Off-by-none: Issue #271

March 19, 2024

Only have a few minutes? Check out this week's MOST POPULAR links as chosen by our email subscribers.

Hello Cold Starts My Old Friend! 🥶

In our previous issue, CloudFormation got up to 40% faster, AWS made outbound data migrations free, and PlanetScale decided to focus on profitability. This week, cold starts are top of mind, Timestream runs a familiar playbook, and Bedrock gives us cheap AI Haikus. Plus, we have plenty of excellent serverless content from the community!

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

Amazon Timestream for InfluxDB is now generally available, and I don't know about you, but I'm getting massive Elasticsearch vibes here. I like InfluxDB, so this is pretty cool. Learn more here.

AWS CloudFormation added new validation checks for stack operations, which will check your stack for spelling errors, invalid resource properties, and other bonehead mistakes we all make before it tries to provision anything. What's with this sudden renewed vigor from the CloudFormation team, BTW?

It was AWS Pi Day again, and no surprise, it was heavily focused on the "power of generative AI." There were some other useful S3 related announcement in here that you might want to check out.

While we're on the subject of AI, Anthropic's Claude 3 Haiku Model is now available on Amazon Bedrock. Like the Mistral models, Haiku is much cheaper. Learn more here.

In other cloud news, DBOS: A Database Alternative to Kubernetes, announced a seed round. What makes this super interesting is that the project was founded by Dr. Mike Stonebraker (he created Ingress, PostgreSQL, and VoltDB) and Matei Zaharia, the creator of Apache Spark. 👀

And speaking of Postgres, Xata announced a new serverless Postgres platform. I thought they were already backed by Postgres, but apparently this makes them compatible with Postgres clients. And, hey, there's still a free tier. 😉

Filip Pýrek launched Buttonize, a tool that helps you build your own little AWS Console in CDK.

Ampt introduced Secure Webhook Deployment Triggers that let you trigger app rebuilds and deployments through a secure, URL-based webhook.

And finally, the Serverless Framework v4 Alpha was released if you want to go give that a try.

Let's talk about Cold Starts, again...

Ran Isenberg asks, if "AWS Lambda Cold Start are still an issue?" According to Roy Ronalds, cold starts are the bane of his existence. Plus, David Behroozi recently discovered that Lambda Environment Variables Impact Cold Starts as well.

I've been building serverless applications for 9 years now (👴) and there are times when cold starts have been a problem. In my experience, most of the time they're not. The articles above all give lots of tips to help mitigate them, but here's my recommendation: if you are building a service with a low latency requirement, use a runtime like Rust (or maybe LLRT) to minimize the impact. Design your functions to use as few dependencies as possible, and adjust the memory settings as needed. If that doesn't meet your requirements, then start exploring provisioned options. That doesn't mean you can't use serverless for other parts of your stack.

AWS is constantly working to reduce cold starts, so maybe someday we can stop having this conversation. But until then, they will bite you now and again. If you want to learn more, check out AWS Lambda Under the Hood.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Here are a few posts to help you brush up on your serverless knowledge:

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

I love seeing all the amazing serverless tutorials being published each week. Here are few of my favorites:

Serverless Reads 🤓

Hashnode Creates Scalable Feed Architecture on AWS with Step Functions, EventBridge and Redis
Rafal Gancarz gives a quick recap of how Hashnode implemented personalized feeds for thousands of users. Real world use cases are always great to learn from.

How the GoDaddy data platform achieved over 60% cost reduction and 50% performance boost by adopting Amazon EMR Serverless Speaking of real world use cases, this case study goes deep into the numbers. EMR Serverless might not be the most exciting thing, but you'll be glad it's there if you need it.

"Serverless" is a Lie - Confessions of an AWS Addict
I posted on X that this was "Mostly, but not entirely wrong." There were lots of reactions. Grab some popcorn and have a read. 🍿

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

Build Abstractions Not Illusions • Gregor Hohpe • YOW! 2023
If you only watch one video this year, let this be it. Abstractions are everywhere, but hiding complexity isn't always the best answer.

Serverless Craic Ep53 - Cynefin Framework
The Serverless Craic team discusses the Cynefin Framework (pronounced "ku-nev-in") that can be used to describe the elements of our situation and personal history that influence our thoughts and decisions. Interesting discussion on how it applies to cloud architecture.

AWS Bites #118 - The landing zone: Managing multiple AWS accounts
How do you manage all your AWS accounts? Eoin and Luciano share some AWS best practices using Landing Zone.

Use Gitpod and Codespaces to deploy to AWS in seconds with Ampt
I show you how you can now use your favorite online IDEs like Gitpod and Codespaces to create, iterate, deploy, and manage apps on AWS with Ampt.

Mastering AWS Step Functions: Cost Analysis and Optimization Techniques with Ben Smith
Marcia Villalba chats with Ben Smith to help viewers understand how to effectively manage and minimize costs while maximizing functionality of Step Functions in AWS.

Combining Kafka and EventBridge | Serverless Office Hours
Michael Gasch and Dave Boyne join Julian Wood to show how to combine Amazon EventBridge and Apache Kafka to unlock event-driven business processes.

Ampt Live: Enabling automated AWS deployment pipelines with Ampt
In the latest live stream, I demonstrate how Ampt simplifies and automates the entire deployment workflow process using Git integrations, preview deployments, and webhook triggers.

New from AWS 🆕

Here are a few more AWS announcements that might interest you:

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

March 21, 2024 - Your AWS Account is Talking. Time to Listen. with Matt Martz

March 26, 2024 - The State of Serverless Adoption with Jeff Barr, Daniela Miao, and Max Liu (webinar)

March 28, 2024 - A Look Into CloudEvents - The New Standard For Event-Driven Architectures with Omid Eidivandi

April 13, 2024 - Serverless Conf – Blumenau 2024

May 21, 2024 - ServerlessDays ANZ - Sydney, AU

May 23, 2024 - ServerlessDays Belfast

May 24, 2024 - ServerlessDays ANZ - Auckland, NZ

June 13, 2024 - ServerlessDays Milano 2024 🗣️

Please send me your serverless events!

Star of the Week ⭐️

This week's star is Ajay Nair (@ajaynairthinks). Ajay is the former General Manager of AWS Lambda and App Runner at AWS. He recently announced that he had left Amazon Web Services after 10 years. The outpouring of appreciation and gratitude was as expected. Ajay is a living legend. His impact on serverless is immeasurable, as was his commitment to the community surrounding it. I'm excited to see what he does next, because he's a force for innovation. Thank you, Ajay, for all your years of service and dedication. AWS, and all of us, were lucky to have you.

Final Thoughts 🤔

Are cold starts the bane of your existence? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

May your functions forever stay warm,

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 X, LinkedIn, or email.

Previous Issue

Issue #270March 12, 2024

Next Issue

Issue #272March 26, 2024

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About the Author

Jeremy is the CEO and Founder of Ampt 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 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 ⭐️!