Off-by-none: Issue #152

August 17, 2021

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Open-Source Serverless or SaaS 🤔

Welcome to Issue #152 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Lumigo, Fauna, and Cockroach Labs.

In our previous issue, we got a new content repository for heroes, Fastly introduced zero cold-starts, and AWS made building CI/CD pipelines a lot easier. This week, Cisco acquires Epsagon, open-source challenges SaaS, and serverless powers taco Tuesdays. Plus, we have plenty of great serverless content collected over the last two weeks from the community.

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

Webinar: Secrets of Serverless Monitoring Revealed
Join Lumigo co-founder Erez Berkner as he explores what’s unique about serverless observability and best practices for monitoring and debugging serverless apps. Sponsored

The big news this past week (well, in cloud tech circles anyway), was that Epsagon was to be acquired by Cisco for $500 million. Huge congratulations to Nitzan, Ran, and the rest of the Epsagon team.

In other news, AWS Lambda added support for Python 3.9 (James Beswick explains more here), AWS Amplify Hosting announced support for Next.js version 11, and Amazon CloudWatch now supports cross account alarms.

Also, the AWS Community Builders program is now accepting applications until August 30th. If you’re building on AWS, then this is a great program to consider.

And finally, Gunnar Grosch has launched a new Building SaaS on AWS show on Twitch. The August 25th episode might be very interesting to our readers.

Serverless Stories 📖

Pınar Kaymaz shares how his team built a serverless log aggregation and error monitoring pipeline for AWS Lambda.

These next few articles are behind Medium’s paywall, but I thought it was important to share these perspectives. Merlin Carter details how they cut their AWS bill by 65% after moving to Lambda (in two parts). Geoff Cox, on the other hand, explains why they migrated from AWS Lambda to ECS, but hope to eventually migrate back. Two very different real world experiences that are important to understand.

Serverless Use Cases 🗺

John Costanzo shows you how to build a serverless function for a Slack Slash Command, Lee James Gilmore shares the ever-popular use case of using serverless to generate S3 pre-signed URLs, and Javier Toscano gives us another way to create PDF documents with AWS Lambda and S3 using NodeJS and Puppeteer.

And in a really clever use case, Joseph Sutton demonstrates how to scan files on Lambda with a ClamAV Lambda Layer. Very cool.

Use Fauna’s API to quickly create, deploy and scale document databases for your applications without worrying about sharding, replication or any other database administration. Learn more. Sponsored

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Sandro Volpic outlines the top 5 serverless AWS services that founders and indie hackers should know.

Christian Talavera explains the details of Amazon SNS and SQS.

Sheen Brisals wrote another excellent piece on Amazon EventBridge that demystifies API Destinations. It’s once again behind the Medium paywall, but well worth the read.

Julian Wood explain how you should be building in resiliency to your well-architected serverless applications. Don’t miss part 2.

Paul Swail shares an epic post on how to create IAM roles for deploying your AWS Serverless app.

Kanika Modi helps you  choose between AWS Lambda and AWS Fargate.

And Chadchapol Vittavutkarnvej gives you some thoughts, tips and ideas when writing unit tests for AWS Lambda functions in Java.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

There were so many interesting and useful tutorials over the last two weeks, so prepare to drink from the firehose.

Dominik Zarsky explains how to create a time-triggered AWS Lambda Function (aka crontab), but that only gives you 1 minute granularity. Zac Charles pushes this even further by showing you how to trigger a Lambda Function every 5–10 seconds, and then gives you another way to trigger a Lambda Function every 5–10 seconds. Lots to absorb here, but some really good reading.

Rostyslav Myronenko will get you up and running with AWS SAM to build a serverless Java application, Michael Yuan explains how to create WebAssembly Serverless functions in Netlify, and Parth Trambadiya shows you how you can upload a binary file to an Amazon S3 bucket via API Gateway.

Sandro Volpic’s tutorial shows you how to develop a serverless mobile app with Amplify, React Native & GraphQL, Mohammed Ali Chherawalla gives you some options for running migrations for an Aurora Serverless cluster (without an EC2 middleman), and Rahul Lokurte gives us a simple example of creating an AWS Lambda function using the CDK.

