Off-by-none: Issue #32

April 9, 2019

Live from the Serverless Architecture Conference… 🌷🌷🌷

Welcome to Issue #32 of Off-by-none. I’m so happy that you’ve joined us this week. πŸŽ‰

Last week we looked at the Serverless Enterprise Framework and explored a few serverless security trends. This week, we’re live at the Serverless Architecture Conference in The Hague, Netherlands (🌷 lots of tulips). There have been a number of great speakers so far, and since this is my first international speaking engagement, I’m hoping all goes well.🀞 Either way, we still have plenty of amazing content to share from the serverless community.

But before we begin, I want to give a shout out to friend-of-the-newsletter, and all around great guy, James Beswick. He recently announced that he joined the AWS Serverless team as a Developer Advocate. He will be an extremely valuable resource to all you serverless fans out there. He’s one of the most passionate serverless people I know, so I’m excited to see what kind of energy he’ll bring to AWS. Congrats, James! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Every week seems to bring new and exciting serverless announcements, articles and projects, so let’s get going! πŸ”₯

Serverless Product Announcements πŸ“’

Announcing the Azure Functions Premium plan for enterprise serverless workloads
Pre-warming serverless functions? What kind of nonsense is this? But seriously, I’m actually glad that AWS has pushed to eliminate the problem completely, rather than taking this approach. Though I think many AWS customers would still pay for something similar.

New Serverless Plugin for IOpipe Monitoring and Observability via AWS Lambda Layers
If you’re using the Serverless Framework to build, deploy, and operate your applications on AWS Lambda, you can now use this new plugin to instrument your serverless applications with IOpipe.

Nginx Brings API Management to Application Platform
Nginx Unit is a polyglot application server for different programming languages including Python, PHP, Perl, Ruby, Go and JavaScript, that can be brought up to just run an event and then be brought down again. Hmm. πŸ€”

Aqua Security gets $62M to boost its container security platform
$62M in new funding to help companies protect container-based, cloud-native and serverless applications from malware and malicious attack. πŸ’°

Serverless Edge Computing with EdgeEngine
Create dynamic scripting layers that sit in front of all StackPath services to create a customized delivery experience for end-users. Sound familiar? (cough, CloudFlare)

Serverless Use Cases πŸ—Ί

How to FaaS like a pro: 12 uncommon ways to invoke your serverless function (Part 1)
Yes, Lambda can do more than just respond to an API Gateway request. Alex Casalboni gives us four great Lambda use cases using Amazon Cognito, AWS Config, Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose, and Amazon CloudFormation.

Deploying Serverless WordPress sites
Well, if you have to use WordPress, deploying it as a static site is at least a good compromise. I’ll allow it. πŸ˜‰

Chaining Serverless Functions for Stateful Workflows: AWS Step Functions using Adapter Pattern
Interesting approach to implementing Step Functions with an “adapter” function in between steps.

Using Serverless Reapers to Lower Your AWS Bill
Use Lambda to clean up unused resources in your AWS accounts. Don’t fear the reaper. Blue Oyster Cult would be so proud. πŸ’€

Translating Speech in Real-Time with Your Browser and the Cloud
Anthony Chu shows us how to use Microsoft Azure Functions, the Azure Cognitive Services Speech SDK, and the Azure SignalR Service to build a speech translation application.

Amazon DynamoDB: Ad tech use cases and design patterns
DynamoDB allows ad tech companies to achieve a high request rate (millions of requests per second), low and predictable latency, and reliability without having to invest resources in database operations.

If you’re just starting out with serverless… 🚼

You’re Clouding β€” But are you Clouding Properly?
If you’re not fully taking advantage of serverless, then Abner Germanow might disagree with you.

A Node.js introduction to Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS)
Derek Woods shows you how to set up an SQS queue, send a message, and process it with a worker. Learn to embrace asynchronous operations for more stable applications.

Best Practices for AWS Lambda Container Reuse
Angela Razzell shows you how to optimize warm starts when connecting AWS Lambda to other services.

