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Off-by-none: Issue #97

Serverless Reference Architectures for the Rest of Us… 👩‍🏫

Welcome to Issue #97 of Off-by-none. Thanks for joining us this week!

Last week, we learned how serverless applications can be truly vendor neutral and how EFS is finally makes serverless ML a reality. This week, we announce a new way to explore serverless architectures, learn how to debug and load test serverless applications, and we finally get “connection pools” from Lambda. Plus, we have lots of awesome content from the serverless community.

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

Webinar: Building Intelligent Application Flows in the Cloud and On-premises with TriggerMesh
Join us July 30 as we build some example Bridges. One will perform sentiment analysis on ZenDesk tickets using AWS, another will execute an Oracle Cloud function in response to a change in an on-premises OracleDB. See you there! Sponsored

Announcing the Serverless Reference Architectures Project
Shameless plug here for the new Serverless Reference Architectures Project that I just launched. I have been sharing and discussing serverless microservice patterns for years, and finding a better, more interactive way to share them has been a goal of mine for quite some time. This is just the first step, but I hope people find it useful and will contribute their own patterns and examples to help others.

Fauna Raises $27 Million to Continue Providing Cutting Edge Solutions for Developers
I love seeing companies in the serverless space raising money. It’s inevitable, serverless will (someday) take over the world. Will Fauna be the global datastore of choice when that happens?

Vendia raises $5.1M for its multi-cloud serverless platform
No surprises here. Tim Wagner, and the former head of blockchain at AWS, Shruthi Rao, are the ultimate serverless dream team. This is another company/space to pay attention to.

Dfinity demo’s its TikTok clone, opens up its ‘Internet Computer’ to outside developers
Speaking of blockchain, what do you get when you cross serverless with blockchain, and then mix in some WebAssembly? Apparently an “Internet Computer” that can run distributed applications without servers, databases, or firewalls.

Production-Ready Serverless is back (with improved curriculum)!
Yan Cui’s course was groundbreaking when it first launched, now it has the benefit of feedback and iteration on its side. Not only that, but he’s offering it in a much more interactive way. This is probably the best serverless training resource out there.

Gartner Names Lumigo a Cool Vendor in Performance Analysis for Cloud-Native Architectures
When you’re working hard behind the scenes to try and build something amazing, getting positive feedback like this is important. And for the record, Lumigo has been in my “Cool Vendor” column for quite some time. 😉

Epsagon Achieves Privacy Shield Framework Certification
Certifications like this are a sign of maturity, so congrats to Epsagon for doing the work to not only bring you an awesome product, but also to bring it up to the highest standards of security and privacy.

Serverless Stories 📖

Serverless Web Apps in Python
A good collection of tips and tricks based on what Sanjay Siddhanti learned while using Zappa to build serverless applications.

Serverless-Side Rendering With Lambda at Edge
Great use case and example explained by Joe Duran that uses Lambda@Edge to render static pages for their application. Interesting note in there about solving the problem of competitors scraping their public API. SPAs can be great for many reasons, but making data easily accessible via an API, might not be the best strategic choice.

Serverless Use Cases 🗺

Monitor & Debug Serverless with 30-Second Auto-Instrumentation
Complete observability over your serverless environment with no code changes required. With one-click distributed tracing, Lumigo lets you effortlessly find & fix issues in serverless and microservices environments. Get serverless-specific smart alerts before they impact performance or cost. Sign up for a free account and get up & running in minutes. Sponsored

Serverless BERT with HuggingFace and AWS Lambda
Awesome post by Philipp Schmid that shows you how to build a serverless question-answering API with BERT and HuggingFace. These ML use cases for serverless are great.

Create a COVID-19 dashboard with Angular 9+Serverless+AWS Lambda
Angular would not be my first choice, but to each their own. This post shows how to create a server-side rendered backend that loads a datasource and generates graphs using AWS Lambda.

Send Emails Serverlessly With Node.js, Lambda, and AWS SES
Another serverless use case that is becoming a standard go-to solution. Angad Singh shows you how to set up and test this in a sandbox environment. This post just scratches the surface of what’s possible.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

How to Debug AWS Lambda Performance Issues
Latency can have a huge impact on the business metrics of your applications, so making sure you are achieving an acceptable level of performance is hugely important. Yan Cui has another excellent post that dives deep into how to debug these issues and optimize your use cases.

Protect your RDS MySQL DB from AWS Lambda Scalability
Matt Coulter has added a new pattern to his CDK Patterns site that implements the new RDS Proxy service. The code is available in Python and Typescript. Good stuff.

Deletion Policy To Keep Serverless Stack Safe
Simple, yet powerful reminder by Rajesh Kankran to set deletion policies for production AWS services so that you don’t accidentally lose data. It’s okay to admit that it happened to you.

Challenges of Going Serverless (2020 edition)
This is a good overview by Mariliis Retter that outlines some of the common challenges of developing serverless applications. I totally agree that serverless has many challenges and causes for confusion due to the unknowns. But it’s still totally worth it.

Disaster Recovery strategies using AWS Serverless Services
This is a good read by Harshavardhan Ghorpade that explains the importance of Disaster Recovery and how serverless helps us achieve that at a much lower cost that traditional serverfull environments.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

Build serverless apps that seamlessly connect to MySQL & PostgreSQL databases
Amazon RDS Proxy is a fully managed, highly available database proxy that allows applications to pool and share database connections, improving database efficiency, application scalability, and security. Previously launched in Preview at AWS re:Invent in 2019, RDS Proxy is now generally available and can be enabled for MySQL and PostgreSQL workloads through both the Amazon RDS and AWS Lambda consoles. Sponsored

Load testing a web application’s serverless backend
It’s all fine and good to say that serverless can easily scale, but do you know if your architecture actually can? This is why load testing is so important to confirm your system’s scalability before you realize it during a Black Friday sale. James Beswick has another excellent post that walks you through setting up the tools and running the experiments to make sure you serverless system will handle anything you throw at it.

It’s simple with AWS: A step by step serverless fan-out architecture guide
Rafael Rodriguez has a great tutorial that shows you how to implement the fan-out pattern using AWS serverless services. He’s using an SNS topic in this example, but EventBridge could also be another effective way to implement it.

Handling webhooks with EventBridge, SAM and SAR
Slobodan Stojanović explains the evolution of webhook implementations at Vacation Tracker and then shows you how to create a SAR app that publishes incoming message to an EventBridge event bus for further processing.

Deploying Serverless Golang APIs With The AWS CDK
Go is screaming fast on Lambda, so it’s becoming a popular choice for developers building serverless applications. Dennis O’Keeffe has created a tutorial that shows you how to deploy a Golang API using the AWS CDK.

Chromium and Selenium in AWS Lambda
Headless browser running in an AWS Lambda function? No problem. Vittorio Nardone shows you how to get Chromium up and running and then how to use Selenium to run some tests.

Serverless Reads 🤓

The GoLD Stack
We don’t see enough articles that look at serverless from a management perspective, and as we see more developers adopting it, I think it’s wise to be able to effectively communicate the value “up-the-stack”. Zef Hemel put some thoughts out there on this as it relates to using Go with Lambda and DynamoDB.

The truth about Serverless
How can you not click on a title like this? But seriously, Gareth Thomas outlines the perceived pros and cons of serverless and then offers a reality check for each one.

You’re not ready for feature flags
Another batch of good advice from Forrest Brazeal about making sure you nail down the basics of cloud deployments before you go ahead and try getting all fancy-like.

Why do so few vendors in the serverless space offer metered billing?
Interesting observation by Paul Swail about why most third-party serverless products are using a quota-based billing model instead of a more “serverless” pay-per-use model. He partially answers his own question, but definitely something to think about if you’re building a business in this space.

My Time as a Black Woman Software Engineer at Capital One
Though it isn’t about serverless, I had to include this incredibly brave post that recounts the horrific experience suffered by a black woman working as a software engineer. As I read this, my heart sank to the floor. The ideas and contributions of underrepresented people are far too often marginalized or hijacked by the current culture in tech. If you witness anything like this (even the things that may seem small to you), please speak out and stand up for changing toxic cultures.

