Off-by-none: Issue #61

October 29, 2019

Yup, it's "yum" for Lambda... ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿ’ป

Welcome to Issue #61 of Off-by-none. I’m so happy you’re here! ๐Ÿ˜€

Last week, we looked at alternatives for function composition and introduced some new serverless development platforms. This week, we’re going to take a quick look at the new “yumda” project, plus we’ve got plenty of great content from the community.

BTW, are you going to AWS re:Invent this year? If so, don’t forget to register for the #ServerlessForEveryone Community Party @ AWS re:Invent 2019. We’ve got plenty of awesome guests and some amazing sponsors (Stackery, Thundra, AWS, CloudZero, Lumigo, Protego, and Serverless, Inc) that’ll make this a great event. I hope you’ll join us!

Lots to get to this week, so let’s get started! ๐ŸŽ

Native dependencies in Lambda never tasted so good… ๐Ÿญ

Last week on the Serverless Chats Podcast, I spoke with Michael Hart about an amazing new project he was working on called “yumda”. This project lets you easily install binary packages into your Lambda environments and then publish them as Lambda Layers to use in your serverless applications.

The project has been released to the public and is now available on GitHub. ๐ŸŽ‰

This is a really great project that will make working with native binaries so much simpler. I think it will open up tons of possibilities, especially for those new to Lambda and serverless. Give it a look, and be sure to send your feedback.

Serverless News & Product Announcements ๐Ÿš€

CNCF Serverless WG gets CloudEvents into incubator, approves 1.0 release
The CloudEvents spec from the CNCF is maturing. Several projects, including Microsoftโ€™s EventGrid, Adobe I/O Events, Oracle Fn, and Knative have adopted the standard.

AWS Lambda Performance Optimization & Monitoring with Tracing & Spans (Serverless Framework Pro)
The Serverless Framework is adding feature after feature to give you complete visibility into your serverless applications. This new Tracing and Spans feature is another really useful tool.

Seamless Monitoring Simplified!
Thundra’s new update lets customers instrument their functions directly from the console rather than needing to modify YAML files or add additional instrumentation.

Serverless Stories ๐Ÿ“–

Dirty Old Code
Pierre Bails and the team at Precogs migrated their monolithic Ruby on Rails app to a serverless environment. Check out how they migrated their application in pieces, slowly reducing the dependency on the legacy system.

Canary (B/G) Deployment for AWS Serverless Stacks (Immutable IaC)
Dinesh Dandu walks us through how his team built their CI/CD pipeline to deploy their serverless application.

My key takeaways from ServerlessDays Stockholm
ServerlessDays events are awesome. They give people a chance to see and hear speakers from around the world. Tuomo Varis was at ServerlessDays Stockholm, and has put together a nice recap of the event.

Serverless Use Cases ๐Ÿ—บ

Creating, monitoring, and testing cron jobs on AWS
Running automated tasks is one of the most basic, yet powerful use cases for serverless. Gareth McCumskey has a very detailed post that will show you how to take full advantage of serverless cron jobs.

Serverless Event Scheduling
Ben Ellerby outlines a variation on the Step Functions as an email scheduler pattern. He adds an SQS queue for some additional durability and retries. I really like this Step Functions approach for scheduling ad hoc events.

The Serverless Vector Map Stack Lives!
Great post by Alexander Rolek that details how the release of AWS Aurora Serverless Postgres (with PostGIS support) makes building an entirely serverless map stack now possible.

When you’re looking for some advanced serverless concepts… ๐Ÿ—

Serverless – AWS Lambda Python Dependencies
Dorian Machado gives you the basic steps to install Python dependencies for use in your Lambda functions.

.NET Core 3.0 AWS Lambda Benchmarks and Recommendations
Zac Charles has been keeping up with the performance of .NET Core 3.0 on AWS Lambda and shares his latest benchmarks and recommendations with us.

AWS Lambda – The Ultimate Guide
Pretty much everything you would ever want to know about Lambda is in this article from the team at Serverless, Inc.

A simple introduction to Step Functions
If you’ve yet to dive into AWS Step Functions, or just want a quick refresher, take a look at Renato Byrro’s introductory post.

Donโ€™t wait for Functionless. Write less Functions instead
Sheen Brisals has a great post that gets you thinking about minimizing your Lambda functions in favor of using built in cloud integrations. We’re not “functionless” yet, but as Sheen points out, there are a lot of things we can do without them.

Serverless Tutorials ๐Ÿ—

Serverless Data Visualizations
This tutorial will show you how to create data visualizations with AWS Lambda using Pythonโ€™s Pandas, Numpy, and Matplotlib libraries.

How to get started and debug Lambda functions
Ankita Kulkarni shows you how to build and test Lambda functions with Netlify.

Developing Serverless Applications on AWS using AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM)
This is a thorough document that consolidates a lot of information into a single post. If you’re working with AWS SAM, this could be a good reference manual for you.

Go serverless in Kubernetes with Knative
If you’re thinking about going down the Knative route, Paulo Kieffer has a short and sweet intro for you.

Building A Serverless Backend API Part 1
Here’s a very detailed tutorial from Serkan ร–zal on how to create a serverless API. This is great for beginners.

Setting up CI/CD for Lambda Functions using AWS CodePipeline
Lots of posts on CI/CD for serverless projects, and everyone’s process is different! Here is another example by Maarten Thoelen.

Serverless CI/CD Using Github Actions
And here’s another CI/CD workflow for your serverless applications. This one uses the new Github Actions, which is kind of cool.