Serverless cloud – Is it for everyone?
Daniel Kroening, a professor of Computer Science at Oxford University, argues that the best way to adopt a serverless strategy is to weave it into existing setups. I don’t disagree.

If you’re looking for some tools to automate your stack… πŸ€–

Serverless by Design
This tool by Danilo Poccia is absolutely amazing. Thanks to Ory Segal for pointing it out to me.

Serverless Apps to Automate Chores Around CloudWatch Logs
Yan Cui and Lumigo published some more apps in the Serverless Application Repository that let you auto-subscribe log groups and update retention policies.

Jeremy Edberg created a handy little script that will automatically create and stub functions just by reading your serverless.yml file. Very cool.

Serverless Tutorials πŸ—

How to Build a Real-time Collaborative Markdown Editor with React Hooks, GraphQL & AWS AppSync
This post will walk through everything from creating the API, writing the client code, and deploying a custom domain.

Profiling database and API calls in Alexa Skills
Are your Alexa skills behaving correctly and answering quickly? Thorsten Hoeger shows you how to monitor each invocation of your skill function and trace calls to databases and third parties with Thundra.

Invoke AWS services directly from AWS AppSync
AWS AppSync now supports calling AWS services via HTTP data sources with auto-generated sigV4s. Josh Kahn shows you an example of how to implement long-running queries.

Create a metric math alarm using Amazon CloudWatch
I love math. Javier Martin shows us how to use metric math to create an error rate expression that only triggers CloudWatch alarms when a percentage of failed Lambda functions reach a certain threshold.

Serverless Security πŸ”

The Evolution of Application Security In The Serverless World
Ory Segal sits down with Amit Klein to talk about how the move to serverless architectures, microservices, and the heavy reliance on cloud services, are changing the application security world.

[Whitepaper] Don’t think serverless security, think application security
The team over at Nuweba put together a whitepaper that debunks a lot of the FUD around serverless security. They stress that application level security is what really matters.

Expanding the PureSec API – Secure Your Functions Programmatically
PureSec recently made some updates to the PureSec API, which they say makes it easier than ever to automate the protection of your serverless applications.

Who’s on your Starting Lineup?
Maybe not the best analogy, but I think the point that Protego was trying to make has some merit.

Serverless Reads πŸ€“

My 2 year stint in micro serverless with AWS
Aphinya Dechalert outlines the lessons learned when switching from an EC2 -styled set up, to a serverless architecture that utilized Lamdba, API Gateway and S3.

OverSketched Newton: Fast Convex Optimization for Serverless Systems
OverSketched Newton is a randomized Hessian-based optimization algorithm to solve large-scale smooth and strongly-convex problems in serverless systems. 😳 (I got a headache just reading the abstract, but Ben Kehoe found it fascinating.)

How Should You Organize Your Functions in Production?
Yan Cui argues for single-purpose functions with fine-grained security controls. You should listen to him.

AWS AppSync Serverless GraphQL Real-Time Reference Architecture
Ed Lima really likes AppSync, and he wants you to as well. This post outlines two architectures that will help you achieve millions of real-time requests per day.

More Memory, more Cores? No
Does AWS Lambda grant you more cores with more memory? BjΓΆrn Raupach ran an experiment and was apparently disappointed.

6 Ways Azure Beats AWS in the Cloud
This held my interest up until the point where it mentions multi-cloud.

For the Visual Learner… πŸŽ₯

Marcia Villalba (pronounced VI-SHALL-BA πŸ˜‰) added a couple of videos to her FooBar Serverless monitoring series. Checkout the new videos covering the Dashbird and Epsagon.

Serverless Architectural Patterns and Best Practices
Sascha MΓΆllering’s GOTO conference talk was recently published to YouTube. This was pre-re:Invent, so there are a few things missing, but overall, just a very informative serverless talk. You all know I’m partial to serverless patterns. πŸ˜€

When you’re curious what the teams at AWS have been working on… βš™οΈ

John Darrow on Twitter: “SHUTDOWN ABORT the last Oracle database running Amazon Fulfillment!”
AWS shutdown their final Oracle database instance, and apparently it was a big deal. The video shows the team’s enthusiasm, but what’s missing is the followup video of them beating that Oracle piΓ±ata to death.