Podcast, videos, and more… 🎧

Episode #56: Accelerating DynamoDB Workflows using Dynobase with Rafal Wilinski
In this episode, I chat with Rafal Wilinski about the challenges developers face when using DynamoDB, why DynamoDB makes sense for applications big and small, and why we need more tools like Dynobase to make working with your data easier. Watch on YouTube.

How Vendia’s founders aim to leverage serverless and blockchain to solve data sprawl
As I said before, Tim Wagner and Shruthi Rao are a serverless force to be reckoned with. This is a good article (and video interview) that goes much deeper into their vision and what Vendia is capable of.

New from AWS 🆕

Amazon RDS Proxy is Generally Available
Amazon RDS Proxy, a fully managed, highly available database proxy for Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), is now generally available with MySQL and PostgreSQL compatibility. I think this is a good solution for those that need a better way to manage their connections from Lambda. Read more here

Amazon QuickSight now supports Lake Formation–protected Athena data sources
QuickSight users can now visualize their Lake Formation–protected Athena data, natively using the benefits that come with Lake Formation, including table and column-level access controls.

AWS AppSync introduces new 12xlarge instance for server-side API caching
AWS AppSync is a managed GraphQL service that simplifies application development by letting you create a flexible API to securely access, manipulate, and combine data from one or more data sources.

Amazon Elastic File System increases file system minimum throughput
Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) file systems using the default bursting throughput mode now have a minimum throughput of 1 MiB/s.

Amazon DocumentDB (with MongoDB compatibility) now supports T3 medium instances
Amazon DocumentDB (with MongoDB compatibility) is a fast, scalable, highly available, and fully managed document database service that supports MongoDB workloads. Amazon DocumentDB makes it easy and intuitive to store, query, and index JSON data. Amazon DocumentDB now supports t3.

Serverless Tools 🛠

DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) on the cloud with Pulumi
This is a nice write up about using Pulumi to build repeatable cloud deployments. If you’re not familiar with Pulumi, it’s like a CDK for all major cloud vendors.

serverless-ghost
Jeshan Babooa ported the Ghost project to Lambda, which should give you a way to run the blogging platform serverlessly. It is very early on and there are some expected issues, but it’s a good start.

Koyeb Serverless Data Processing Platform Early Access
I came across this article about a new tool for easily building serverless workflows. Looks really interesting.

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

So, I was going to write up a whole blog post about DynamoDB performance in Lambda with Deno. But ultimately the whole things can be represented by this picture. ~ Matthew Bonig
Click to see the picture, but it doesn’t take a thousand words to describe it. Deno is not ready for primetime with Lambda and DynamoDB.

Serverless Jobs 👩‍💻 Sponsored

Serverless Engineer – stedi.com
At Stedi, we’re working in one of the biggest markets on the planet – EDI, the technological backbone of the physical product economy. We’re building a next-generation platform: a ubiquitous commercial trading network to automate the trillions of dollars in B2B transactions exchanged by nearly every company on Earth. If you’re interested in what we’re building and how we’re building it, we’d love to hear from you.

Have a job listing you’d like to share? Please contact me for more information. 

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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.

July 9, 2020 – Debugging AWS Lambda Performance Issues

July 9, 2020 – Good Morning Serverless with Tom McLaughlin (I’ll be his guest)

July 30, 2020 – Building Intelligent Application Flows in the Cloud and On-premises with TriggerMesh (Webinar)

October 1-2, 2020 – ServerlessDays Hamburg 2019

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 Josh Carlisle (@joshcarlisle). Josh is a Senior Sales Engineer – Partner Channel for AppDynamics, and a Microsoft MVP (Azure). In his role at AppDynamics, Josh provides technical and sales enablement to strategic partners implementing AppDynamics on the Azure platform. Based in Raleigh, he’s active in the local serverless community, co-organizing and participating in meet-ups, user groups, and code camps. Josh has also spoken at conferences around the country, including ServerlessDays events in Austin, Nashville and Amsterdam. Thank you, Josh, for sharing your knowledge and passion! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

I mentioned in tweet that it’s getting harder and harder to narrow down all the amazing serverless posts that are being published every week. As you’ve probably noticed, this newsletter gets quite long, and I’m only including a fraction of the posts that I collect and review. I have a lot of ideas about how to make this better, so stay tuned for some upgrades to the Off-by-none experience coming soon.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the Serverless Reference Architectures Project and contribute your thoughts, ideas and patterns. The more examples, the better, so people can learn and experiment with the tools and languages they are comfortable with. #ServerlessForEveryone

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.

Take care,
Jeremy

P.S. 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.

Announcing the Serverless Reference Architectures Project

Serverless gives us the power to focus on delivering value to our customers without worrying about the maintenance and operations of the underlying compute resources. Cloud providers (like AWS), also give us a huge number of managed services that we can stitch together to create incredibly powerful, and massively scalable serverless microservices.

Almost 2 years ago now, I wrote a post on Serverless Microservice Patterns for AWS that became a popular reference for newbies and serverless veterans alike. The capabilities of serverless have changed dramatically since then, opening up a ton of new patterns and possibilities. Today I’m announcing the Serverless Reference Architectures Project. This project is intended to capture, share, explore, and debate the patterns and practices being used in serverless production applications today.

Continue Reading…

The Simple Web Service

A basic of pattern for creating a serverless API or web service. This example uses DynamoDB as the database because it scales nicely with the high concurrency capabilities of AWS Lambda.

Interactive Reference Architecture

Click on the components or numbered steps below to explore how this architecture works.

This is the most basic of patterns you’re likely to see with serverless applications. The Simple Web Service fronts a Lambda function with an API Gateway. I’ve shown DynamoDB as the database here because it scales nicely with the high concurrency capabilities of Lambda.

Deploy this Pattern

Below are the basic configurations for deploying this pattern using different frameworks and platforms. Additional configuration for your environment will be necessary. The source files and additional examples are available in the GitHub repo.

  • Are you a CDK Guru?
    Would you like to contribute patterns to the community?
    Check out the Github repo!

The Scalable Webhook

Simple pattern for handling high-velocity or unpredicatable workloads while mitigating downstream pressure.

Interactive Reference Architecture

Click on the components or numbered steps below to explore how this architecture works.

If you’re building a webhook, the traffic can often be unpredictable. This is fine for Lambda, but if you’re using a “less-scalable” backend like RDS, you might just run into some bottlenecks. There are ways to manage this, but because Lambda supports SQS triggers, we can throttle our workloads by queuing the requests and then using a throttled (low concurrency) Lambda function to work through our queue. Under most circumstances, your throughput should be near real-time. If there is some heavy load for a period of time, you might experience some small delays as the throttled Lambda chews through the messages.

You’ll also want to handle failed messages using a Dead Letter Queues (DLQ). The SQS Poller will adjust its polling frequency based on your Lambda function’s concurrency. You’ll need to configure your redrive policies to appropriately handle failed messages.

Deploy this Pattern

Below are the basic configurations for deploying this pattern using different frameworks and platforms. Additional configuration for your environment will be necessary. The source files and additional examples are available in the GitHub repo.

  • Are you a CDK Guru?
    Would you like to contribute patterns to the community?
    Check out the Github repo!

The Strangler Pattern

This pattern lets you route requests to your legacy APIs, while allowing you to direct specific routes to new serverless services as you add them.

Interactive Reference Architecture

Click on the components or numbered steps below to explore how this architecture works.

The Strangler is another popular pattern that lets you incrementally replace pieces of an application with new or updated services. Typically you would create some sort of a “Strangler Facade” to route your requests, but API Gateway can actually do this for us using “AWS Service Integrations” and “HTTP Integrations”. For example, an existing API (front-ended by an Elastic Load Balancer) can be routed through API Gateway using an “HTTP” integration. You can have all requests default to your legacy API, and then direct specific routes to new serverless service as you add them.

Deploy this Pattern

Below are the basic configurations for deploying this pattern using different frameworks and platforms. Additional configuration for your environment will be necessary. The source files and additional examples are available in the GitHub repo.

  • Are you a CDK Guru?
    Would you like to contribute patterns to the community?
    Check out the Github repo!

