Off-by-none: Issue #170

January 4, 2022

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An Ode to the Cloud 2021 ☁️

Welcome to Issue #170 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Lumigo and Upstash.

In our last issue, we wrapped up 2021 with some thoughts on DynamoDB data integrity, looked at what was next for serverless databases, and shared a bunch of tutorials and serverless reading. This week, we share an Ode to the Cloud, look at the trade-offs of going Lambda-less, and learn some advanced serverless best practices. Plus we have plenty of serverless content from the community.

An Ode to the Cloud 2021

I always do a recap of the previous year in this newsletter, but I felt like this year we needed something special. So below is my Ode to the Cloud 2021, and since I played fast and loose with my iambic pentameter, it might be easier to watch the video version instead.

Two thousand twenty-one, a strange year we have seen,
Mixed with lots of highs and lows, and bags of in between.
And even though, most of us, just want to scream out loud,
Plenty of interesting things, did happen in the cloud.

Jassy went to Amazon ’cause Bezos went to space,
And all without missing a beat, Selipsky took his place.
Munns decided startups, is where his help should aim,
So Talia, James, and others, all stepped up their game.

Forrest went to Google, and released another book,
And we’re all extremely happy, with the job that Farrah took.
Rebecca joined the podcast, to chat with some cloud moguls,
Like I don’t know, whaddya think, maybe Werner Vogels?

Rick, he left Amazon, off to MongoDB,
But don’t forget that AWS, acquired Stackery.
Ben started aleios, a name I do not get,
But regardless of its meaning, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Eric donned a squirrel suit, a dance off was his shot,
Bonig got the best of him, but the CDK did not.
And Julian’s talks take anyone, to expert from a zero,
Plus Rosius and Ivonne are now, a serverless Takahiro.

And speaking of the CDK, there’s something else with that,
A book by Höger, Bonig, Bhat, and CDKPatterns Matt.
And Matt gets a shout out, for the hours he has poured,
And the well-deserved recognition, of the Now Go Build Award.

There was lots of VC money, spread around the space,
Vendia raised a Series A, Lumigo kept up pace.
Webiny took some cash, Kong 100 million,
Cockroach did even better, now valued at 5 billion.

PlanetScale launched their database, plus announced a Series B,
Then they went, full GA, with a bigger Series C.
Vercel announced Next.js 12, for the web, an SDK,
And nabbed a Series C and D, I guess JAMStack’s the way.

There were also several M&As, a few to note I will,
Like Ran and Nitzan’s Cisco deal, for a cool half a bill.
A Cloud Guru and Pluralsight, have finally tied the knot,
Plus Okta and Auth0 joined, Nimbella, D.O. bought.

And as these thing were happening, it came as no surprise,
That the State of Serverless from Datadog, had usage on the rise.
Serverless is the future, it isn’t hard to think,
Which is why this year, I joined the team, over at Serverless, Inc.

We launched a thing called Serverless Cloud, a monumental leap,
Plus others joined the serverless space, with promises to keep.
DataStax has Astra, Akka from Lightbend,
And MongoDB’s Atlas, in keeping with the trend.

CockroachDB Serverless, launched with much delight,
Then Upstash brought some Serverless Kafka, to join into the fight.
I already mentioned PlanetScale, which seems a big to-do,
But I really wish AWS would GA, Aurora Serverless v2.

Now something else that’s bubbling, a bet that I would hedge,
Is serverless compute, moving to the edge.
CloudFront Functions came along, a challenge to CloudFlare,
They just laughed, and said, “oh no, you don’t want to go there!”

Pages got some updates, then Workers were Unbound,
15 minute timeouts, and upgrades all-around.
Then came R2 storage, with no more egress fee woes,
Then Images and Services, a challenger arose.

But don’t forget Fastly, they said goodbye to edge cold starts,
Even argued with Cloudflare, using a bunch of performance charts.
And there are plenty of other players, doing edge compute,
But unless they really step up their game, their services are moot.