Serverless Security ๐Ÿ”’

Cloud Native Security: Focus On Your Domain
John Gilbert shares his thoughts on where the shared responsibility model ends with serverless applications, and where you must step in to ensure your users’ sensitive data is protected.

Cloud Native Security: What it Means
Tal Melamed explains how serverless and cloud native change the security landscape, and offers some recommendations for making sure your applications are secure.

Serverless Reads ๐Ÿค“

Serverless and multi-cloud: Hype or reality?
Interesting post by Sebastien Goasguen from TriggerMesh. In my mind, there is a big difference between being “multi-cloud” and using services from “multiple” clouds. While we’ll definitely continue to see enterprises adopting the multi-cloud strategy, I still believe this has the opposite effect on choosing best-of-breed services.

Hey AWS – it’s time to pay OSS developers
Forrest Brazeal’s latest Cloud Irregular newsletter points out the lack luster performance of AWS’s Serverless Application Repository (SAR). Could adding some incentives for developers make it more popular?

What is Serverless? The โ€œ2020โ€ edition
Paul Johnston canโ€™t stand the word “serverless” any more, but that hasn’t stopped him from embracing the value it provides. In his latest post, he articulates a few major positions on what serverless is, and why it’s important for the future of the cloud.

The Serverless Supercomputer
If you’re curious about the future of serverless, and what’s truly possible, take a few minutes to read Tim Wagner’s latest post.

For the those that want an audio/visual experienceโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ“ฝ

Episode #20: The Serverless Journey of with Sheen Brisals
In this episode, I chat with Sheen Brisals about the problems the LEGO Group was trying to solve with serverless, what they learned from their journey, and what’s the idea behind “functionless.

Serverlessconf NYC 2019 Videos
A Cloud Guru posted several of the talks from this year’s Serverlessconf in NYC. Lots of really interesting presentations, so be sure to grab some popcorn and a notebook.

Building CI/CD Pipelines for Serverless Applications
More serverless CI/CD goodness. This time from the Serverless Toronto meetup.

When you’re wondering what the devs at AWS are up to… ๐Ÿ‘ทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Amazon Transcribe Now Supports Australian English Speech-to-Text in Real Time
I know AWS keeps adding dialect support, but I’ve been using it with US English for quite some time and the accuracy can be terrible. Maybe they just need to add Boston English as another supported language. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ

AWS Amplify Console announces Pull-Request Previews for Fullstack Serverless Applications
This is a pretty cool feature. A pull-request preview deploys every pull request made to your GitHub repository to a unique preview URL. It even spins up and tears down ephemeral backends for testing.

200 Amazon CloudFront Points of Presence + Price Reduction
Wow, 200 total POPs. I have some extra room in my basement if AWS is looking for some more space.

Serverless Tools ๐Ÿ› 

This is a Serverless framework plugin that simplifies the configuration of SNS to SQS to Lambda.

Edit serverless YAML templates in VSCode like a pro | Serverless IDE
I think we’ve mentioned this tool before, but Pavel Vlasov’s Serverless IDE tool is a nice little add-on for your serverless development workflow.

Thoughts from Twitter ๐Ÿฆ

10 reasons why I love AWS Step Functions so much, illustrated using a JavaScript Promise chain: step = json => service(params) .then(flakyService()) .then(longService()) .then(({ id }) => Promise.all([send(id), audit(id)])) ~ Jesse Warden
Jesse Warden has a clever thread that demonstrates the usefulness of AWS Step Functions.

Upcoming Serverless Events ๐Ÿ—“

There are a lot of upcoming serverless events, webinars, livestreams, and more. If you have an event you’d like me to mention, please email me.

October 30, 2019 – Serverless Transformation Webinar – How Can Serverless Improve (I’ll be on this with Ran Ribenzaft and Erica Windisch)

October 30, 2019 – Retail at the Scale of Serverless with AWS – Webinar

October 30, 2019 – Managing Serverless Applications with SAM Templates

November 6-8, 2019 – Serverless Computing London

December 2-6, 2019 – AWS re:Invent 2019

Serverless Star of the Week โญ๏ธ

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 weekโ€™s star is Daniel ZivKovic (@DanielBookmarks). Daniel is a Cloud Solutions Architect at Onica, and the organizer of the Serverless Toronto User Group. He’s been organizing and running these events since May of last year, and has brought in a number of amazing serverless speakers to share their knowledge with the Toronto developer community. I’ve met Daniel a number of times, and his enthusiasm for serverless is infectious. The work he does helps bring new people into the serverless community everyday, and that is something to cheer for. Thanks for all you do, Daniel! ๐Ÿ™Œ

Final Thoughts ๐Ÿค”

It’s been another heads down week for me trying to wrap up a big serverless project I’m working on, but I did get a chance to chat with some AWS PMs and partners. Lots of super cool stuff coming down the pike for Lambda and serverless at AWS. We’re just over a month away from re:Invent, and I’m ridiculously excited about it. It’s going to be a very, very good end-of-year for serverless.

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Off-by-none. Please send me your feedback and suggestions as they help to make this newsletter better each week. You can reach me via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or email and let me know your thoughts, criticisms, or (perhaps) even how youโ€™d like to contribute to Off-by-none. If you like this newsletter, and think others would too, please do me the honor of sharing it with friends and coworkers who are interested in serverless.

Until next week,

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Issue #60October 22, 2019

Next Issue

Issue #62November 5, 2019

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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 โ€œserver-fullโ€ 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 โญ๏ธ!