Off-by-none: Issue #137

April 13, 2021

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The challenges of Lambda in production ⚙️

Welcome to Issue #137 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Stackery, Lumigo, and AntStack.

Last week, the AWS serverless team gave us a bunch of patterns, we learned the value of making data migrations easy, and we saw more things happening at the edge. This week, we learn about the challenges of Lambda in production, talk about serverless and machine learning, and simulate our data flows with Step Functions. Plus, we have a ton of amazing content from the serverless community.

Before we begin, do you need help following best practices for your IaC and CloudFormation templates? Check out Stackery’s new product and how it can help visualize and improve your IaC for security and reliability. Sponsored

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

Not a lot of “serverless” news this week, but a $1 billion investment in Israeli high-tech in a single day this April is a good sign that companies like Trax Image Recognition and Redis Labs will continue to innovate in the cloud.

Waylay announces Waylay IO, which claims to be the “first” low-code developer-friendly data automation and orchestration platform. I might be wrong, but I feel like I’ve seen quite of few of these lately.

In Kubernetes news, Canonical announced enterprise support for Kubernetes 1.21 including support in MicroK8s, their lightweight, zero-ops, conformant Kubernetes platform for the edge.

Epsagon continues to add capabilities, this time with support for Scala and unlimited trace retention, and Palo Alto Networks will now scan your IaC files, including your serverless.yml.

Serverless Stories 📖

Christian Bandowski explains why he wouldn’t choose S3 bucket notifications again. As he explains, there are better options.

Juan Jolainez recounts how CreditorWatch successfully created a push queue using SQS and Lambda.

And Piaras Hoban walks us through his thinking for a quick method for stream decompression of a zip archive using Golang and AWS Lambda.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Webinar: How Medtronic Finds & Fixes Serverless Issues
Join experts from Medtronic and Lumigo as they review Medtronic’s serverless architecture that processes one billion Lambdas a month. They will show how Medtronic monitors and troubleshoots performance issues and errors. Thursday, April 22, 10 AM PT. Sponsored

Ismail Alabou gives you the low-down on what is the JAMstack, how to get started with it, and how it differs from “serverless”.

Noah Fischer explains the challenges with serverless database connections and how Upstash tweaks its databases to optimize the connections. Interesting read, especially their suggestions on when to manage the connections within your Lambda function.

Though I might not fully agree with everything in this article, at least Martin Heller correctly calls out vendor lock-in as a “tradeoff” rather than a problem. Anyway, it’s a thorough piece on how to choose a cloud serverless platform that provides some great background information.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

So. Many. Tutorials. Sorry if I overwhelm you this week, but there were a whole bunch of tutorials that I found quite interesting.

Alejandro Cora González teaches you how to build a serverless API service using FastAPI and deploy it with CodeBuild.

Rittika Jindal provides everything you need to know to build an end-to-end serverless ETL orchestration system in AWS.

Raul Tavares added two new posts to his Serverless Architecture series, one on API Integration Responses and Lambda Proxy, and the other on Lambda Authorizers and IAM Policies.

We mentioned Lars Jacobsson’s “sam-patterns-cli” last week, and now he’s published a handy guide to help you accelerate your serverless development with the sam-patterns-cli.

If you’re interested in creating a serverless application using AWS Lambda and AWS Rekognition, check out the post from Rollend Xavier.

I’m not sure that you’d want to do this (kidding 😉), but Max Ivanov shows you how to deploy an AWS Lambda to a VPC with Terraform.

You can also learn how to get headless Chrome running on AWS Lambda, or let Jinlian Wang give you a step-by-step guide to setting up an implicit grant workflow in AWS Cognito, or see how James Stratford imports/exports serverless Custom Authorizers across services.

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Serverless Reads 🤓

Lou Bichard answers the question, “which AWS Certification should you take first?“, and more importantly, do you actually need it?

Lucas De Mitri has an excellent post on the challenges of AWS Lambda in production, along with a number of his recommendations for solving them.

Matt Asay wrote an interesting post about how Rust, not Firefox, is Mozilla’s greatest industry contribution. And if you’re wondering what this has to do with serverless, then look no further than WebAssembly and edge computing.

Taavi Rehemägi tries to tackle the great serverless cost debate with a number of facts, figures, questions, and answers.

Take advantage of this new paradigm, think differently about approaching innovation, and maximize your leverage of the cloud’s native capabilities.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Lee Briggs and Piers Karsenbarg ask (and try to answer) whether or not serverless is really the future. In two parts.

Finally, Ismail Egilmez tells the true story of log fatigue.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

On Serverless Chats Episode #96: Serverless and Machine Learning, I chat with Alexandra Abbas about why we need MLOps, how teams productionize workflows and deploy models, the challenges for serverless machine learning use cases, and much more.

New from AWS 🆕

The firehose of AWS announcements was on full blast this week, with a couple of really exciting serverless-related ones.

Let’s start with AWS Step Functions adding a new data flow simulator for modeling input and output processing. This is a super handy way of building and testing your Step Functions executions.

Next up we have AWS Lambda@Edge changing duration billing granularity from 50ms down to 1ms. This is great news for those quick transformations or header checks. I can imagine the cost savings could be huge.

And Amazon CloudWatch Lambda Insights now supports AWS Lambda Container Images, so you can now monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize the performance of functions packaged and deployed as container images.

The Amplify team announced that data management is now generally available in the AWS Amplify Admin UI and that Amplify iOS is now available via Swift Package Manager (SPM).

Some other announcements that caught my eye:

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

When using DynamoDB + AWS SDKs in your apps, which do you use most often? If you are inclined to respond with “why” you chose what you did, that’d be helpful as well. ~ Kirk Kirkconnell
Interesting question posed by Kirk, with equally interesting comments. It looks like the vast majority are using DocumentClient or a Mapper tool, especially when interfacing with the data. I’m the same, but always drop down to the low-level interface when managing the infrastructure.

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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

April 22, 2021 – How Medtronic Finds & Fixes Serverless Issues (webinar)

April 22, 2021 – DevDay Online with AWS & Stackery: Modernizing your .NET App

April 30, 2021 – CDK Day

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 Adrian Cockroft (@adrianco). Adrian is the VP of Amazon Sustainability Architecture helping customers understand how to apply sustainability practices to their business. Up until recently, he was VP of Cloud Architecture Strategy at AWS, working closely with customers around their use and creation of open source projects. Adrian writes about all things serverless and cloud on Medium, and shares ideas on speeding up innovation, and architecture trends and topics. Thank you, Adrian, for your commitment to innovating and engaging with developers around the world! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

The world ain’t slowing down, and neither are the amazing innovations in tech and cloud. It was another long issue today, but there are just so many fascinating things happening with serverless and the cloud, it’s hard to narrow it down.

I’m hoping you find something from this issue that inspires you, answers a question you had, unblocks a problem you were stuck on, or just deepens your knowledge of serverless. There’s so much to learn from each other, so please keep sharing your knowledge, and be sure to let me know so I can include it here!

Have a great 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 #136April 6, 2021

Next Issue

Issue #138April 20, 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 ⭐️!