Off-by-none: Issue #139

April 27, 2021

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The past, present, and future of S3

Welcome to Issue #139 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Stackery, Lumigo, and AntStack.

Last week, Cloudflare workers were unbound, EventBridge went multi-region, and we learned why no one wants to manage Kubernetes anymore. This week, Werner reflects on the granddaddy of serverless services, we think about data as a utility, and we revisit the value of hexagonal architecture. Plus, we have lots of serverless content from the community.

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Serverless News & Announcements 📣

Not a lot of serverless news to speak of this week, but Werner Vogels did update his personal site to be mobile friendly, so you no longer have to read it on your Apple II.

Something else rather interesting I saw was that Tala Security has integrated with Fastly’s Compute@Edge to deliver an automated implementation of its data security and privacy platforms. I think we’ll definitely see this model repeated with more companies using edge networks’ serverless capabilities to provide pass-through services to their customers. Lots of interesting use cases here.

Serverless Use Cases 🗺

Speaking of use cases, how about using serverless for music and audio analysis? Gianluca Zuccarelli explains how to use Librosa with AWS Lambda.

If you want to get started with Optical Character Recognition using Python and AWS, check out this post from Sehmim Haque.

How about using serverless to make sure your services are up and running? Kyle Carter explains how he built an over-engineered serverless uptime checker to do just that.

Not so much a use case as it is perhaps a lack of one, Taylor Reece tells the story of why his team moved from Lambda to ECS. I think there were ways to make this work, but teams have to do what teams have to do.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

What do tennis and serverless have in common? Probably nothing, but someone named Roger Federer gives some good advice on when to use “scan” instead of “query” with DynamoDB. Nothing on how to improve your backhand.

Filippo Cilluffo makes an argument for Hexagonal Architecture to avoid being locked into your serverless provider. The lock-in argument doesn’t sell me, but the testing flexibility and dependency injection capabilities certainly do.

And since we mentioned testing, perhaps Burak Kantarcı can give you some helpful tips on testing microservices in this Quick Start Guide, plus Serkan Özal has some additional testing tips for today’s distributed cloud environments.

It’s been around for over 15 years, but how well do you really know S3? Michael Liendo has a rather comprehensive intro for you.

As much as I try to avoid NAT Gateways in my serverless applications, they’re an easy way to set a static IP address for AWS Lambda, as Alex Damiani explains.

Maciej Radzikowski has several excellent tips for AWS Lambda performance optimization.

Taylor Reece points out that built-in Node functions can be overridden between Lambda runs, which is true of basically any Node environment that you allow third-party code to run on. Still a good reminder that Lambda’s globals are shared between subsequent invocations of the same container.

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Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

Lots of tutorials this week, plus this new digital course from AWS on Amazon S3 Performance Optimization. It’s completely free, so probably worth taking a look.

Dylan Anthony shows you how to running GraphQL on Lambda with Rust.

Shivang Chauhan has a detailed guide on how to use Websockets with AWS serverless.

For something a bit more beginner-friendly, Syed Saad Ahmed will take you hands on with AWS Lambda.

Jinlian (Sunny) Wang explains user authentication through authorization code grant type using AWS Cognito.

Gerald Stewart shares some ideas for Lambda versioning using AWS CDK.

Arnaud Lachaume has a very cool post that shows you how to deploy your SPA and programmatically manage traffic with Cloudflare Workers.

Michael Wittig explains an AWS architecture pattern for scheduled and serverless batch processing.

Rachel White shows you how to build a serverless Twitter bot because we definitely need more Twitter bots. 😉

Serverless Reads 🤓

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Paul Swail asks a really good question about serverless app platforms and potential feature ceilings. I know I’m listening.

Frédéric Barthelet explains serverless file storage options on AWS , and how Lift handles them.

Werner Vogel reflects on the past, present, and future of S3.

We have mentioned this in the past, but the fact that the serverless Cassandra is 76% less expensive than self-managed, is just too good not to share again.

Wayne Rash has a piece on how Fauna delivers data-as-utility in a serverless world. I spoke with Rob Sutter about how all this stuff works, and it is fascinating.

Paolo Fusari reflects on the state of cloud and the progress of serverless in part 2 of his Practical Guide to Surviving AWS SAM.

Remember that time Adobe built its own serverless platform? Sarah Xu gives an update on Project Firefly and where the project is now.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

On Serverless Chats Episode #98: Making Serverless Accessible with Bit Project, I spoke with Daniel Kim about why serverless is a great starting place for junior developers, how the program scopes projects for beginners, what types of projects students can build, and how you can become a Bit Project mentor to help others learn serverless.

At a recent CharlestonJS Meetup, Tom Wilson presented on the new NodeJS v16 release and does a talk showcasing the Architect framework.

Marcia Villalba has another great video that shows you how to modify your data on the fly with S3 Object Lambdas and anonymize it using Amazon Comprehend.

New from AWS 🆕

Just a few serverless-related updates from AWS this week. Amazon SNS added some additional message filtering operators. They still work only on message attributes, which adds a bit of extra planning to the message creation step, but still good to see capabilities added.

Amazon Translate increased the size limit of Parallel data from 1GB to 5GB, allowing you to use more data to customize your ACT output.

AWS announced data sink capability for Glue connectors, allowing you to use bidirectional connectors as both source and destination.

Not fully serverless, but AWS announced the general availability of Amazon Athena ML powered by Amazon SageMaker, giving you the ability to use SQL functions in Amazon Athena to generate predictions from your SageMaker models, which is pretty cool.

Also not serverless, but awesome, is Amazon Elasticsearch Service’s announcement of Asynchronous Support, letting you submit a query that gets executed asynchronously, monitor the progress of the request, and retrieve results at a later stage, or even get partial results.

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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

April 30, 2021 – CDK Day

May 19, 2021 – Serverless Live (Twitch)

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 Ben Smith (@benjamin_l_s). Ben is a Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless at AWS. He was a web developer for more than 15 years and worked in enterprise software before moving into an evangelist role. Now he engages regularly with the developer community where he helps developers get started with serverless on the AWS Compute Blog, shares his work on GitHub, and writes about serverless on his tech blog, The Web Smith. Ben, thanks for all your efforts in teaching others and working to improve serverless! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

It was an incredibly exciting week for me and my team as we began sharing Serverless Cloud with a few early beta testers. The feedback was awesome, and even though it’s still early, we are seeing some really great potential. But even as we’re trying to solve a few pain points for serverless developers, it’s amazing to see what others in the community are doing as well. New products and services, open source projects, feature releases and enhancements, and continual innovations, are what make this an exciting ecosystem to be a part of. Things just keep getting better and better.

Take care,

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 #138April 20, 2021

Next Issue

Issue #140May 4, 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 ⭐️!