Off-by-none: Issue #96

Serverless, distributed, and vendor neutral applications… 🚀

Welcome to Issue #96 of Off-by-none. Thanks for being here!

Last week, we saw how EFS integration makes serverless even better, got a lesson in why serverless is for everyone, and looked at the internals of DynamoDB. This week, we learn how serverless applications can be truly vendor neutral, see how EFS finally makes serverless ML a reality, and we get a master class in building serverless applications for the experts at AWS. Plus, we have a plenty of great content from the serverless community.

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

Check out the TriggerMesh guide “What Every CIO Needs to Know about Serverless” for feature comparisons of major offerings and an introduction to basic concepts like cloud native and microservices. Use it to inform your peers / managers on serverless benefits and available options. Sponsored

Introducing Vendia Share
When Tim Wagner launches something new, it’s probably best that we all pay attention. His new project, Vendia, is now in preview and it looks like it could solve a lot of problems for a lot of people.

Announcing Redis as a Code! Lambda Store Terraform Provider
You can now create your serverless Redis using Terraform. IaC is a must have, so it’s good to see them moving in that direction.

State of Serverless 2020
Coding Sans is running a State of Serverless 2020 survey. It only takes about 8 minutes to fill out, so give it a look when you get a chance.

Fastly, Inc. (FSLY) announces extension of its platform’s observability features to its Compute@Edge serverless compute environment
Like I said last week… pay attention to Fastly. Lots of really cool stuff happening there.

Serverless Stories 📖

Building Firewatch Australia
Mike Leonard has a great series on how he built a serverless app using Cloudflare and GCP to help others navigate the Australian bushfires.

How Liberty Mutual’s Cloud Journey Led to Going Serverless
Great piece with Dave Anderson discussing how and why Liberty Mutual decided to move towards serverless. My favorite line in here is “Code is a liability. The less code we write the better.” Totally agree.

The Ultimate AWS Gotcha to watch out for when launching a product
Brian Foody spent some time trying to figure out why 2FA verification codes were no longer being sent to his users. After some digging, he figured out the problem had to do with AWS service availability based on regions. He offers some good learnings at the end, especially the bit about not feeling bad if you don’t understand all of AWS. I don’t think anyone does.

Serverless Use Cases 🗺

Why use AWS Lambda for Data Science?
Dave Parr explains why Data Science and AWS Lambda work well together, and even gives you a quick tutorial for building a “hello world” data science function.

Who Said That: A tweet guess game implemented with serverless stack on Netlify
No one ever said serverless use cases had to be boring, and as Sven Anderson shows us with his “Who Said That” game, serverless likely makes for a great tool for little one-offs like this. If your game goes viral, I wouldn’t want to be the one trying to scale that with EC2 instances.

AWS Automation: Narrowing security group rules
Ed Reinoso is using Lambda to automate closing all potential threatening rules that might jeopardize the security of his EC2 instances. And you can too.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Automated end-to-end observability for microservice environments
Epsagon enables full-depth observability of complex serverless and containerized architectures, delivering the automation needed to instantly identify, troubleshoot, and resolve issues before they affect production. Try free today. Sponsored

Managing backend requests and frontend notifications in serverless web apps
Another excellent post by James Beswick and an absolute MUST READ for anyone building applications with serverless backends. He walks you through moving from the common synchronous model to a much more resilient asynchronous one, and includes real-time communication just for good measure.

Can Lambda and RDS Play Nicely Together?
Serkan Özal explains possible problems that can occur when using RDS with Lambda, and offers some solutions and alternatives.

Lambda Cold Starts, why I don’t see the problem
Gert Leenders has some thoughts on cold starts and points out that it’s possible that Lambda might not be the solution to your problem.

Enterprise Serverless 🚀 (Series)
Lee James Gilmore put together an excellent series on Enterprise Serverless that covers tooling, architecture, AWS limits & limitations, and more. Plus there’s an awesome list of useful resources. 😉

6 Tips for Deploying AWS Serverless Node.js Applications to Production
Leroy Chan wrote an in depth article that offers a number of tips for building production-ready serverless applications along with a boilerplate template to get you going. I’m still 50/50 on the right use cases for Lambda Layers, but overall, I think this is a good set of tips.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

Interactive Slack bot using AWS Serverless
Simple walkthrough for setting up a Slack bot using AWS Lambda and API Gateway by Aswin Kumar Rajendran.

Automatic file splitting on S3 buckets at $0 cost
Cool trick by Dimitris Traskas that shows you how to use a Lambda function with a bash custom runtime to stream large files from S3, split them into smaller files, and push back to another S3 bucket.

Contact Forms with Netlify Serverless Functions
Building HTML forms is the worst, amiright? Luckily, services like Netlify have this functionality built in. Chris Held walks you through it.

How to Create Serverless Functions with OpenFaaS in 17 Steps
I like to sprinkle things in here for the k8s crowd every once in awhile, and I thought this was a good article to share. I’m not going through all these steps, but they are very well documented if you want to.

Building a Conversational AI Chatbot With AWS Lambda Function and Amazon EFS
EFS integration with AWS Lambda opened up quite a few new use cases, and Machine Learning is a big one. Yi Ai shows you how to use SageMaker exports to EFS to build a conversational chat bot with Lambda.

Serverless Reads 🤓

Automate code reviews and identify expensive lines of code with Amazon CodeGuru
Previously launched in Preview last re:Invent, Amazon CodeGuru is now generally available. CodeGuru uses machine learning to perform automated code reviews and recommend application optimizations. With CodeGuru, you can identify your most expensive lines of code and find and fix code issues such as resource leaks, potential concurrency race conditions, and wasted CPU cycles—faster and with less frustration. Sponsored

Using Microservice Patterns in an increasingly Serverless world
Craig Godden-Payne outlines three different patterns, ultimately landing on orchestration via Step Functions as a preferred solution. Step Functions certainly have their place, but I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the power and autonomy of an event-driven, asynchronous approach.

Serverless and the future of computing
Great write up by Erik Stadigh of the London Enterprise Tech Meetup. Lots of smart serverless people talking about what serverless means for companies and the cloud, and what it’s going to look like in the future.

Applying the Well-Architected Framework, Small Edition
Awesome post by Mark Nunnikhoven that explains why there are no silver bullets with cloud. Using the Well-Architected Framework to evaluate your project can help give you new perspective, which means you might actually choose the right tool for the job.

What problems does serverless solve?
Um, all of them? Slobodan Stojanović has a great piece that explains the value of serverless using Wardley Maps in the context of a small start up. Lots of insight in here in regards to what your startup should be spending their time on.

The three Fs of cloud pricing
Not particularly about serverless, but a worthwhile read nonetheless. I’ll be interested to see what David is working on that addresses some of these issues.

Podcasts, videos, and more… 🎧

Episode #55: Serverless PHP using Bref with Matthieu Napoli
In this episode, I chat with Matthieu Napoli about why PHP is still an important part of the web landscape, how Bref can help you make existing PHP workloads serverless, and whether or not PHP devs will embrace serverless design patterns. Watch on YouTube.

ICYMI: Serverless-First Function
Here are all the recordings and slides from the recent AWS Serverless-First Function event. Lots of great stuff in here!

The Cloudcast: Building a Next-Generation of Serverless
Tim Zonca talks about the next evolution of the serverless developer experience, the maturity of customer adoption, how much customers appreciate not having to manage infrastructure, and how to manage the journey to serverless.

Patterns and Practices for Building Resilient Serverless Applications
Excellent presentation by Yan Cui from a recent AWS Community Day that gives you a solid overview of how to build resilient serverless applications.

New from AWS 🆕

Find your most expensive lines of code and improve code quality with Amazon CodeGuru – now generally available
Amazon CodeGuru is a developer tool powered by machine learning that provides intelligent recommendations for improving code quality and identifying an applications’ most expensive lines of code. Read more.

Announcing Amazon Aurora Serverless with MySQL 5.7 compatibility
Amazon Aurora Serverless is now available with MySQL 5.7 compatibility. MySQL 5.7-compatible Aurora offers enhancements such as JSON support, spatial indexes, and generated columns, and is up to 5X faster than MySQL 5.7.

