Off-by-none: Issue #135

March 30, 2021

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Just say NO to NoOps! 🚫

Welcome to Issue #135 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Epsagon, Lumigo, and Stackery.

Last week, S3 Object Lambdas were announced, we talked WebAssembly, and we shared a bunch of serverless use cases. This week, serverless joins the fight against COVID, managed services TKO TCO, and we debunk the myth of NoOps. Plus, we have lots of amazing content from the serverless community.

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Serverless News & Announcements πŸ“£

No major serverless news this week that I found, other than Data Theorem launching a new service Cloud Secure that protects cloud-native apps, API services, and serverless cloud functions. Plus, Effectual introduced a managed DevOps platform that’s optimized for AWS, and from what I can gather, is another CDK type play.

Definitely not serverless related is the news that Twitter acqui-hired the Israeli team behind Reshuffle’s developer community, finally admitting that they have no idea how to build a developer community.

There was this new Cassandra Total Cost of Ownership Study that found using a fully-managed serverless version of Cassandra will run you about $740,087 over the course of three years. Compare that with running your own cluster with a TCO of $3,174,938 and the choice becomes pretty clear. Either way, you’re still running Cassandra, but you do you.

Finally, a new book called Practical Process Automation by Bernd Ruecker just came out. I haven’t read it yet, but it seems like something anyone building in the cloud would want to have on their desk.

Serverless Use Cases πŸ—Ί

Here’s an interesting use case for serverless handling billions of dollars in sports bets! Matt Robinson explains how DraftKings is moving toward a serverless backend.

Also interesting is Wilhelm Wonigkeit’s post on how to classify NSFW images using a serverless workflow.

Serverless Concepts πŸ—

Allen Helton shares how (and why) you need to start generating your serverless infrastructure diagrams. There are some excellent points in here. Allen also shares some helpful Solutions Architect tips for you to decode the AWS Serverless design principles.

If you’re curious about what some of the main issues with AWS Lambda performance are, and how to overcome them, take a look at this post. I wouldn’t put too much stock in the cold start stuff, but other than that, there are some useful bits in here. Speaking of cold starts, Christian Sendler has a post on preventing AWS Lambda cold starts using scheduled event rules. Again, not a huge fan of using this approach anymore, but it does come in handy sometimes.

Pushkar Thakur answers the question, what is AWS Amplify? Plus, Alexey Antipov does a great job breaking down the differences between Vercel Serverless Functions and Cloudflare Workers.

Yaser Adel Mehraban spends some time exploring Azure Function Triggers and Bindings, which I personally find to be extremely interesting.

And someone is actually arguing for using YAML and wants to show you how to get started with it in 5 minutes. πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

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Serverless Tutorials πŸ‘·β€β™€οΈ

Lots of great tutorials this week, including Shrey Vijayvargiya showing us how to build a serverless function in Next JS, Carlo Miguel Dy’s explanation of how to go serverless with Nuxt, AWS Amplify, and TypeScript, and Richard Shackleton walking us through creating gated content with the Jamstack.

Paul Chin Jr. explains how to use external APIs with serverless functions, Ronald Widjojo shares how to create an AWS Lambda Layer for the Python runtime, and Vadim Nicolaev offers up a better way to get secrets in a serverless world.

Ngakan Nyoman Gandhi adds to our collection of 1,001 ways to do CI/CD in AWS with this simple CI/CD pipeline that triggers JAR builds on CodeCommit events. Plus, Paul Swail has this excellent simple guide to testing within your serverless CI/CD pipelines.

And Yan Cui shows you how to model one-to-many relationships with AppSync and DynamoDB. Bookmark this, because I’m sure you’ll need it at some point.

Serverless Security πŸ”’

We don’t see a lot of serverless security posts, but this one by Eric Kedrosky highlights some concerns with non-human serverless identities, or basically the roles that get created programmatically when deploying our serverless applications. The problem is that they are often too permissive and then don’t get cleaned up. Serverless alleviates a lot of security issues, but as this article points out, there are still some things to think about and address.

Also, Yan Cui has another great post that shows you how to secure multi-tenant applications with AppSync and Cognito.

Serverless Reads πŸ€“

Ibrahim Cesar wrote a very interesting piece that argues that serverless is ready, but developers are not. He might just be spot on.

Sarjeel Yusuf has a great post that debunks the myth of NoOps.

And Adrian Hornsby’s latest post, Towards Continuous Resilience, is another one to add to your cloud architect handbook.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

On Serverless Chats Episode #94: Serverless for Scientific Research, I spoke with Dr. Denis Bauer about how serverless is being used for genome editing and high-performance computing in the scientific community, how it helped with Australia’s COVID response, and how the technology can be used to collaborate with others around the world. Fascinating stuff.

Ania Kubow shows you how to use DataStax Serverless Database with Netlify Serverless Functions and Marcia Villalba teaches you how to build an app that sends real-time notifications when a device is nearby using Amazon Location Services.

New from AWS πŸ†•

Lots of interesting news out of Amazon this week (some handled better on Twitter than others) so there’s plenty to weed through.

The “serverless” line continues to be blurred, but some helpful new features include API Gateway now providing IAM condition keys for governing endpoint, authorization, and logging configurations, AWS CloudTrail adding logging of data events for DynamoDB, and DocumentDB now supporting event subscriptions.

Also, AWS WAF added support for Request Header Insertion and Custom Responses, plus AWS DevOps Monitoring Dashboard solution is now Generally Available.

AWS SSO credential profile support has been added to the AWS Toolkit for VS Code, which hopefully means I don’t need to store a bunch of local access keys.

Amazon Timestream now supports Amazon VPC endpoints, if you’re into that sort of thing, and Amazon Kinesis Data Analytics now supports Python with Apache Flink v1.11.

They also announced a new AWS Step Functions integration with Amazon EMR on EKS. Somehow I feel like Step Functions just got less serverless. πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

Serverless Tools πŸ› 

Just released: to audit your CloudFormation templates
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Dr. Peter Sbarski launched this nice little Serverless Cost Calculator.

Guy Moses shows you how Dynamic Dashboards work in Lumigo.

And Lev Perlman says you can get started with serverless in 5 minutes using a service called StateWize.

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

“Deno starting a company! Looking forward to seeing their strategy play out. Deeply skeptical of workloads running anywhere other than AWS but if Digital Ocean can do it maybe they can too. Cloud just getting started.” ~ Brian LeRoux
I’m really curious to see what their strategy is too. But I think Brian makes the larger point about cloud just getting started. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Upcoming Serverless Events πŸ—“

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

April 30, 2021 – CDK Day (be a speaker)

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 Sarjeel Yusuf (@SarjeelY). Sarjeel is a Product Manager at Atlassian and is interested in how the move to cloud computing and the rise of DevOps is revolutionizing the way we manage and release software systems. By leveraging his past experience in serverless monitoring and debugging, he believes that there is a great opportunity in how serverless can unlock the potential of DevOps teams. He writes about serverless, DevOps, and product management strategies on Medium and his own blog. Sarjeel, we commend you for your commitment to improving processes for DevOps! πŸ™Œ

Final Thoughts πŸ€”

I spent some time this past week refactoring code for one of my open source projects and realized again just how much boilerplate goes into our serverless applications. Not only that, but as Ibrahim Cesar points out, it can take a long time to onboard new developers and get them to be productive with serverless. It pains me to see something so amazing fail so miserably because of a steep learning curve.

I’m going to keep working on the solution. πŸ˜‰

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 #134March 23, 2021

Next Issue

Issue #136April 6, 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 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 ⭐️!