So much more has happened, like Azure Container Apps,
And Facebook became Meta, but no one gave two craps.
Knative was sent by Google, to the CNCF board,
Maybe I’m alone on this, but Kubernetes leaves me bored.

Stedi released Mappings, with events you can transform,
But we can’t ignore, the AWS, product release storm.
The firehose is much too big, to list them all right here,
So here is just a smattering, of the things they did last year:

API Destinations, for EventBridge are pretty cool,
Plus S3 Object Lambdas, are a very handy tool.
Lambda got Extensions and SAM did Accelerate,
And App Runner got added to the container team’s full plate.

Amazon did OpenSearch, the service was renamed,
It’s not, however, serverless, for that it should be shamed.
Global tables in Dynamo, finally got CloudFormation,
No day 1 support for all these things, is a source of much frustration.

Step Functions got a Studio, a marvel of DX,
Plus 200 SDK services, what will they think of next?
Amplify made some moves, a Studio of its own,
With Ali and her team on it, the product’s really grown.

The advocates launched some patterns, at,
Lambda Functions got Graviton2, performance is the bomb.
Lambda got filters for SQS, Kinesis, and Dynamo,
Plus partial batch for SQS, was added to the show.

Kinesis Data Streams are now, available On-Demand,
RedShift even went serverless, to compete with Snowflake’s brand.
S3 event notifications, can now go to EventBridge,
Plus some services’ consoles got better, but only by a smidge.

There were also some more SDKs: Kotlin, Swift and Rust,
Plus a new, higher free tier, which really was a must.
The CDK reached v2, plus backup for S3,
In case you need more than eleven 9s of durability.

15 turned S3 and SQS, a long time there’s no doubt,
And IAM, just turned 10, but I still can’t figure it out.
So what else about last year, is there left to say?
How ’bout when us-east-1 went down for an entire day?

And while I’m sure they really would, like to clear the cache,
It’s hard to forget about a little thing, we called Infinidash.
The idea itself was brilliant, some people got confused,
The response was less than stellar, and some egos then got bruised.

But let’s focus on the positives, like debates we had with Corey,
Is it the unfulfilled promise of serverless, or the potential soon to see?
I even wrote some ditties, to help you through the mess,
Like my database cover of the Beatles’ Help! and Goin’ Serverless.

So as we start the new year, let’s remember all we got,
Lots of innovation and the COVID vaccine shot.
Hug your friends and loved ones, every single night,
And let’s all say a little prayer, for the amazing Betty White.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

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Zac Charles takes a look at after 3+ years and offers some tips to ensure that your Lambda functions aren’t exploited.

Paul Swail does a great job explaining the trade-offs with functionless integration patterns in serverless architectures.

Nirmal Singh Tomar gives a quick overview of what’s possible with data analytics using the new Amazon EMR Serverless.

Daniel Jelušić gives a rundown of data storage options in serverless applications.

Enrico Portolan outlines some patterns for implementing a serverless webhook.

Shivang Kar explains how Fasal manages SQS partial batch failures in AWS Lambda using Middy. Now that’s just a feature of the SQS/Lambda integration.

Lee James Gilmore shares another excellent post on serverless caching strategies.  Part 1 focuses on Amazon API Gateway.

Rajnish Kumar Garg gives a brief introduction to data partitioning in Kinesis, DynamoDB and Redshift. Lots of useful info in here.

Connor Butch explains why you might want to mix multiple programming languages in the same AWS SAM Application.

Wojciech Matuszewski wrote an article I’ve been meaning to write for some time on how to make Lambda-less outbound HTTP requests on AWS serverless.

Nick De Cooman explains how Homegate uses AWS FIFO Queues with Message Groups for atomic processing at scale. Great reminder of a use case that doesn’t require all messages to be processed in order.

And finally, Jones Zachariah Noel explains how you can save more with DynamoDB’s new table class.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

James Beswick shares part 3 of how to build a serverless multi-player game that scales.

Ayushi Garg explains how to limit autoscaling with on-demand DynamoDB tables.

Michał Żołnieruk has an interesting tutorial on how to use the Notion API from a Typescript Azure Function.