Looking for something a little more in depth? Salah Elhossiny shares a four-part workshop on deploying CI/CD for NodeJS serverless applications.

Sebastian Bille demonstrates how to use the new Step Functions Workflow Studio with the Serverless Framework, James Ingold shows an interesting way to enable Amazon Cognito MFA with email using Lambda triggers, and Wojciech Matuszewski explains the usefulness of mocking API endpoints with Amazon API Gateway Mock Integrations.

And finally, Lee James Gilmore has a great tutorial that gives us a practical guide to using Amazon Cognito to authenticate API to API integrations.

When to use Cassandra…and when not to
We should all be grateful for Cassandra. It fuels our evening television binge sessions. It’s just a remarkably powerful database. But it isn’t the right database for every workload. Read the guide to see which workloads fit and which don’t. Sponsored

Serverless Security 🔒

Not specifically about serverless, but at the recent Black Hat conference, a pair of researchers called for a ‘CVE’ approach for Cloud vulnerabilities. FUD aside, it’s a sobering look at how early we are with cloud security and how much there is to do.

Serverless Reads 🤓

Ben Kehoe suggests that AWS Lambda shouldn’t increase its timeout, rather we should get a new service instead. There are a lot of really good arguments in here, but I also wonder if a few upgrades to Fargate could be the right compromise.

Tim Winkler shares an interview with John Petitte asking whether serverless is the ideal choice for startups. He makes a great point about the number of FaaS providers, but depending on which circles you run in, I think there are some clear leaders out there.

Sven Al Hamad argues that serverless makes the SaaS business model obsolete, and open-source is the new king. I can appreciate where he’s coming from, but the article leaves out one of the biggest benefits of using a SaaS provider: domain expertise. Open-source on serverless can certainly offer a number of advantages, but just because you don’t have to manage the infrastructure, doesn’t mean there’s no undifferentiated heavy lifting involved.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

Serverless Architect Filip Pyrek joins Ryan Jones on the Talking Serverless podcast to discuss the current challenges in the serverless space.

Marcia Villalba has two great videos showing you how to deploy your serverless applications with AWS SAM pipelines and GitHub Actions and how to get started with Amazon EventBridge.

And if you’ve ever wondered how it’s possible to process so many taco orders, check out this edition of This is my Architecture discussing how Taco Bell uses serverless to enable delivery orders at massive scale.

New from AWS 🆕

I’m still amazed by the number of AWS announcements every week, even in the middle of the summer. Here are a few that seemed notable.

Serverless Tools 🛠

Jackie Douglass shares an affordable alternative to monitor your AWS serverless applications called Helios.

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

What is the biggest tradeoff of going serverless? ~ Brian LeRoux
An amazing thread full of comments that will take you on a rollercoaster of serverless emotions.

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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

August 18, 2021 – Amazon DynamoDB Office Hours with Rick Houlihan (I’ll be his guest)

August 24 – 26, 2021 – AWS Summit Online – Americas

August 26, 2021 – Serverless NYC Meetup with Ben Ellerby

September 14, 2021 – ServerlessDays – Nashville

September 17, 2021 – ServerlessDays – Hamburg

September 28, 2021 – ServerlessDays – Paris

October 11 – 13, 2021 – Serverless Architecture Conference

November 3-4, 2021 – CascadiaJS 2021

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 Chris Miller (@Launchbrigade). Chris is an entrepreneur, inventor, and the CEO of Cloud Brigade where they focus on software development solutions with a specialization in advanced Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Internet of Things projects. An AWS Hero and innovator of a broad range of crazy projects in competitions and hackathons, Chris has worked with AWS AI/ML product teams using DeepLens and DeepRacer on projects including The Poopinator, and What’s in my Fridge. Chris, thank you for making the world of cloud more interesting with your innovative ideas! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

We’re almost done with summer here in the northern hemisphere, and I’m looking forward to getting back on a weekly schedule with the newsletter (and to share some things we have in the works). Also, don’t forget that Serverless Chats is coming back on August 30th with all new episodes along with my amazing co-host, Rebecca Marshburn. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode.

See you in two more weeks,

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 #151August 3, 2021

Next Issue

Issue #153August 31, 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 ⭐️!