Off-by-none: Issue #4

September 25, 2018

All I see is choreography and I'll never be a dancer

Welcome to Issue #4 of Off-by-none. Thanks for being here! 🙌

Last week we started a conversation about serverless microservices. It was mostly an overview to get us thinking about handling complexity in our serverless architectures and some of the challenges we might face when doing so. This week I want to dive deeper and start looking at how we can use traditional microservice patterns and adapt them to serverless applications.

Let's get started! 🚀

When you like to break a mental sweat too... 🤯

Thinking about microservices can be a bit of a mind-bending experience for developers. Add serverless computing to the mix, and many run back to the safety and familiarity of their monolithic applications. I also think that there is still a lot of confusion about what serverless microservices look like and how they are implemented.

In my new post, An Introduction to Serverless Microservices, I outline a few basic principles of microservices and then discuss how we might implement them using serverless. I also touch on the idea of orchestration versus choreography and when one might be a better choice than the other with serverless architectures. I hope readers will walk away from this realizing both the power of the serverless microservices approach and that the basic fundamentals are actually quite simple to implement.

What to do when you've finished binge watching a show on Netflix and your brain feels like mush... 📚

We've been talking a lot about building applications with serverless microservices, but we haven't really discussed the tools we can use to actually manage our deployments. Luckily for us, Nitzan Shapira over at Epsagon does it for us in The Most Popular Deployment Tools for Serverless.

If I had just one wish, it would be for more hours in the day. If I had two wishes, the second would be to reduce concerns with my cloud infrastructure. Paul Swail at Winter Wind Software gives us a list of concerns that go away in a serverless world. If I had just three wishes, the last one would be to have attended...

ServerlessDays PDX. Portland put on quite a show the other week (even without wifi apparently). And according to Jeffrey Fate (who was in attendance), “Observability is the new black.” He wrote a great post that summarizes each talk and provides a few key takeaways. I'm still hoping for the videos.

When you're trying to debug your serverless app and you just want to scream... 😱

Last week, Steve Mayszak from AWS showed us some techniques for Serverless Application Debugging and Delivery Best Practices. Spoiler Alert: it was heavily focused on using AWS native technologies like Cloud9 and CodeStar, but there were some good nuggets in there regarding debugging your Lambda functions with X-Ray and how to use SAM templates to create safe deployments. You can watch the recording and check out the slides.

Ben Kehoe, Cloud Robotics Research Scientist at iRobot, takes a slightly different approach. In a recent InfoQ podcast, Ben talks about unit testing locally, then performing integration tests on deployed functions. He also talks about red/black deployments, something he's mentioned before given the issues caused by canary deployments in distributed systems. Definitely worth a listen.

Where to turn for security advice when you realize that PCI, HIPPA, and others are slow to address cloud-native technologies... ☁️

How about here? PureSec just launched an OWASP Top 10 Project for Cloud-Native Application Security. This new document will raise awareness and create a baseline for application security in modern cloud-based application architectures such as serverless computing, container-based applications and microservices. I think this is long overdue, so I'm glad that Ory and his team took the initiative to organize this. They are looking for contributors as well, so join the project and help make the cloud more secure.

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 Marcia Villalba (@mavi888uy). You probably already know Marcia. She’s an AWS Serverless Hero that consistently produces fun and creative serverless and AWS content. Her FooBar channel on YouTube has well over 100 videos loaded with great serverless tips and tutorials and she publishes new videos every week. You can also stay updated on her new videos by following her blog.

The reason I chose Marcia this week is because she just started releasing videos en Español! According to Wikipedia, over 437 million people speak Spanish across the globe. I love writing about serverless and introducing it to new audiences, but unless you want me to ask you “where is the train station?” in Spanish, English speakers are my primary audience. The fact that Marcia (a native Spanish speaker from Uruguay living in Finland) produces such amazing content in English is worthy of our praise, but now that she is introducing serverless to millions more in their native language, is just plain exceptional. 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

The more I write about serverless microservices, the more I realize just how amazing this technology is. And with new tools and services being released all the time, these benefits will soon become accessible to more and more people. I think that developers would be wise to embrace serverless as the need for specialists in this area will only continue to grow. These are some exciting times!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Off-by-none. Please send me your feedback as it is always appreciated and helps to make this newsletter better each and every week. Contact me via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or email and let me know your thoughts, criticisms, or even how you’d like to contribute to Off-by-none.

Go build some great serverless apps. Hope to see you all next week!

Hasta luego,

Previous Issue

Issue #3September 18, 2018

Next Issue

Issue #5October 2, 2018

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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 ⭐️!