Amazon Rekognition Custom Labels now supports single object training
Amazon Rekognition Custom Labels is an automated machine learning (ML) feature that enables customers to quickly train their own custom models for detecting business-specific objects and scenes from images – no ML experience is required.

Amazon DocumentDB (with MongoDB compatibility) adds sixteen additional Amazon CloudWatch metrics for monitoring MongoDB opcounters, connections, cursors, operations on documents and index cache hits
For all of you that can’t let go of MongoDB.

Amazon Athena adds support for Partition Projection
Amazon Athena has added support for Partition Projection, a new functionality that you can use to speed up query processing of highly partitioned tables and automate partition management.

User management and other improvements added to Serverless Developer Portal
You can now manage users of the Amazon API Gateway Serverless Developer Portal directly from the portal’s admin interface.

Announcing Amazon Honeycode
Amazon Honeycode, which is available in beta, is a fully managed service that allows customers to quickly build powerful mobile and web applications – with no programming required. There have been some opinions on this. Read more.

Amplify Console adds support for automatically creating and deleting custom sub-domains for every branch deployment
Another very cool feature from the Amplify Console team.

Serverless Tools 🛠

Run Serverless Deno With Vercel
I’m a big fan of Deno and Vercel, and now you can use the new vercel-deno runtime to make it super easy to deploy serverless functions implemented using Deno.

SAMBER, a Full-Stack developer’s dream come true
SAM + Ember.js? 🤷‍♂️

Serverless Jobs 👩‍💻 Sponsored

Serverless Engineer – stedi.com
At Stedi, we’re working in one of the biggest markets on the planet – EDI, the technological backbone of the physical product economy. We’re building a next-generation platform: a ubiquitous commercial trading network to automate the trillions of dollars in B2B transactions exchanged by nearly every company on Earth. If you’re interested in what we’re building and how we’re building it, we’d love to hear from you.

Have a job listing you’d like to share? Please contact me for more information. 

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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.

July 6, 2020 – Serverless for Frontend Developers (Course)

October 1-2, 2020 – ServerlessDays Hamburg 2019

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 Sander van de Graaf (@svdgraaf). Sander is a Principal Solutions Architect at Ookla, the global leader in internet testing, data and analysis. Sander also is the owner of 42Unicorns, acting as architect, developer and advisor for several clients. Though he has more than 15 years of experience with building and deploying large scale applications, his most recent focus and roles have been in serverless solutions. Sander has written many pieces about serverless on his personal website, and he’s also been a prolific speaker across the globe. He’s presented at Serverless Conf in New York, participated in serverless meetups in his home country, the Netherlands, and spoken at other events like Python Rotterdam, PyAmsterdam, and eqNation about serverless. Thank you, Sander, for being a part of this great community! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

I recently launched the Serverless Chats Insiders program that allows listeners to submit questions for upcoming guests. If you’re a podcast listener (or you just want to see who my future guests are), then make sure you sign up. In addition to that, I have a lot of stuff in the pipeline that I hope to share soon. Stay tuned.

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.

Until next time,
Jeremy

P.S. 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.

Off-by-none: Issue #95

EFS + Lambda = Serverless for Everything? 🧮

Welcome to Issue #95 of Off-by-none. Thanks for being here!

Last week, we learned why now is the time to go serverless, saw how to build our own Chaos Monkey, and celebrated a year of Serverless Chats. This week, we see how EFS integration makes serverless even better, we get a lesson in why serverless is for everyone, and take a look at the internals of DynamoDB. Plus, we have a ton of awesome posts from the serverless community.

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

What Every CIO Needs to Know about Serverless
This TriggerMesh guide includes feature comparisons of major offerings and an introduction to foundational concepts like cloud native and microservices. Please check it out! We hope it can help inform your peers and managers on serverless benefits and available options. Sponsored

Salesforce introduces several new developer tools including serverless functions
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I really like how SaaS companies are empowering their users by giving them access to compute in their environments. So many interesting things that you can do, including maybe even just triggering a data export to your main application.

Fastly Achieves 100 Tbps of Edge Capacity Milestone
Pay attention to Fastly. The edge market is going to become more and more important for building cloud/serverless applications, and I think Fastly is positioning themselves nicely.

Announcing Epsagon’s Applied Observability for Azure and K8s
I’ve always been a big fan of Epsagon, and they continue to smartly expand their offerings. Getting into Azure and (cough) Kubernetes, is another good strategic move.

New Updates on Webiny 4.1.0
After the recent launch of the Serverless Headless CMS, the team over at Webiny is continuing to churn out new features and capabilities.

Datadog now supports Amazon EFS for AWS Lambda on Amazon Web Services
I think EFS integration with Lambda is going to be huge, so Datadog jumping on this right away is good to see.

AWS Adds EFS to Lambda… 😲

Last week (just after we published the newsletter 🤨) AWS released a Shared File System for Your Lambda Functions, that is, integration with Elastic File System (EFS). This is a very big deal and I think it opens up a lot of new use case for serverless (including machine learning). There were several well written pieces on the subject, so I’ve included some of my favorites below:

Migrating Image Memorability service to AWS Lambda using a shared Elastic File System volume
Excellent post by Luca Bianchi that shows you just how powerful (and cost effective) the new EFS integration with Lambda can be. This is also an excellent example of why rethinking your architecture to optimize for the final result is so important. The individual image processing times may have increased, but the parallelization significantly reduced the total job time.

Using Amazon EFS for AWS Lambda in your serverless applications
I loved this piece by James Beswick because it outlined some sample applications that you could build with EFS integration. It’s important to note that he shows “asynchronous” operations, not real-time synchronous ones that could suffer from EFS latency.

And here are a bunch more that are worth digging into:

Serverless Stories 📖

Multi-Region Lambda with Route53
Dre May documents the experience of setting up a multi-region Lambda deployment using the AWS CDK. All the code is provided, but the article is a great read for understanding where you might run into rough edges, and how to deal with them.

Cloud-Native Development just clicked for me
Great perspective from Pablo Bermejo about why companies need to build cloud-native instead of trying to achieve some level of cloud/on-prem agnosticism.

My Experience with the Cloud Resume Challenge
Good on Forrest Brazeal for creating the Cloud Resume Challenge. I’ve see lots of people really pushing themselves to complete it and creating excellent posts of their journey, like this one by Will Boland.

Serverless Use Cases 🗺

Automated end-to-end observability for microservice environments
Epsagon enables full-depth observability of complex serverless and containerized architectures, delivering the automation needed to instantly identify, troubleshoot, and resolve issues before they affect production. Try free today. Sponsored

Implementing geohashing at scale in serverless web applications
Using location data within your mobile (or even web-based) applications is becoming more and more common. James Beswick outlines how using serverless tools like DynamoDB and IoT Core can make building and scaling these types of applications super easy.

Building a Github Webhook handler using AWS SAM
Straightforward use case by Sourabh Mokhasi. I’d think about using EventBridge instead of SNS (you’d get more targets that way), and if your target is another Lambda function, SQS might make more sense for better buffering and greater insight into the queue.

Serverless GraphQL server on AWS Lambda
This is a little bit use case, and a lot tutorial. John Dousaitis shows you how to set up an Apollo GraphQL “server” on AWS Lambda.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Internals of DynamoDB
Excellent writeup by Udit Sharma that explains how the different parts of DynamoDB work in order to ensure high availability and scalability in your applications.

Using API Gateway to Decouple and Scale Serverless Architectures
Renato Byrro offers some thoughts into using API Gateway as an abstraction layer to other AWS services. I think there are a lot of interesting use cases for service integrations, but I’m not sure I fully agree with this implementation.

How to choose the right API Gateway auth method
Yan Cui gives you a handy guide to help you choose the appropriate API Gateway authorization method. There are a lot of options, including using direct integrations to third-party provides with JWT, but if you’ve got no idea where to start, this should point you in the right direction.

All you need to know about SQS and Kinesis is Here
Edward Huang gives you a breakdown of Kinesis and SQS and outlines some of the benefits and drawbacks of each.

