Off-by-none: Issue #143

May 25, 2021

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The State of Serverless (2021 Edition) πŸ“Š

Welcome to Issue #143 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Fauna, Lumigo, AntStack, and Fastly.

Last week, we learned about DynamoDB partitions, Step Functions integrated with EventBridge, and serverless helped us find better developers. This week, we find out the current state of serverless, AWS realizes devs just want to write code, and the DaaS market gets a new player. Plus, we’ve got lots of great content from the serverless community.

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Serverless News & Announcements πŸ“£

Lots of exciting serverless news to cover! First of all, the Datadog State of Serverless report was released today. Lots of interesting findings in there, and maybe even a semi-rational thought turned into a quote by yours truly. πŸ˜‰

Then, early last week, AWS announced AWS App Runner, a fully managed container application service to build, deploy, and run containerized web applications and APIs in just a few clicks. Martin Beeby has a post that shows you how to go from code to a scalable, secure web application in minutes, and Mike Wheatley explains why running containers on Amazon just got easier. Seems like developers really just want to write code. Heck, even Terraform now supports it.

In other big AWS serverless news, AWS Lambda Extensions are now Generally Available. Observability tools are rightly excited about it, including new capabilities from Thundra and Epsagon. Plus, Yan Cui gives an excellent breakdown and teases upcoming features from Lumigo. Channy Yun gives a great technical overview and explains how to get started with your favorite operational tools on AWS Lambda. And in case you missed it, Julian Wood and I had a very detailed discussion about Lambda Extensions on Serverless Chats Episode #101.

Let’s not forget that there are other clouds doing some pretty amazing serverless things. Microsoft announced several new updates for Azure Cosmos DB, including the fact that it’s now GA, has built-in encryption, and added partial document updates. And Rackspace Technology is now moving into multi-cloud management because, let’s face it, the big three cast a very large shadow.

In JAMstacky news, Netlify acquired FeaturePeek and launched a next generation of Deploy Previews to streamline collaboration for web teams, so that’s pretty cool. Plus, Vercel announced their second Next.js Conf to be held June 15, 2021.

Imperva launched a new product to secure serverless functions with visibility into the application layer and code-level vulnerabilities. It appears to be a Lambda Layer that provides runtime protection, though I think the overview video oversells the risks quite a bit.

And finally, the Database-as-a-Service market continues to heat up, this time with the launch of PlanetScale: The database for developers. πŸš€

Serverless Stories πŸ“–

Marcel Reyes helps explain how Illuvium’s serverless architecture will be “Best-Of-Breed” according to Lead Server Engineer, John Avery.

Kevin White discusses building Serverless SlackBots, the architecture his team used, and some of his musings on the process.

Mario Bittencourt has a great piece that does a deep dive on handling eventual consistency with distributed systems. Lots of great info regarding the common pitfalls and how his team worked around them.

Serverless Concepts πŸ—

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Quick tip from Paul Swail on how to spec your tests before writing them to make sure your team actually follows up on integration and E2E tests.

Bryson Tyrrell has an excellent post that clearly explains why you should always use DynamoDB global tables now. Besides the inevitable pains of incremental region additions using CloudFormation, whether your targeting multi-region or not, this seems like the new default.

Renesha Joan Marin shares 5 Serverless plugins every developer should know, and Dunith Dhanushka shares 5 serverless platforms for building internet-scale, real-time applications. There are a few things missing from both of these lists, but they’re a good start.

And Tobias Schmidt has a great post that explains how latency-based routing and region failovers can work for serverless applications.

Serverless Tutorials πŸ‘·β€β™€οΈ

Lots of really great tutorials this week, so here are a bunch of my favorites, in no particular order. πŸ˜‰

Webinar: Learn How Distributed Serverless Development Made Easy
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Serverless Reads πŸ€“

Anil Sharma writes A Vision of a Programmable Cloud Platform. Wouldn’t something like this be amazing? Well, my team working on Serverless Cloud thinks so too. πŸ˜€

Steve Rice and Tim Yao have an interesting piece that shows how AWS dogfoods its own products. So feel free to take a peek behind the scenes as AWS AppConfig builds a Lambda extension.

And John Osborne, chief architect at Red Hat, explains why now is the right time for an open-source serverless strategy. Though I’m not sure I entirely agree that proprietary lock-in is as big a problem as he suggests.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

On Serverless Chats Episode #102: Creating and Evolving Technical Content, I had an amazing chat with Amy Arambulo Negrette about what makes a good conference talk, why doing technical talks and creating content can help your career, how new problems can become a source of new content, how to make problems more interesting, and much more.

Marcia Villalba, aka the queen of serverless content, has another great video on how to deploy a serverless web app to the cloud with AWS Amplify and AWS SAM.

New from AWS πŸ†•

Besides the big news around Lambda Extensions and App Runner, there were a few more interesting AWS announcements that caught my eye.

Amazon EventBridge now supports sharing events between event buses in the same account and region, which is probably more powerful than it seems. This allows you to keep certain buses separate and secure, but forward select events that might need to be replicated across buses.

Also, AWS Amplify Hosting announces server-side rendering (SSR) support for Next.js web apps, AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio Code adds Java and Go support for serverless applications, and AWS X-Ray now supports VPC endpoints, if you need that sort of thing.

Plus, there were some updates to the Serverless Bot Framework, Amazon CloudWatch Logs service limits can now be managed with AWS Service Quotas, and Amazon Rekognition adds enhanced text detection with support for more words, higher accuracy, and lower latency.

Serverless Tools πŸ› 

Horace Nelson launched an open source and completely serverless image resizing service for AWS.

Serverless Jobs πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» 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 πŸ—“

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

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

June 7, 2021 – AWS Serverless in practice

June 7, 2021 – Distributed Serverless Development Made Easy (webinar)

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 Susanne Kaiser (@suksr). Susanne is an independent tech consultant who helps organizations within the broad spectrum of software architecture and design in building and shipping their digital products. With a background in computer science and software development, she has worked as a startup CTO transforming SaaS solutions from monolith to microservices. Susanne can be found at various international tech conferences as a speaker, co-organizer, or program committee member. And on Serverless Chats, she shared her thoughts on building better serverless microservices using domain driven design. Susanne, thank you for helping companies thrive with serverless! πŸ™Œ

Final Thoughts πŸ€”

What a crazy week for serverless! AWS App Runner, Lambda Extensions GA, CosmosDB Serverless GA, the launch of PlanetScale, and so much more. Plus the Datadog State of Serverless report shows Lambda invocations are up over 350% from two years ago on top of the continued growth of Azure Functions and Google Cloud Functions. If that’s not encouraging serverless adoption news, I don’t know what is!

I also sent a tweet yesterday asking folks for more help on naming something. It had a lot of responses (even from @Werner) and turned into an interesting debate with a few folks really passionate about the status quo. Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with the way people are deploying and testing cloud apps now, but in the words of Robert F. Kennedy, “Some see things as they are and ask, ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were and ask, ‘Why not?'”. πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

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.

Next Issue

Issue #144June 1, 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.


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 ⭐️!