Off-by-none: Issue #153

August 31, 2021

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Don't call it a rollback πŸ§‘β€πŸ’»

Welcome to Issue #153 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Lumigo.

In our previous issue, Cisco acquired Epsagon, open-source challenged SaaS, and we learned that serverless powers taco Tuesdays. This week, CloudFormation’s DX rolls forward, Serverless Chats is back, and we imagine a self provisioning runtime. Plus, we have lots of serverless community content from the last two weeks.

Serverless News & Announcements πŸ“£

Webinar: Advanced Serverless Debugging
Join AWS Serverless Hero, Efi Merdler-Kraviz, for an in-depth session on debugging serverless applications at scale, with real-life examples from the Lumigo team. Save your spot! Thu, Sep 2, 10:00 AM PT Sponsored

AWS had a busy two weeks, not only announcing a new batch of AWS Heroes, but also making some really interesting DX improvements. The SAM team released a “sam delete” command for easily tearing down stacks and Amazon DynamoDB has an updated console. But the biggest one is AWS CloudFormation’s new option to troubleshoot provisioning errors before rollback, which will save you a tremendous amount of time. There’s some more detail in this post.

In other AWS news, they announced Amazon MemoryDB for Redis, which is a Redis-compatible, durable, in-memory database service. It autoscales and has crazy fast read and write times. Still need a darn VPC though. πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

And we also got spacklepunched with the introduction of Dynamic Partitioning in Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose. Oh well, at least it’s a cleaner solution than we were working on.

Upstash introduced 5 ms global Redis latency with Edge Caching and Webiny nabbed $3.5M to build a serverless development framework.

Oh yeah, and Forrest Brazeal is releasing The Cloud Resume Challenge Book.

Serverless Use Cases πŸ—Ί

Carl Alexander explains how serverless helps keep your WordPress site secure, Lee James Gilmore uses AWS Comprehend to figure out whether or not your serverless customers are happy or sad, Ryan Dsilva shows you how to trigger events at a specific timestamp.

Serverless Concepts πŸ—

Nsikan Essien discusses why and when to use CloudFormation Custom Resources, Michael Walmsley explains how to make all your APIs idempotent, and Chinmay Gaikwad gives some thoughts on how to choose a database for serverless applications.

Anuj Kothiyal shares his expert’s guide to reducing serverless waste. Interesting discussion here, but I favor the initial design as it allows each “application” to scale independently.

Paul Swail has an excellent post on controlling the blast radius of your Lambda functions using an IAM permissions boundary, John-Mark Smith gives some tips for building successful transactional applications on DynamoDB, and Sebastian Bille shares 6 Serverless CLI commands you didn’t know existed.

Serverless Tutorials πŸ‘·β€β™€οΈ

Lots of great tutorials this week, including this awesome one by Ali Spittel that teaches you how to build a serverless subscription site with Stripe.

The AWS Serverless DAs have been busy. Julian Wood continues his Building well-architected serverless applications series with optimizing application performance – part 1, part 2, and part 3. James Beswick shows you how to build a serverless GIF generator with AWS Lambda, and Eric Johnson teaches you how to configure CORS on Amazon API Gateway APIs.

JP Scriven shows you how to test your AWS Lambda function locally, Matan Abravanel helps you debug Node.js Lambda invoked by Api Gateway, and Lee James Gilmore shows you how to document your serverless solutions.

If you’re looking for some DynamoDB help, Jones Zachariah Noel shares part 4 of his DynamoDB series showing Scan vs Query with CloudWatch custom metrics, Sharmila S. has a full tutorial for launching an API using Lambda, API Gateway and DynamoDB, and AWS shares a free course on Developing with Amazon DynamoDB.

CΓ©sar MuΓ±oz teaches you how to make your Lambda functions lightweight (using Layers), Vishnu Prassad helps you navigate CloudWatch Custom Metrics using the Embedded Metric Format, and Kirill Chufarov has some musing on how to process a lot of data with AWS Serverless.

Finaly, Sheen Brisals teaches us how to build better orchestrations with AWS Step Functions, task tokens and Amazon EventBridge. It’s worth the price of admission (or switching to incognito 😬).

Serverless Security πŸ”’

I found this interesting security post by Sue Poremba about APIs creating new security headaches. One of the biggest things we should be worried about with serverless is shadow APIs, because, let’s be honest, we leave those things everywhere. Good news is that we have sam delete now.

Serverless Reads πŸ€“

I don’t know Aaron Lieberman, but he just published a boatload of blog posts on building and managing serverless applications. I’ve only read through a few of them, but seems like some good stuff.

Joel Hans writes about the growing gains of serverless event-driven architecture (see what he did there?), and he makes some great points.

Nathan Eddy wrote “Kubernetes users see serverless future“, which I assumed meant they finally saw the writing on the wall. But despite the short staffing, it still seems as though it’s their platform of choice.

Going in the completely opposite directly, Shaun Wang described a self provisioning runtime. Something that I’m passionate about as well.

And in another great piece by Ben Kehoe, he says AWS doesn’t know who he is, and explains why that’s a problem.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

And we’re back! On Episode #108 of Serverless Chats, Rebecca and I chat with Corey Quinn about the unlikely success of cloud agnostic projects, the myth of portability, how accounting feels about metered cloud/serverless billing models, how big tech handles criticism, and much more.

And, of course, Marcia Villalba has another two excellent videos. One on building event-driven applications using 3rd party APIs with Amazon EventBridge API Destinations and how to use Dead Letter Queues with Amazon EventBridge when an event delivery fails.

New from AWS πŸ†•

Here are a few more updates from the AWS firehose:

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

Kubernetes is a novel techno-human organizational productivity virus developed by Google to destroy startups. ~ Zack Kanter
This just made me laugh. πŸ˜‚

There is a story about how, when Amazon realized that 70% of their access patterns were key-value queries for a single row of data, they decided to move to @DynamoDB. This story is true, but making the other 30% work was my team’s job. #SingleTableDesign ~Rick Houlihan
Interesting details in this thread about how DynamoDB transactions work, and why you might not actually need them.

Upcoming Serverless Events πŸ—“

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

September 2, 2021 – Advanced Serverless Debugging (webinar)

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 Anurag Kale (@iAnuragKale). Anurag is a Cloud Consultant at Cybercom Group where they focus on delivering data-driven solutions. An AWS Hero, he holds the AWS Solutions Architect Associate certification, is a co-organizer of the AWS User Group Pune, helping to host and organize AWS Community Day Pune 2020 and AWS Community Day India 2020. He enables companies to embrace Cloud and build efficient data models and database designs, serverless data pipelines, data analytics, Infrastructure as Code, and sustainable cloud solutions. On his blog, he shares his knowledge of cloud computing and he has been a speaker at various national and international events such as AWS Community Day Nordics 2020. Anurag, thank you for your vast contribution to the serverless community. πŸ™Œ

Final Thoughts πŸ€”

Summer’s gone, Serverless Chats is back, and Off-by-none returns to its weekly schedule. It’s going to be a busy fall for serverless, so I hope you’ll stick around and join me.

See you 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.

Previous Issue

Issue #152August 17, 2021

Next Issue

Issue #154September 7, 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.


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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 ⭐️!