advisor checks and AWS Security Hub adds 25 new controls to its Foundational Security Best Practices standard. Always nice to have these oversight and optimization tools.

Remember AWS Proton? Me neither, but it now supports services without pipelines and tagging capabilities.

AWS Secrets Manager now provides support to replicate secrets to multiple AWS Regions. I’m guessing that AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store still doesn’t do this, which is what I really needed.

And in AWS Solutions news, the Serverless Bot Framework added Amazon Lex V2 Console and API integration for an improved bot building experience.

Serverless Tools 🛠

I came across a ton of serverless tools this week. I didn’t get a chance to play around with any of them, but if anyone has some feedback, I’d love to hear it.

Wilhelm Wonigkeit shared something called Direktiv, for building event-driven serverless container workflows.

There’s something called ActionServerless, that lets you use GitHub Actions to serve a serverless service.

Tom Larkworthy wrote a post titled Towards a better Serverless where he describes a new framework to build serverless endpoints.

Adam Warski created a proof of concept for Tapir serverless. A framework to describe HTTP endpoints using a programmer-friendly API using the Scala language.

And finally, Josep Sampé created Lithops, described as “a powerful multi-cloud toolkit that allows to transparently scale local, multi-process, python applications into massive amounts of resources in the Cloud.” Okay then.

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

If you have an event, webinar, etc. that you’d like me to mention, please email me.

March 10, 2021 – NoSQL for Grownups: DynamoDB Single-Table Modeling with Rick Houlihan (webinar)

March 11, 2021 – Observability for Serverless Apps with AWS & Lumigo (webinar)

March 15 – 18, 2021 – AWS Pi Week 2021

March 24 & 25, 2021 – Cloud Community Days – Learn Serverless & DevOps

Serverless Star of the Week ⭐️

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 week’s star is Matthew Bonig (@mattbonig) Matthew is a senior consultant at Defiance Digital working as an architect and product lead. An AWS Data Hero and re:Invent 2019 DynamoDB builder’s sessions leader, Matthew also founded The Open Construct Foundation, a non-profit organization set out to surface and share community-driven content and code. Matthew, we salute your commitment to sharing serverless with others! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

It was great to see all those serverless announcements from AWS this week. And I’m sure the advancements being made to EventBridge are just the beginning. There are so many possibilities with what it could do to help standardize communications between services, systems, and APIs, which would make every developer’s life a lot easier. It’s exciting to watch.

It’s also fascinating to see all the new tools that are being built. If you take some time to look at them, you’ll see a lot of the same (new and old) patterns emerge. It’s interesting (to me at least) to see how people are designing workflows and structuring their services. Lots to be learned from seeing what others are doing.

Until next week,

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 #131March 2, 2021

Next Issue

Issue #133March 16, 2021

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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 “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 (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 ⭐️!