Off-by-none: Issue #167

December 7, 2021

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re:Invent 2021 re:Cap 🚀

Welcome to Issue #167 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Lumigo.

Last week, we were in the belly of the AWS re:Invent beast, we got some #awswishlist items crossed off, and I shared a little ditty about Amazon DynamoDB. This week, we re:Cover from re:Invent, share a whole bunch of re:Caps, and we watch the edge computing battle heat up. Plus, we have plenty of awesome content from the serverless community.

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So, what happened at AWS re:Invent?

A lot. If you want a full rundown, Mike Moore had a great AWS re:Invent 2021 keynote live blog that covered all the announcements. Sandro Volpicella also has a post about AWS re:Invent announcements with a little bit of context added to each one.

If you’re looking for some feedback on specific serverless sessions, Kristi Perreault discusses a few in her AWS Re:Invent Recap 2021. Also, the team from The Serverless Edge shared some thoughts from Vegas.

Ron Miller has an interesting piece that says AWS re:Invent 2021 was more incremental than innovative, with which I would agree. This is something I discussed with Ajay Nair during the podcast. Matt Asay framed it as suggesting that AWS is maturing (in a good way).

Kurt Marko has a similar piece, although I think some of the criticisms aren’t warranted. Sure, I think that AWS emphasized service packaging and usability over raw infrastructure this year, but given the breadth and depth of AWS primitives, finding better ways to get developers to use them correctly, probably should be the focus right now.

Tony Baer shared some thoughts on where Amazon Redshift should go, touching on the fact that the new serverless version could position it much better in the cloud data warehouse space.

Besides just the keynotes and the announcements, there were A LOT of sessions. I’m looking forward to catching up on all the ones I missed and sharing a list of the best ones.

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

Sure there are plenty of AWS re:Invent announcements to share, but we should probably talk about the elephant in the (server) room, you know, that massive AWS outage today. If you had any workloads running in us-east-1, you may have noticed that you didn’t have any workloads running in us-east-1. Part of the reason why this newsletter is getting to you so late is because my entire article processing pipeline was unavailable from about 10am EST until 7:30 EST. It’s a good thing this didn’t happen last week!

We’ll get to the re:Invent announcements in a bit, but there was quite a bit of other Cloud-related news as well.

Cloudflare continued to release big things, including the ability to store your logs on R2. And speaking of Cloudflare’s recent firehose of announcements, the folks over at Fastly called out some of their lies, damned lies, and (Cloudflare) statistics and debunked their recent performance tests. 😬

Zack Kanter announced that Stedi has released its first broadly-applicable, developer-focused product called Mappings. Pretty cool stuff.

A new low-code database product called Easybase is now publicly available.

Serverless, Inc. launched Serverless Storage for Serverless Cloud, so you now have a built-in, massively scalable blob storage service connected directly to your runtime.

Prisma apparently has their own RDS Proxy-like service to address connection pooling issues in serverless environments. I don’t know when this launched, but it’s really nice to see.

And, it turns out Google would like to pass Knative to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation after all. Hmm.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Here’s a really interesting article that explains how you can run queries 3x faster with up to 70% cost savings on the latest Amazon Athena engine.

If you need a quick refresher on the basics of DynamoDB, here it is in one, two, three parts.

Kirk Kirkconnell gives you some reasons why AWS Lambda event filtering for Amazon DynamoDB Streams is super helpful. Plus, read this if you want to know why you should try Amazon EMR Serverless.

Ken Van Camp asks if AWS Lambda partial batch failures is the best approach.

Pawel Zubkiewicz explains the new DynamoDB Streams filtering capabilities in the Serverless Framework.

And John Gilbert shares some insight into filtering Amazon Kinesis event streams with AWS Lambda.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

Josiah Ayres shows you how to create a Python Layer for your AWS Lambda Function.

Leeroy Hannigan teaches you how to archive DynamoDB TTL items more efficiently with filtered streams and Lambda.

İren Saltalı demonstrates how to enable customized rate limiting with AWS API Gateway and Elasticache.

Abhilash Juluri shows you how to implement malware scanning using AWS serverless technologies.

Wojciech Matuszewski has a great tutorial on deploying AWS CDK apps using short-lived credentials and Github Actions.

Chris Armstrong shows you how to set an SQS Queue as an EventBridge Rule Target (with CloudFormation).

And if you want to get AWS Billing everyday with EventBridge, Lambda and SNS, this is the tutorial for you.

Serverless Reads 🤓

Some folks from Google Cloud discuss the next big evolution in serverless computing. TLDR; they think it’s Cloud Run. 🤷‍♂️

Alex Woodie has a short piece about vendors competing to make serverless NoSQL in the cloud drop-dead simple. This is the right direction, IMO.

Adrian Bridgwater goes inside AWS Cloud Developer Kit CDK Patterns.

And finally, Tridib Bolar has a good piece that discusses design patterns for serverless systems.

New from AWS 🆕

There were a ton of announcements from re:Invent this year (what else is new?), but we covered most of the big serverless ones last week. The biggest ones for me since then were the introduction of AWS Amplify Studio and the new Sustainability Pillar for the AWS Well-Architected Framework.

I like the direction that AWS is going with things like Amplify Studio. I think the ecosystem has become so complex, that tools that help you piece together the right primitives is the focus that is needed right now. The new Sustainability Pillar is important to me on multiple layers, mostly for its impact on the climate, but also because it’s basically telling everyone to go serverless. 😉

And, here is a firehose of other interesting announcements:

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

It’s hard to understate the damage the “CloudFormation is assembly code” metaphor has done to the conversation about IaC ~ Ben Kehoe
Just read this thread if you want to become 10x smarter.

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 Adam Elmore (@aeduhm). Adam is an independent cloud consultant helping startups build products on AWS. He’s also the host of AWS FM, a weekly podcast and live audio show where he shares stories from around the AWS community. Adam holds all twelve AWS certifications and is an AWS Community Builder. He’s the creator of, a CLI tool for deploying web sites and apps into your own AWS account. He’s also the co-founder of StatMuse, a Disney and Google backed startup building search technology for sports and financial information. Thank you Adam for expanding the knowledge and reach of the serverless and AWS community!

Final Thoughts 🤔

Wow, what a crazy week of overstimulation! I hadn’t been to a conference since February of 2020, and re:Invent certainly was not the way to ease oneself back into the conference scene. It was so amazing to see everyone in person again and I’m glad I went, but I’ve been fighting with a terrible cold ever since I got back on Friday night. Don’t worry, it’s not COVID, it’s just the typical “re:Flu” as some like to call it.

It also would have been nice to work on this newsletter a bit earlier today, but the #AWSOutage wasn’t having it. Anyway, there’s more to discuss about re:Invent in upcoming issues, so stay tuned.

See you on the other side of this dose of NyQuil,

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.

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Issue #166November 30, 2021

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Issue #168December 14, 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 ⭐️!