Off-by-none: Issue #142

May 18, 2021

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Everything you need to know about DynamoDB partitions 🧑‍🏫

Welcome to Issue #142 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Lumigo, Fauna, and Fastly.

Last week, Serverless Chats celebrated a major milestone, we got a plethora of Lambda performance optimizations, and we learned how Data APIs could replace your database. This week, we get a lesson in DynamoDB partitions, Step Functions supercharges event orchestration, and serverless helps us find better developers. Plus, we've got some awesome content from the serverless community.

Webinar: Why your next serverless project should use AppSync
Join AWS Serverless Hero Yan Cui and Lumigo Software Engineer Guy Moses as they discuss some of the power of GraphQL and AppSync and why AppSync + Lambda + DynamoDB should be your stack of choice in 2021 and beyond! Save your spot for the webinar this Thursday, May 20 at 10:00 AM PST / 1:00 PM ET / 18:00 CEST Sponsored

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

Super cool announcement that AWS Step Functions now supports Amazon custom events to EventBridge. Being able to orchestrate your workflows and emit events to EventBridge (all with no code) is incredibly powerful. Stephen Liedig has a great post that explains more.

In other extremely interesting AWS news, Amazon DynamoDB global tables now support AWS CloudFormation, which has been a long time coming and a much needed addition.

And while not very serverless in nature, the news that AWS powers the new shot and save analytics for NHL’s Stanley Cup should be another warning to cloud providers out there. NextGen Stats for the NFL, plus this, means fans (some of whom are developers) can’t help but see the raw power and potential of AWS. Everyone else better start going mainstream, otherwise, you’ll end up seeing Oracle Cloud sponsoring the stats for competitive curling.

In other cloud news, Google Cloud Run added committed use discounts and new security features to continue wooing potential serverless enthusiasts. If the 17% discount doesn’t get ya, then maybe the new secure parameter support and Recommendation Hub will.

Ben Ellerby announced the Alpha Release of sls-test-tools, which provides “a range of utilities, setup, teardown and assertions to make it easier to write effective and high quality integration tests for Serverless architectures on AWS.” Anything that makes that process easier gets an A in my book.

And because Ben apparently has lots of time on his hands, he also announced the Serverless-Transformation Rosetta Initiative to release selected articles in multiple languages. If we truly want #ServerlessForEveryone, then providing articles in multiple languages is another good step. And thanks to Evandro Pires da Silva, here’s one of their popular posts translated to Portuguese.

Serverless Stories 📖

Seth Carney and Aydrian Howard discuss how their team kept Datadog from blowing up their AWS bill. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard stories like this.

Eitan Yanovsky explains how his company is handling burst scale-out with “Function as a Service”. It seems like these approaches are definitely becoming more common, which may be a good thing? 🤷‍♂️

Serverless Use Cases 🗺

Looking for a global serverless database for all your applications?
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Vikas Solegaonkar shares the benefits of the “Storage First” pattern by using an asynchronous API with DynamoDB Streams.

Wojciech Matuszewski explains a simple architecture to create one-time presigned URLs with Amazon CloudFront and Amazon S3.

And Anshul Sharma gets extra points for showing you how to build a vaccine slot notifier using AWS and Python.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Alex DeBrie shares everything you need to know about DynamoDB partitions. There is a lot of information in here, so you might want to pace yourself as you go through it. 😉

Lee James Gilmore jumps into a bunch of detail on enterprise serverless databases, Ibrahim Cesar explores Redis as a serverless database to solve idempotence in APIs, and Tushar Sharma explains how to listen to events from AWS services.

Paolo Fusari shares Part 4 of his Practical Guide to Surviving AWS SAM, this time focusing on release change.

Zack Sheppard explains what a work queue is and how to make one in Node, and Natalia Czapracka asks (and answers), “should I use stream processing for my migration project?

And finally, Paul Swail lets you know how to handle flaky tests. There are plenty of things to think about here.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

AWS is offering a new course to help you learn how to develop applications with Amazon DynamoDB. It’s not free, but could definitely be worth it.

Marcin Oleksiak shows you how to fetch from the Yelp API via a Netlify Function with React.js in part 1, and part 2.