Saurab Bajgain shows you some serverless architecture tech to begin with if you want to build an offline app.

Vito De Giosa has an interesting post about using AWS Step Functions to monitor services choreography. There’s definitely a value to complexity tradeoff here.

Ashutosh Pateriya and Nirmal Tomar explain how to optimize cost by automating the start/stop of resources in non-production environments.

This might be for a niche audience, but I thought Tanvir Ahmad’s approach to running Symfony Console commands in AWS Lambda was pretty neat.

Ran Isenberg has another post in his series to help you manage your AWS Lambda feature flags “like a boss”.

And James Kirk had a good post on building a real-time serverless chat application on AWS with Go and Vue 3.

Serverless Reads 🤓

Serverless Data for Redis and Kafka
Upstash gives you Serverless Redis and Kafka with per request pricing. Thanks to Global replication and built-in REST API, you can use Upstash in AWS Lambda and Cloudflare Workers with low latency and zero pain. No credit card required to start with the free tier. Sponsored

Vedran Cindric shared how to scale a business on AWS Lambda and process millions of API requests per month on a budget. Plus, Omer Baki shared how they built Melio’s payments platform on AWS serverless. Always fun to read about the evolution of different architectures.

Sandro Volpicella put together some short case studies about the different ways companies are using Amplify and serverless.

Laurie Voss shared some predictions for the Jamstack in 2022. He suggests that “serverless functions hit the mainstream” as developer usage crosses 50%. I will lose all faith in humanity if this is not the case.

And finally, Paul Krill shared survey results stating that Kubernetes adoption is up, while serverless is down. I think it depends on who the audience is, and it would help if the data wasn’t from last February.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

The Serverless Craic team discussed whether or not serverless is the answer for building secure cloud architecture.

And if you only watch one re:Invent 2021 session, I suggest “Best practices of advanced serverless developers” from Julian Wood. It’s a lot of information, but packed with great tips.

New from AWS 🆕

Again, not much from AWS over the holiday break, but AWS Secrets Manager now automatically enables SSL connections when rotating database secrets and AWS Lambda now supports Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) endpoints for inbound connections.

Serverless Tools 🛠

Emin Buğra Saral put together a tool for creating serverless apps in a few seconds.

Çalgan Aygün created a meme generator using Serverless Cloud.

Mohamed Latfalla shared a Lambda Layer Maker for Python.

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

Living the serverless dream: Christmas Day 2021, when everybody who has bought a Roomba since Black Friday opens them in about a four hour window on Christmas morning, was completely hands off keyboard for us. Literally nothing needed to handle the massive influx of traffic. ~ Ben Kehoe
I look forward to this tweet from Ben every year. He later clarified that it doesn’t mean “NoOps”, just that the operational burden of scaling these workloads has been offloaded to the Cloud provider.

Great thread by @loujaybee ! The @awscloud strategy has always been “build the primitives and let the ecosystem fill in the rest.” But now that we have *most* of the primitives we need, what should AWS focus on next? Thinking face I don’t think it’s building better dev experiences. ~ Me
Lou Bichard had a great thread that pushed me to share my thoughts on the whole AWS DX debate. Lots of good comments and feedback in this thread.

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 Boris Tane (@BorisTane). Boris Tane is the founder of Baselime, an observability solution for serverless architectures. Though he got his start as an aerospace engineer, Boris later pivoted into London’s startup scene, with notable achievements such as working with Antler as an entrepreneur and founding Bkmark, a bookmarks manager for teams, in addition to holding software engineer positions with Qualio and Seatfrog. Since making the switch into the tech world, he is devoted to helping make serverless adoption painless for teams. Thank you, Boris, for your inspiring work!

Final Thoughts 🤔

This was a long one, but I’m looking forward to a fantastic year. Also, don’t forget to sign up for updates on my new DynamoDB Modeling Course! I’ll be sharing some updates about it very soon.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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 #169December 21, 2021

Next Issue

Issue #171January 11, 2022

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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 ⭐️!