How to test serverless workflows?
Joel Lutman explains why implementing regression tests in serverless applications are important, what advantages they have over unit and integration tests, and how to set your system up to automate them.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

COURSE: Serverless for Frontend Devs in 4 weeks 🎓
Use code OFFBYNONE_JUNE for 10% off
Learn from AWS Serverless Heroes Slobodan Stojanovic & Alex Simovic. ~5hrs/week starting July 6th. You’ll learn to set up and secure Amplify & React using Cognito, connect GraphQL, manage permissions, use AppSync, test your code, and much more. Homeschool by Senzo is a virtual classroom giving you live chat with your classmates, weekly instructor Q&A + perpetual access to course materials. £/$400, €440. Sponsored

How to connect to MongoDB cluster from AWS Lambda?
Simran Kaur Kahlon shows you how to use host aliases when connecting to a MongoDB cluster from AWS Lambda. Seems like a straightforward solution.

Serverless database computing with Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Functions
Gwyneth Pena shows you how to set up an Azure Cosmos DB and then utilize it from Azure Functions using input and output bindings.

Jamstack and the power of serverless with FaunaDB
And incredibly in depth tutorial by Richard Haines that walks you through creating a Jamstack website powered by Gatsby, Netlify Functions, Apollo and FaunaDB. There’s the opportunity to swap in some of your favorites tools here, but this will give you a very good overview of how Jamstack sites are built.

Coordinate Complex Workflows with Step Functions
Serkan Özal gives you some tips on the when, why and how of Step Functions, and then shows you how to build a state machine that loads images from S3 and runs them through Rekognition.

A Basic CI/CD Pipeline for Serverless Apps
Emily Shea has a great tutorial that shows you how to implement a basic CI/CD pipeline using the AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM), GitHub, and CircleCI.

Serverless Reads 🤓

Serverless is for Everyone!
Another excellent read by Sheen Brisals that debunks a few common misconceptions about serverless, explains why adoption faces challenges from ingrained thinking, and offers a list of resources to help you get started on your serverless journey.

Why Do You Need a Backend?
I have been fascinated lately with the possibilities of the Jamstack, and seeing what’s available to frontend developers. Kay Plößer has another good post that asks the question, and then answers, why you do (or don’t) need a backend for your applications.

Serverless Adoption Survey — The numbers so far
Paul Swail started a research project into the gains and pains development teams encounter when adopting serverless in AWS. He’s got some interesting preliminary numbers to share with you.

How to write less code in your serverless application with declarative cloud functions
Never mind functions calling functions, what about functions creating functions? Shams Mosowi illustrates a pattern that uses generator functions to enforce consistent data flows. It’s an interesting approach, but as he points out, there are some drawbacks.

Podcasts and Videos… 🎧

Serverless Chats – Episode #54: Coordinating Cloud Engineers and Serverless Developers with Joe Duffy
In this episode, I chat with Joe Duffy about the biggest challenges for teams working in the cloud, how infrastructure-as-code (IaC) helps teams collaborate better, the distinction between serverless developers and cloud engineers, and a lot more. Watch on YouTube.

Observability and Monitoring in Serverless Applications
Marcia Villalba is joined by Danilo Poccia to discuss the new launches and functionality in Amazon CloudWatch and how you can use them observing serverless applications.

New from AWS 🆕

AWS Amplify Console now supports deploying and hosting web apps managed in monorepos
I was just looking for this a week or two ago, so they must have heard me. 😉 This is an awesome feature that allows you to specify a subdirectory in your repo and it will only detect and kick off builds if changes are made to that directory.

Introducing AWS Solutions Constructs
If you are building with the AWS CDK, things just got easier. There are over 20 pre-built, multi-service architecture patterns that allow you to quickly assemble well-architected applications. Read more here.

Amazon Polly launches a child US English NTTS Voice
Probably strange if you have a ten year old’s voice read you the latest technical blog post, but could be a great feature for applications that are geared towards children.

Introducing Multi-Region Application Architecture
More AWS Solutions to help you build better applications. This solution leverages Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) Cross-Region replication and Amazon DynamoDB Global Tables to asynchronously replicate application data between the primary and secondary AWS Region.

Amazon SQS now provides results for the “List Queues” and “List Dead Letter Source Queues” requests in multiple pages
Probably not the most exciting announcement, but if you have a complex system with lots of queues and DLQs, having paginated access to them through an API can be very useful.

Introducing AWS Snowcone – A Small, Lightweight, Rugged, Secure Edge Computing, Edge Storage, and Data Transfer Device
This thing is pretty cool. I don’t have any immediate uses for it, but I can see some really good use cases, especially if you need to get massive amounts of data in and out of the cloud.

Amazon Aurora Global Database supports read replica write forwarding
If you’re still using RDBMS over DynamoDB and want to utilize global replications, Aurora Global Database is a good option. With this latest update, you can now simplify your application code and simply direct writes to the local region’s cluster. It will automatically forward the write requests back to the primary region.

Amazon SES can now send notifications when the delivery of an email is delayed
This is a cool feature, especially if your application has strict time requirements for email delivery. This would make it possible to use a secondary contact method if a valid email address has temporary issues.

Amazon API Gateway allows subprotocols on a WebSocket API connection
I remember this being a big problem if you didn’t necessary control the client, so now having support for subprotocols is a nice add-on.

New on Coursera: Digital course on building Amazon DynamoDB-friendly apps
If you’re looking to level up your DynamoDB game, this looks like a good course to check out. It says you can register for free, but there’s also something about paying for a certificate. Probably worth looking into.

Serverless Tools 🛠

cmda
cmda (think: commander) is a CLI tool by Michael Hart that can execute remote commands, including uploading local files/directories, to an AWS Lambda function. Along with EFS for Lambda, this makes it an easy tool to move files to/from an EFS file system that you might use with your other Lambda functions.

Serverless Jobs 👩‍💻 Sponsored

Serverless Engineer – stedi.com
At Stedi, we’re working in one of the biggest markets on the planet – EDI, the technological backbone of the physical product economy. We’re building a next-generation platform: a ubiquitous commercial trading network to automate the trillions of dollars in B2B transactions exchanged by nearly every company on Earth. If you’re interested in what we’re building and how we’re building it, we’d love to hear from you.

Have a job listing you’d like to share? Please contact me for more information. 

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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.

June 24, 2020 – Serverless Security Strategies: Under the Hood (AWS Fireside Chat)

June 26, 2020 – AWS Serverless Community Day

July 6, 2020 – Serverless for Frontend Developers (Course)

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 Dr. Denis Bauer (@allPowerde). Denis is the Group Lead at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and she’s been doing some pretty amazing things with serverless. As an internationally-recognized expert in machine learning, Denis leads the team at CSIRO in using AWS infrastructure to process genomic data to unlock secrets in human DNA, and using serverless architecture to build a web service that identifies the optimal genome engineering sites. She has developed an open-source, AI-based cloud service that accelerates disease research. Thank you, Denis, for your research and work, and contribution to both science and technology! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

I’m really excited about this new EFS integration with Lambda. I’ve run a few experiments and had similar results to others in regards to performance. And even though we’re not getting mounted drive speeds, it is still fast enough to process most background tasks that require large file access patterns. It might not be perfect yet, but the ability to have shared access to a massive file system directly from your Lambda function is pretty darn amazing. If you build anything really cool with it, please let me know.

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.

Take Care,
Jeremy

P.S. 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.

Off-by-none: Issue #94

A Year of Serverless Chats… 🎉

Welcome to Issue #94 of Off-by-none. Thanks for being here!

Last week, we got a new serverless headless CMS, learned about the next generation of the LAMP stack, and asked, “Do you really need Kubernetes?” This week, we find out why now is the time to go serverless, learn how to build our own Chaos Monkey, and celebrate a year of Serverless Chats. Plus, we have plenty of amazing posts from the serverless community.

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

What Every CIO Needs to Know about Serverless
This TriggerMesh guide includes feature comparisons of major offerings and an introduction to foundational concepts like cloud native and microservices. Please check it out! We hope it can help inform your peers and managers on serverless benefits and available options. Sponsored

Check Point Software Launches CloudGuard Cloud Native Security, Delivering Complete Protection for Any Cloud and Workload
Check Point (who acquired our friends at Protego a while back), has launched their new security platform. The Protego platform was very cool, so I have a feeling this will incorporate the best parts of it.