Stephen Siegert walks you through deploying a FastAPI backend using AWS Amplify Container-based REST APIs.

Tobias Schmidt has an interesting tutorial on securing your serverless application with self-signed JWTs and AWS HTTP APIs.

Jatin Nandwani shows you how to run a Lambda function in Node.js locally and deploy it to AWS using Serverless Framework, Nic Wanavit teaches you how to create a python lambda layer, and Kay Plößer explains how to build a microblogging platform with Serverless Redis.

Serverless Reads 🤓

Hiren Dossani explains why every penny counts, and how serverless and the Well-Architected Framework can help you achieve low-cost systems.

Maxime LaBoissonniere gives a great overview of Vercel and Netlify and how the two Jamstack deployment and hosting solutions compare.

Interesting article by Aparna Sinha and Philip Beevers entitled, A Good Developer Is Hard To Find. Serverless Can Help.

Ismail Egilmez explains 5 software testing roles and how they fit into an organization’s testing culture.

Karim Awd gives an edge computing overview and some example applications. And if you’re confused by what “edge computing” is, Allen Bernard explains why marketing and hype could be to blame.

I’m not sure I fully agree with Uri Zaidenwerg that DevOps will cease to exist, but the line is definitely becoming more and more blurry.

Julian Friedman has an excellent piece on losing and winning, and why “we will increasingly see deployment and scaling built into programming languages.” I certainly don’t think he’s wrong.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

On Serverless Chats Episode #101: How Serverless is Becoming More Extensible, I chatted with Julian Wood about how Lambda Extensions open up better integrations with more partners and tools, why container image support enables better workflows, why more developers are adopting event-driven applications, and the impact serverless best practices has had on people and the quality of software.

And Marcia Villalba has a new video that will teach you how to deploy a web app to the cloud with AWS Amplify and the AWS CDK.

In other AWS news…

There were a few other interesting AWS serverless announcements, including Amazon Kinesis Data Analytics now supporting RollbackApplication, ListApplicationVersions, and DescribeApplicationVersion APIs in preview, Amazon Athena adding built-in support for cross-account AWS Glue Data Catalogs, and Amazon RDS Data API now supporting FIPS 140-2 validated endpoints.

Plus, Amazon Transcribe improved live subtitling with partial results stabilization, AWS WAF added support for log filtering, and Amazon Elasticsearch Service announced a new lower-cost storage tier.

They also introduced Distributed Load Testing v1.3, which lets you scale out your load testing workflows even more and they announced that AWS CloudFormation Guard 2.0 is now generally available.

Serverless Tools 🛠

Heitor Lessa released aws-lambda-powertools v1.16, now with CodePipeline Job support and Base64 decode support.

Serverless Jobs 👩‍💻 Sponsored

Senior Serverless Developer at Fastly
Fastly is searching for someone with a developer background to be our first Senior Serverless Solutions Architect based in the US helping enterprises launch edge apps and grow overall platform adoption.

Have a job listing you’d like to share? Please contact me for more information.

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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

May 19, 2021 – Serverless Live (Twitch)

May 25, 2021 – Architecting for Serverless in 2021 (Webinar)

May 26, 2021 – Engineering at Scale #3 – Beyond Serverless and DevOps

June 7, 2021 – AWS Serverless in practice

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 Jeremy Thomerson (@jthomerson). Jeremy is a self-described serverless fanboy, trainer, and consultant. His first published web app was purchased by eBay, where, for a few years, he assisted and mentored teams that were migrating applications over to scalable Java-based architecture. These days, at, Jeremy is creating courses that teach developers how to build serverless REST APIs using AWS Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, and API Gateway, all deployed with the Serverless Framework. He also shares his work on GitHub. Jeremy, your commitment to serverless is an inspiration! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

Lots of great stuff this week. I’m super excited about the Step Function integration with EventBridge, and even though it might not be super glamorous to everyone, CloudFormation support for DynamoDB Global Tables has been on my #awswishlist for quite some time. And speaking of CloudFormation, I put a question out on Twitter asking what you love and/or hate about infrastructure as code. Lots of thoughts so far, and I’d love to get your thoughts on this as well!

See you all 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.

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Issue #141May 11, 2021

Next Issue

Issue #143May 25, 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 ⭐️!