Amazon DynamoDB drops the price of global tables by eliminating associated charges for DynamoDB Streams
You are no longer billed for streams resources used by global tables for replicating changes from one replica table to all other replicas.

Amazon CloudWatch Launches Search Expressions
Create dashboards that update automatically as new resources are created that match the search query, providing up-to-the-minute visibility with reduced operational overhead.

AWS Serverless Application Repository is Now Available in the EU (Paris) and EU (Stockholm) Regions

AWS Amplify Console Now Supports Deploying Fullstack Serverless Applications with a Single Click
“You can now deploy entire projects (including the front end & backend) for your Gatsby, Vue, React, Angular or JS apps with a single click!” ~ Nader Dabit

Amazon Elasticsearch Service announces support for Elasticsearch 6.5
New support for auto-interval date histogram, conditional token filters, and early termination support for min/max aggregations. And don’t forget that you can do in-place version upgrades.

Amazon CloudFront enhances the security for adding alternate domain names to a distribution
Now, only those with authorized access to your domain’s certificate can add your domain to a CloudFront distribution as an alternate domain name.

Amazon Comprehend now support KMS encryption
AWS customers that work with highly sensitive, encrypted data can now easily enable Comprehend to work with this encrypted data via an integration with the AWS Key Management Service.

Upcoming Serverless Events πŸ—“

April 10, 2019 – The Serverless Architecture Conference is in full swing in The Hague, Netherlands. Tomorrow I’m giving two talks and speaking on a panel.

April 11, 2019ServerlessDays Zurich.

April 17, 2019 Serverless Observability Workshop presented by AWS and Epsagon.

April 24, 2019Cloud-side development: Why it’s a thing and how to build faster than ever with serverless present by Stackery

April 25, 2019ServerlessDays Helsinki.

Serverless Star of the Week ⭐️

There is a very long list of people that 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 let me know.

This week’s star is Danilo Poccia (@danilop). Danilo is a Principal Evangelist for Serverless at AWS Cloud and the author of AWS Lambda In Action. Danilo speaks at just about every conference you can imagine and has somewhere close to a billion presentations on serverless, several of which you can find the videos for. His GitHub account is loaded with amazing serverless goodies, and his Twitter feed is always updated with serverless news, product releases, and other industry buzz. I’ve been a big fan of Danilo’s work for quite some time, but after discovering his Serverless by Design project, he just got elevated to a whole new level. I think he takes the title from Chris Munns for the hardest working man in serverless. πŸ†

Final Thoughts πŸ€”

Every day that I’m part of this amazing serverless community, I become more and more passionate about the future of cloud computing. All of these conferences are great for sharing ideas and spreading the word, but now I’m hearing these stories of developers and organizations embracing serverless and excelling with it. Not just saving money, but building better systems faster, and focusing on core business value rather than wasting time on the things that don’t matter. This is having a huge impact on software development, and seeing this potential is the reason why I started writing this newsletter. Even if you start small, the path to serverless will start generating an immediate return.

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Off-by-none. Please feel free to send feedback and suggestions so I can keep making this newsletter better each week. You can reach me via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or email and let me know your thoughts, criticisms, or how you’d like to contribute to Off-by-none.

If you have a minute, please share this newsletter with your friends and coworkers who might be interested in serverless. I would really appreciate it. πŸ‘

Until next time,

Previous Issue

Issue #31April 2, 2019

Next Issue

Issue #33April 16, 2019

Sign up for the Newsletter

Stay up to date on using serverless to build modern applications in the cloud. Get insights from experts, product releases, industry happenings, tutorials and much more, every week!


Check out all our amazing sponsors and find out how you can help spread the #serverless word by sponsoring an issue.


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 β€œserver-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 ⭐️!