Epsagon Achieves AWS Container Competency Status
Congrats to the team over at Epsagon for achieving this. I’ve always been a big fan of what Epsagon does, so whether you’re serverless, container-based, or running on VMs, Epsagon’s got your covered.

Want To Contribute To An Upcoming Book?
If you’d like to share your knowledge of the cloud and get published at the same time, O’Reilly Media is looking for essays on a number of topics. I’m looking forward to reading this once it comes out.

Serverless Stories 📖

What you need to know to build a serverless communication system
Garrett Vargas explains how his company built a serverless email system that handles the often overlooked concept of idempotency. He also provides some code snippets to help you implement this for yourself.

Recreational Programming with Serverless
Mathias Lafeldt repurposed his AWS Community Talk into an excellent blog post that (a) is critical of Kubernetes, and (b) points out why serverless is such a useful tool for building in the cloud without distraction.

Real-time Thumbnail Generation in a (mostly) Serverless AWS Architecture
Excellent writeup by Luca Tiozzo that recounts how they built their thumbnail generation tool and the improvements and upgrades made over the years. One of the very cool features he mentions is auto-cropping using subject faces to determine the crop position. This is a common technique, and actually quite easy to implement with some of the built-in cloud services.

Serverless Use Cases 🗺

Automated end-to-end observability for microservice environments
Epsagon enables full-depth observability of complex serverless and containerized architectures, delivering the automation needed to instantly identify, troubleshoot, and resolve issues before they affect production. Try free today. Sponsored

Planning on using AWS Step Functions? Think again
Bassem Dghaidi outlines a few use cases for AWS Step Functions and gives you the pros and cons of each. I really like Step Functions, but as Bassem points out, knowing when to use them is more important than the how.

Automatically creating contacts & deals in Hubspot using Netlify Functions
Besides using serverless to handle simple backend workflows (like calling the HubSpot API), integrating it as part of your mostly static sites is just an all around perfect use case.

Searching the Clouds for Serverless GPU
Jorrit Sandbrink built a side project that needs TensorFlow and GPUs to run efficiently, but after some research, realized that this is still one of those use cases that serverless isn’t great at addressing.

Start/Stop AWS-EC2 Instances using AWS IoT Button & AWS Lambda
I love this use case! Sure, maybe shutting down an EC2 instance isn’t the best use of an IoT Button, but just the fact that you can do it is pretty great.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Building well-architected serverless applications: Approaching application lifecycle management – part 1
Julian Wood continues his series on using the Serverless Lens of the Well-Architected framework to build using best practices. In this post, he shows you how to approach application lifecycle management using infrastructure as code and stages to isolate environments.

Structuring Serverless Projects
Nick Holbrook has a good post on how to structure Serverless Framework projects. I think his approach (at least for monorepos) has become widely adopted, so for smaller projects, this is a good starting point. I’ve become a big fan of putting function configuration YAML files right next to the function code. This makes merging and code reviews much easier.

Cloudflare Workers KV Introduction
Kay Plößer has a follow up post that provides a helpful introduction to Cloudflare Workers KV. Lots of detail in here including some code to help you get started.

Node.js Serverless AWS Lambda Function: How to cache MongoDB connection and reuse it between function calls?
If you’re still using MongoDB in your serverless applications, then this post by João Marins will give you the details on how to manage your connections from Lambda functions.

Migrating Serverless Architecture from AWS to GCP
Interesting post by Andrey Zaikin that explains the process for migrating a serverless app from AWS to GCP. There is a lot of complexity when doing this, but I’m still guessing it takes less time than building an app that’s “cloud agnostic”. I also think the likelihood of needing to move is going to be very small.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

COURSE: Testing Serverless Apps using Hexagonal Architecture in 2 weeks 👩‍🏫
Testing serverless apps isn’t as difficult as you might think. Over 2 weeks, learn which approach to take, how to prepare your app for testing, and how to write tests without sacrificing speed or agility. Taught by AWS Serverless Heroes Slobodan Stojanović and Aleksandar Simovic, on the Homeschool by Senzo platform. Register now and get 10% off  Sponsored

Introducing the serverless LAMP stack – part 2 relational databases
Benjamin Smith goes deeper into the new (L)ambda (A)PI Gateway (M)ySQL (P)HP stack with a run down on how to deploy your PHP Lambda functions with VPC access and how to use RDS Proxy to mitigate connection exhaustion issues.

8 simple steps to add a serverless back end to a Vue.js project
I’ve never actually used WarpJS, but this post from Dominique Péré shows you how simple it is for front-end developers to easily publish serverless functions.

Building a location-based, scalable, serverless web app – Part 2 & Part 3
In parts 2 and 3 of James Beswick’s series, he explains the API Gateway setup, geohashing implementation, backend processing, and data aggregation. This is an excellent series for anyone looking for a comprehensive tutorial for building serverless applications.

Creating your own Chaos Monkey with AWS Systems Manager Automation
I truly appreciate all the work that Adrian Hornsby has done in the chaos engineering space, and this new post is a great primer (and tutorial) that will show you how chaos engineering can be applied to your organization to help build more resilient systems.

Serverless Reads 🤓

Why Now Is The Time To Go Serverless
Great post by Romi Stein that points out a number of reasons why companies shouldn’t be waiting any longer to adopt serverless. One of the great points he makes has to do with rapidly changing customer behavior. We live in a world where everything from memes to new apps can become global in minutes. 99.999% of the time, designing and provisioning systems for that is completely pointless. But with serverless (if done right), it’s not a choice that needs to be made.

It’s The End Of Infrastructure-As-A-Service As We Know It: Here’s What’s Next
Another helpful (and accurate) piece from the Forbes Technology Council on serverless and cloud computing. Lots of good points in this article, and probably a good one to forward to your stubborn manager. 😉

The CTO’s Guide to Serverless Computing
Then there are articles like this. I think most of the information and advice is sound, but recommendations like “CTOs should focus on ‘greenfield’ use cases for serverless functions” are just plain wrong. My recommendation would be that CTOs focus on reducing operational complexity and work on migrating components that require too much undifferentiated heaving lifting from your teams.

Cloud Computing: Technology Trends
Here’s a random article that I came across that summarizes some of the current trends in cloud computing. Not a ton of surprises here, but there seems to be strong support for serverless (to reduce DevOps overhead), interest in edge computing, and a renewed interest in microservices with serverless at the forefront.

New Report Shows “Overwhelming” Cloud Usage
We covered the Cloud Adoption in 2020 report a few weeks ago, but this analysis made the point that “a surprising number of respondents expressed little interest in [the serverless] paradigm.” I’m really curious why that is.

Will Amazon Managed Apache Cassandra Service Replace DynamoDB?
Interesting perspective from Serkan Özal here about why Managed Cassandra is better than DynamoDB. I’m not sure I’m in that camp, but I’d be happy to hear your perspective.

The compounding returns of Serverless
Even though this post by Brian Foody is short, it says a heckuva lot. Serverless applications might not be completely “set it and forget it”, but my experience and perspective is similar to his. Solving the same problems gets us nowhere, but being able to focus mostly on customer value (even if it’s just by a team of one), will always be a winning strategy.

Videos, podcasts, and more… 📽

Serverless Chats – Episode #53: A Year of Serverless Chats
In this special episode, we look back at the first year of Serverless Chats. Thank you to all my guests and to all of you for listening! We have some exciting new announcements coming soon, so stay tuned.

DynamoDB The Database of Choice for Serverless Applications with Alex DeBrie
Alex DeBrie joins Corey Quinn on the latest episode of Screaming in the Cloud to discuss why he wrote his book, what to thinking about when trying to scale your data in the cloud, and a whole lot more.

How to Design Serverless Event-Driven Applications (with the help of Amazon EventBridge)
In this video, James Beswick joins Marcia Villalba to discuss how to design serverless event-driven applications using Amazon EventBridge.

