Off-by-none: Issue #163

November 9, 2021

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Serverless containers, again. 🧐

Welcome to Issue #163 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Lumigo, Courier, and Cockroach Labs.

Last week, Lumigo got a big investment, AWS launched SAM Accelerate, and Next.js 12 became the “SDK for the web.” This week, serverless containers are here again, we learn some more serverless patterns, and I share some things I’ve learned over 24 years in tech. Plus, we have plenty of serverless content from the community.

Webinar: Overcoming common serverless challenges in production apps
Join Serverless Guru founder Ryan Jones and AWS Serverless Hero and Lumigo Developer Advocate Yan Cui, as they dive into some common challenges in production serverless applications they have seen and how they’ve built solutions to overcome them. Save your spot! Fri, Nov 19, 10:00 AM PT Sponsored

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

In cloud news, Knative middleware reached the 1.0 milestone (more here), Microsoft launched Azure Container Apps, a new serverless container service, and Microsoft also announced the General Availability of Azure Database for MySQL – Flexible Server.

In AWS news, Jeff Barr shared that a new AWS Canada West (Calgary) Region is in the works, and James Beswick shared that there are new Serverless Patterns this week, bringing the total to more than 100!

I shared 24 things I’ve learned over the past 24 years in tech, and it got some good reactions. Thanks for the love.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

If you want to really go down the rabbit hole, this new white paper on AWS serverless multi-tier architectures with Amazon API Gateway and AWS Lambda is loaded with great stuff.

Yogesh Nile will also help you gain a deep knowledge of AWS Lambda with this handy post.

There were two interesting posts on DynamoDB, one from Tom Milner on how to use a GSI in single table designs, and another from Bart in ‘t Veld on DynamoDB data modeling.

James Beswick shared his insights on choosing between storage mechanisms for ML inferencing with AWS Lambda, and Gal Naor discusses feature flags in serverless.

Basim Hennawi outlines 5 anti-patterns to avoid in Lambda-based apps, all of which I agree with… most of the time. Serverless can be finicky, and I’ve found that hard and fast rules sometimes need to be broken. That being said, you should understand the benefits and tradeoffs of circumventing best practices.

Build what you dream. Never worry about your database again.
Your aspirations shouldn’t be limited by your infrastructure. CockroachDB Serverless lets you focus on building your application, not scaling and operating your database. Fully automated scale, fault-tolerance, and operations. Sponsored

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

Super cool tutorial by Lucas Rettenmeier and Kirill Bogdanov on how to build a fault-tolerant, serverless data aggregation pipeline with exactly-once processing.

Lavanya R shared an interesting post on how to copy AWS S3 files from one bucket to another without writing any code or scripts. I didn’t even realize AWS Data Sync could do this. 🤷‍♂️

Sandro Volpic explains how to add custom resources to AWS Amplify, including adding an SQS queue that triggers Lambda, Joshua Jordan shares a practical guide to using Python with the Serverless Framework, and Wojciech Matuszewski shows you how to do a direct integration with Step Functions from API Gateway using the CDK.

Serverless Reads 🤓

Kris Jones outlines four reasons you should consider going serverless.

John Nguyen explains his pain with AWS Amplify.

Michael Bahr shares his experience with Serverless Cloud’s Public Preview.

Matt Asay has a great piece on why enterprises don’t care about vendor lock-in. I agree with him whole-heartedly, and if you’re responsible for making technology decisions at a large enterprise, you should too.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

In one of my favorite episodes of Serverless Chats so far, Episode #118: Deploying on Fridays, Rebecca and I chat with Charity Majors about the role of ops in a serverless world, why deploying on Fridays shouldn’t be a source of anxiety, the importance of single merge deploys for fast feedback loops, her new book on Observability Engineering, and so much more.

Marcia Villalba shares how to do distributed tracing in AWS with AWS X-ray and CloudWatch Service Lens.

Dave Anderson, Mark McCann, and Mike O’Reilly discuss modern applications and map camp on this episode of Serverless Craic.

And Miguel Calles shares a series of videos with an overview of the OWASP Serverless Top 10.

The Developer’s Guide To Notification Systems
Are you building/re-vamping your notification system? You should know the requirements for your fellow developers and non-technical teammates who will be creating the notifications for your end users. Understanding these personas will help you scale more reliably. Sponsored

New from AWS 🆕

Lots of great announcements from AWS this week, including the general availability of SAM pipelines for CI/CD. And here are a few others:

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

“Serverless based on containers is the future.” ~ Kelsey Hightower
Hmm, I think serverless will get closer to the metal as its own VM. Oh wait, isn’t that what Firecracker is doing? 🤷‍♂️

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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

November 11, 2021 – AWS Community Day Dublin 2021

November 17 & 18, 2021 – Serverless Summit 21

November 17, 2021 – A Practical Guide to PHP Serverless Applications

November 18th, 2021 – Prisma Serverless Conference – Database Access in The Serverless Era

November 23, 2021 – The enterprise playbook for operating confidently on serverless (webinar)

November 29, 2021 – Help Make BugBusting History at AWS re:Invent 2021

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

November 30, 2021 – Lars Jacobsson – Open Source Demos

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 Milen Khanal (@Millzyanow). Milen recently transitioned from being a full-time restaurant owner to an Associate Engineer at the LEGO Group, currently working in Infrastructure. In an impressive career pivot, he swiftly learned the basic knowledge of AWS and then achieved the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification. Congrats, Milen, on what is a great start to your serverless journey!

Final Thoughts 🤔

“The more I see the less I know!” The amount of new serverless platforms and features coming out is just amazing (albeit overwhelming). I’m curious how new folks see the landscape. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I can’t keep half of this stuff straight. I can’t even imagine being flooded with all these options as a newcomer. If you’re a newbie, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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.

Previous Issue

Issue #162November 2, 2021

Next Issue

Issue #164November 16, 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 ⭐️!