Off-by-none: Issue #160

October 19, 2021

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Changing how we build cloud apps 🌩

Welcome to Issue #160 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Lumigo, Courier, and Cockroach Labs.

Last week, Vendia added some heavy hitters to its team, we learned about the importance of tail latency, and Jamstackers adopted serverless. This week, Serverless Cloud launches its Public Preview, we discuss serverless complexity, and we pretend we’ve never written recursive invocations. Plus, we have lots of great serverless content from the community.

Webinar: Building a true serverless CI/CD pipeline
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Serverless News & Announcements 📣

Slow news week? I guess it depends on who you ask. 😉

AWS has been eerily quiet with serverless announcements lately, but I have a feeling that’s going to change very soon. I have a few things on my #awswishlist that would make my year (like where’s Aurora Serverless V2? – it’s been a year. Also where’s the non-VPC, in-memory shared datastore I’ve been asking for?) 🤷‍♂️

The big news this week was the launch of Serverless Cloud Public Preview! I’ve spent years working on open source projects trying to make serverless easier and more accessible to everyone, and Serverless, Inc. gave me the opportunity to build a team of people with the same passion. For me (and the team), Serverless Cloud is more than just a product. It’s the next step in the evolution of cloud application development, and I truly hope others will continue to innovate on this concept. It’s still early, and there’s a lot more to do, but give it a try and let me know what you think. 🙏

In one other bit of interesting serverless news, Snowflake introduced Serverless Tasks, which let you process data decoupled from your warehouse cluster. I’m guessing that you can use these with both scheduled tasks and table streams, so lots of really interesting large scale use cases are possible now without taxing your cluster.

Serverless Stories 📖

Rawad Haber shares his story of getting started with serverless, as well as gives some tips for how you can, too.

Daniele Frasca followed the go macro, then micro recommendation for a serverless project, and the team is having great success with it.

Anastasia Zhivaeva’s company performs lots of deployments of SaaS serverless features to their customer’s AWS environments, and in this piece, shares the process her team uses.

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Serverless Use Cases 🗺

Arseny Zinchenko shares an excellent serverless use case for Ops folks that need to copy EC2 tags to its EBS volumes (and don’t miss part 2).

And speaking of Ops folks, how about using Lambda to simplify Kubernetes configurations? 🤔

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Weren’t we just talking about Aurora Serverless? Sanjay Sachdev shares what it is and what it’s good for, although, he’s still talking about v1. Still a useful baseline to have for when they finally announce v2 GA at re:Invent? Come on, AWS!

Bit of a long post, but it gives lots of information for choosing a FaaS provider in 2021.

Aleksandr Filichkin ran a Lambda function performance comparison for all languages and Rust and Golang apparently came out the winners. Apparently Node didn’t fare so well.

James Beswick gives us three ways to avoid recursive invocation with Amazon S3 and AWS Lambda. I must say, I’ve never ever not once had this happen to me, but I’m going to bookmark it for future reference anyway. 😬

Michael Walmsley shares an ide for correlating transactions with zero code. I feel like he must be missing something, because this seems too easy.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

Lots of great tutorials this week, but I want to start with some thoughts on local testing. Surya Prakash Pandey explains how to test Amazon SQS using the serverless-offline-sqs plugin, and Drew McLellan has a very detailed (and well written) post on local testing a serverless API. I get the allure of local testing, especially since the deploy to sandbox feedback loop is really slow.

Some frameworks (especially Architect), do an amazing job of emulating things locally, but most do not. Oftentimes you’re left with a hodgepodge of mocking libraries and significantly more tooling to get poor fidelity at best. AWS is making inroads here with SAM Accelerate, and of course, Serverless Cloud is driving this, too. So I’m not saying “don’t emulate locally”, but I think Cloud providers should be encouraging testing on high-fidelity sandboxes and give you (and the frameworks) the tools to do that. /rant

There is a series on Production-ready Serverless that has some good tips, especially in the one about  Application Architecture and Infrastructure Automation for DynamoDB.

Lee Robinson shares how to migrate to PlanetScale’s serverless database. I still haven’t tried PlanetScale yet, but if AWS doesn’t release Aurora Serverless V2 soon, I just might have to. 😉

Michael Liendo teaches you how to send SMS messages with AWS Amplify and NextJS. Video tutorial included.

Kurt Lekanger shows you how to make a serverless webhook for email alerts, using Gatsby Functions. Yeah, Gatsby has a cloud product that lets you host serverless functions. Who knew? 🤷‍♂️

Finally, Tobias Geiselmann shares a short (but excellent piece) on how to calculate a user’s position in a DynamoDB ranking table. Good stuff.

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Serverless Reads 🤓

Connor Butch wants you to stop making sync calls!

Matt Skillman shares two gotchas for ARM-based Lambda functions.

Wojciech Matuszewski explains the pros and cons of all the different ways to do serverless WebSockets on AWS.

And last but not least, Lee James Gilmore shares a compendium of all the serverless content he’s created. And it’s a lot. 📖

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

On Serverless Chats Episode #115: Serverless Complexity, Rebecca and I chat with Ant Stanley about whether the early promises of serverless have lived up to expectations, what complexities might be preventing or slowing down adoption, how internal competition at AWS might produce better products, the value of transferrable skills, and much more.

Marcia Villalba gets (justifiably) excited about the fact that AWS Step Functions now integrates with over 200 AWS services. Another excellent video with an awesome demo to show how you can nix the Lambda functions and still achieve complex transformation workflows.

Chris Coyier and Stephen Shaw do a little live coding and explain how to use Cloudflare Workers and KV Storage and how CodePen takes advantage of them both.

New from AWS 🆕

They may be quiet on the serverless front, but the teams at AWS are still cranking stuff out:

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

1. Code is a liability, use services (Step Functions!) where possible
1. Don’t emulate the cloud, extend your dev env with an AWS sandbox
2. Integration test the sh*t out of your serverless apps, since 90% of their functionality are integrations
~ Luc van Donkersgoed
Replying to Julian Wood’s question about the”Best practices of advanced serverless developers.” Lots of great advice in the original thread.

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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

October 20, 2021 – AWS Application Modernization Day

October 21 & 22, 2021 – ServerlessDays Warsaw

October 26 – 28, 2021 – Monitoring Kubernetes vs. Serverless-based Applications at Microservices World

November 3 & 4, 2021 – CascadiaJS 2021

November 29 – December 3, 2021 – AWS re:Invent

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 Maciej Radzikowski (@radzikowski_m). Maciej is a Software Developer and Architect at Merapar, where he builds serverless backends on AWS. He was recently accepted into the AWS Community Builders program, and is committed to helping the serverless community through his blog, Better Dev, where he shares tips, hacks, and solutions, focusing on AWS and serverless. Maciej is also the creator of AWS SDK v3 Client mock, which was recognized on the AWS blog. Thanks, Maciej, for your great work!

Final Thoughts 🤔

I thought this was going to be a short one today, but when it comes to the serverless space, I guess we’re never short on awesomeness. I’m really curious to know your thoughts on the infrastructure-from-code (or self-provisioning runtimes as SWYX calls them) approach that Serverless Cloud is taking. Of course I’d love for you to give it a try, but I’m more curious in what direction you all see cloud development going. Be sure to ping me on Twitter to start a discussion.

Hope to hear from you soon,
Jeremy

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 #159October 12, 2021

Next Issue

Issue #161October 26, 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.

 

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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 ⭐️!