New from AWS 🆕

Amazon CloudFront enables configurable origin connection attempts and origin connection timeouts
This is a hugely important feature that gives you more control over origin failover with CloudFront. You can now configure the number of connection attempts, the connection timeout, and the origin response timeout.

Alexa for Business now available on Lifesize Icon meeting room systems
So maybe not a highly relevant announcement for most of us, but I’m a big believer that voice interfaces are going to become widely adopted for business applications. I did an entire Serverless Chats episode on this, because serverless plays a big part.

Improve productivity with interactive SQL tools in Amazon Elasticsearch Service
I’ll say this again, if we could only make this serverless! I don’t know if you’ve ever written queries for Elasticsearch, but it is always a painstaking adventure. Looking forward to trying this out.

Updated digital course: Architecting Serverless Solutions
This free course has now added hands-on learning with optional labs where you can learn how to build a serverless application as well as how to deal with failure management, performance testing, auditing, and updating applications without downtime.

AWS Shield Advanced now supports proactive response to events
Probably not something your average start up is going to use (or be able to afford), but this new service actually makes a lot of sense for critical workloads.

Introducing AWS CodeArtifact: A fully managed software artifact repository service
This is a very cool new service from AWS. Managing and maintaining code artifacts is a pain, but this new service gives you a ton of great features for auditing, securing, and managing your packages. Read more here.

Serverless Tools 🛠

The Teal Programming Language
Run stateful Python business logic on AWS Lambda without managing infrastructure. According to the documentation, it’s like Step Functions, “but is cheaper (pay only for the Lambda invocations and process data), and way easier to program and test.” 🤷‍♂️

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

TIL that all of HN runs on a *single* machine with one backup – As much as you’ll see me comment about serverless, you will never see me put down serverful development. it is still super early days and the tooling and metalanguage needed is still in flux. ~ Shawn Wang
I liked this post by Shawn because it’s important to remember that one-size almost never fits all. I think (once you become comfortable with the paradigm) that serverless can add a tremendous amount of operational efficiency to companies large and small, but it’s not a silver bullet (yet).

An interesting consequence of the “serverless is expensive” myth is that engineers are more eager to calculate the cost of app/service that they plan to build. And in most cases (of course, depending on the scale), they are surprised how cheap it is. ~ Maciej Winnicki
Good points in this thread by Maciej. There are comments about the cost of NAT Gateways being something that disproportionately affect your costs, which is why I try to avoid VPCs for Lambdas that need outbound Internet access.

Serverless Jobs 👩‍💻 Sponsored

Serverless Engineer – stedi.com
At Stedi, we’re working in one of the biggest markets on the planet – EDI, the technological backbone of the physical product economy. We’re building a next-generation platform: a ubiquitous commercial trading network to automate the trillions of dollars in B2B transactions exchanged by nearly every company on Earth. If you’re interested in what we’re building and how we’re building it, we’d love to hear from you.

Have a job listing you’d like to share? Please contact me for more information. 

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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.

June 22, 2020 – Testing Serverless Apps using Hexagonal Architecture (Course)

June 24, 2020 – Serverless Security Strategies: Under the Hood (AWS Fireside Chat)

June 26, 2020 – AWS Serverless Community Day

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 Murali Allada (@amuralis). Murali is a Consultant who helps his clients build serverless applications, as well as critical infrastructure and platforms in the cloud. Murali was previously a Principal Software Engineer at Ixia where he worked on their CloudLens platform, which was designed using a completely serverless architecture. Prior to these roles, Murali worked on open source software at Rackspace and cloud-based platforms at Microsoft. He’s also written pieces on serverless, DynamoDB, and AWS. Thank you, Murali, for being a part of this serverless movement! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

If you’re still looking for ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement, AWS Serverless Hero coordinator (and amazing human being), Rebecca Marshburn, is currently accepting donations from non-Amazonians and applying them to Amazon’s Matching policy for organizations that support Black equity. If you’d like to have your donations’ impact doubled, you can Venmo her at Rebecca-Marshburn-1 and include your email address in the notes section. She’ll email you a receipt of your donation’s match! Get your donation in before July 6th!

We’re always looking for ideas and feedback to make the newsletter better and more inclusive, so please feel free to reach out to me via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or email.

Until next week,
Jeremy

P.S. 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.

Off-by-none: Issue #93

The new Serverless LAMP Stack… 💡

Welcome to Issue #93 of Off-by-none. Thanks for joining us!

Last week, we met new serverless heroes, Step Functions got some attention, and GCP jumped on the Java train. This week, we get a new headless (and serverless) CMS, we learn why LAMP is nixing Linux and Apache, and ask the age old question, “Do you really need Kubernetes?” Plus, we have some awesome posts from the serverless community.

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

Webinar: How to Use Knative to Build Event-Driven Application Flows
Join Sebastien Goasguen, TriggerMesh co-founder, Kubeless creator, and author of the Kubernetes Cookbook for a live webinar on June 11. Sebastien will demo how the Knative API and TriggerMesh let you trigger functions on any cloud with a single mechanism and cap your EventBridge costs. Learn more and register here. Sponsored

Launching Serverless Headless CMS by Webiny
I’ve been waiting for this to come out for awhile, and now Sven Al Hamad and his team at Webiny have finally released the first, completely serverless, headless CMS. Very cool stuff.

Serverless Azure Functions V2 – Linux, Python & .NET Core Support
The official v2 release of the Serverless Azure Functions plugin for the Serverless Framework is here. This version includes some new features that’ll simplify your development experience and enable you to do more with Azure Functions.

Introducing Swift AWS Lambda Runtime
This is quite interesting for all you Swift developers out there. Now you can extend your skills to the cloud with the new Swift AWS Lambda Runtime.

KNIX
Nokia Bell Labs have released a new serverless platform that runs on Knative, virtual machines, or bare metal and is compatible with AWS Lambda and Step Functions. I haven’t had a chance to dig in to this yet, but it looks really interesting.

Serverless Stories 📖

My First Foray into Serverless with AWS
I like reading articles that recount the thought process and challenges faced when building a serverless application. I think articles like this are important for product managers to understand where the rough edges are, and find better ways to bring more people into the fold.

Event Driven Architectures With EventBridge
Gavin Cornwell has a short follow up to his previous article about using Step Functions to automate customer trials. He highlights some of the main benefits of using event-driven architectures and explains the success he’s had with this approach and the flexibility it provides his team.

How we helped Norway’s number one travel curator boost its sales by 60% with AWS
There are a lot of stories like this out there, and if you have one, please share it with me. Serverless is enabling lots of development companies to build high-value solutions much faster. Plus, the overhead of maintaining them is significantly lower as well.

Poor AWS Architectural choices
Brian Foody says he made a bad choice when choosing Sydney as the central region for his global serverless infrastructure. But thanks to serverless and IaC, it was a simple fix.

Serverless Use Cases 🗺

Programmatically Schedule Tasks using AWS CloudWatch and Lambdas Serverless
Here’s an article by Omair Nabiel that shows you how to implement a serverless crontab (one of the most useful serverless use cases, even if the rest of your stack isn’t serverless), using the AWS SDK.

Why Serverless Architecture Will Be The Future Of Business Computing?
Here’s a good article by Adem Zeina that gives a good overview of serverless, the main platforms, and the types of use case for it. I’m not sure it answers why it will be the future of business computing, but it’s easy enough to infer.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Introducing the new Serverless LAMP stack
I don’t use PHP anymore, but when I switched from PERL/CGI in the late 90s to the LAMP stack, it became my default until the early 2010s, and it served me very well. Most of the web was built on PHP, and it still remains incredibly popular. But now, PHP developers no longer need to worry as much about the underlying infrastructure, the just need to replace the “LA” in LAMP with “Lambda” and “API Gateway”.

Cloudflare Workers Introduction
Kay Plößer, along with his sweet mohawk, wrote a really helpful intro to Cloudflare Workers, including how they’re different than Lambda, what you can use them for, and even provided a sample application.

Going serverless with PHP
Another post that talks about the current state of PHP in serverless as well as the authors perceived pros and cons of a serverless approach.

Cost-Efficient Ways to Run DynamoDB Tables
Renato Byrro gives you some options for cutting costs with DynamoDB if your On-Demand workloads start to get expensive (like 7x more expensive than provisioned). I’m a big fan of the load leveling with a queue approach, for multiple reasons.

The Ultimate Guide to Serverless Monitoring Platforms
This is a helpful chart from the team at Dashbird that compares the most popular serverless observability tools. It is well done, and objective, and I love the spirit behind this line, “They are all amazing services with outstanding teams behind them and we’re proud to be in this market alongside them.”

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

Automated end-to-end observability for microservice environments
Epsagon enables full-depth observability of complex serverless and containerized architectures, delivering the automation needed to instantly identify, troubleshoot, and resolve issues before they affect production. Try free today. Sponsored

AWS CDK: DevOps for developers
Sachin Gill gives you an introduction into the AWS CDK along with an example to deploy a sample applications.

Set Up Your Serverless Project With TypeScript, Ready to Deploy to AWS
Sébastien Poyer has an excellent tutorial that walks you through a boilerplate set up for a serverless project with TypeScript. This includes everything you need for webpack configs, linting, AWS credential setup, and deployment.

Consider DynamoDB for your next project
Filipe Pinheiro has an excellent post that shows you how to model a simple application using a single DynamoDB table. Lots of good strategies in here and some good explanations that will help beginners and advanced users alike.

Hacker News with Serverless Stack
This is a good tutorial (and savvy marketing) that shows you how to build a Hacker News clone using AWS API Gateway and Lambda with Lambda.Store as the database.

How To Create An AWS SQS Queue With Serverless
Quick and simple tutorial by Phil Andrews. He has some other posts like this as well, which assumes basic knowledge of a topic and just gets right to the point. I like that style and I hope he does more of them.

Serverless Security 🔒

Security Best Practices for Serverless Applications on AWS
Anthony DiMarco has some recommendations for securing your serverless applications within the AWS ecosystem. The advice in here is straightforward and practical, and will help you add another layer of protection to an already highly secure environment.

12 Biggest Cloud Threats And Vulnerabilities In 2020
This article makes a few good points, but the one I’ve been thinking about more lately is how willingly people are copying templates from others without taking the time to understand exactly what they do. Cloudformation and other DSLs can get complex very quickly, and perhaps cloud providers need to address the need for all these shortcuts in the first place.

Serverless Reads 🤓

Do you really need Kubernetes?
I’ve got nothing against Kubernetes (okay, maybe a little), but Emrah Samdam does a great job of explaining the differences between Kubernetes and alternative approaches for a couple of popular use cases. In the end, Kubernetes might be the right choice for your organization, but it’s worth examining that choice before you commit to the endeavor.

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Going Serverless
Dmytro Khmelenko had a short, but very popular article that calls out the three most fundamental serverless services in the AWS arsenal that satisfy a lot of use cases.

Blockchain is the Ultimate Serverless Platform
Interesting thought process by Michael Juntao Yuan here. I would agree that distributed computing through blockchains could be useful, but Ethereum is painfully slow and the complexity of those “functions” is very minimal. Perhaps the improvements with WebAssembly might make a difference, but until the performance comes anywhere close to FaaS, blockchain will likely not be part of the conversation.

Debiasing your software architecture decisions
This is an interesting topic covered by Paul Swail. I often find myself defaulting to technical choices that I perceive as “easy” because that is the way I’m comfortable with doing them, even if a small bit of learning would help me understand potentially better ways to achieve something. I’ve been investing a lot of time in learning lately, and it can actually be refreshing to realize how much you don’t know.

For the commuter… 🚎

Episode #52: The Past, Present, and Future of Serverless with Tim Wagner
In this episode, I chat with Tim Wagner about the history behind AWS Lambda, why the stateless versus stateful debate rages on, how to use serverless as a supercomputer, what innovations are still needed, and so much more. Watch on YouTube.

Code examples from sessions at AWS re:invent 2019
Tim Packwood compiled a list of some AWS re:Invent sessions (remember in-person conferences?) along with links to their accompanying code samples. There are a few good serverless ones in here.

New from AWS 🆕

Announcing Cross-Cluster Search support for Amazon Elasticsearch Service
While I’d still like to see a serverless alternative, this is a pretty cool feature. If you have multiple ES clusters because you’re managing different workloads (like search index versus analytics), now you can keep these clusters separate, but search across them and aggregate the results.

Amazon Redshift now supports writing to external tables in Amazon S3
Lots of workloads are running on Redshift, so being able to export (and append to) external tables is a powerful feature for integrating more serverless tools like Athena on top of it.

CloudWatch Application Insights now supports MySQL, Amazon DynamoDB, custom logs, and more
Now you can configure monitors for DynamoDB on CloudWatch and detect common errors such as slow queries, transaction conflicts, and replication latency.

Real-time anomaly detection support in Amazon Elasticsearch Service
Amazon Elasticsearch Service now offers anomaly detection, which uses machine learning to detect anomalies on real-time streaming data and identifies issues as they evolve so you can mitigate them immediately. Interesting.

Tighten S3 permissions for your IAM users and roles using access history of S3 actions
This is a nice new feature: “This granular access information helps you analyze access, identify unused S3 actions, and remove them confidently.”

Serverless Tools 🛠

s3-selectable – S3 Select over a Glue Table
Here’s an interesting tool if you need to use S3 select over Glue tables that can point to hundreds of different S3 Objects in separate Hive Partitions and Hive Buckets. Very cool stuff.

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

Deno moving internals away from TypeScript is an interesting read. Internal advocates finding Ry isn’t convinced by the marketing lines in actual practice. ~ Brian Leroux
Great thread by Brian Leroux here that talks about the issues Deno is having with implementing TypeScript natively. There seems to be lots of problems that might just not be worth the effort.

Serverless Jobs 👩‍💻 Sponsored

Serverless Engineer – stedi.com
At Stedi, we’re working in one of the biggest markets on the planet – EDI, the technological backbone of the physical product economy. We’re building a next-generation platform: a ubiquitous commercial trading network to automate the trillions of dollars in B2B transactions exchanged by nearly every company on Earth. If you’re interested in what we’re building and how we’re building it, we’d love to hear from you.

Have a job listing you’d like to share? Please contact me for more information. 

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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.

June 10, 2020 – Nordic Serverless – Serverless Developer Experience

June 10 & 11, 2020 – AWS Virtual Amplify Days

June 11, 2020 – How to Use Knative to Build Event-Driven Application Flows

June 26, 2020 – AWS Serverless Community Day

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 Zamira Jaupaj (@zamirajaupaj). Zamira is a Solution Architect at Mobiquity, leading the cloud platform team, as well as guiding customers on their journey to the cloud with enterprise solutions, and helping them modernize their infrastructure, applications, and processes. She’s a recent AWS Community Hero, the founder of AWS Meetup Albania and co-organizer of AWS Meetup Netherlands. She also regularly speaks at technical conferences and authors tech blogs, sharing best practices about serverless, containers and AWS. Thank you Zamira for being a part of our community! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

Several weeks ago, I started dedicating time each week to learning new, or deepening my understanding of, tools and concepts in the web and cloud development space. The events of the last two weeks have dramatically changed my syllabus, and I (like hopefully most of us) have been spending a lot of time educating myself on topics of racial injustice, policing policies, and the systemic problems that face the United States.

I’ve always tried to be ally, and whenever I witnessed discrimination (especially against women) in the workplace, I stood up to use whatever privilege I had to “help” the person affected. But I realized that I can’t just be an ally that steps in when injustice is right in my face. I need to be an advocate. I need to use whatever platform I have to not only talk about needed change, but to actually affect it.

We can all help by donating to the cause. That’s a good first step, but it’s only a first step, and more needs to be done. I’m working with some others to figure out ways to better serve a more diverse audience and to help create a welcoming and inclusive culture within the serverless and tech communities. Additional ideas and feedback are invited and appreciated, so please feel free to reach out to me via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or email.

Cheers,
Jeremy

P.S. 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.

Off-by-none: Issue #92

I know that this week has weighed heavily on all of us. I grappled with how to start off this newsletter and share this week’s content given that recent events are deserving of our attention. The goal of this newsletter has always been to share content with the serverless community, and I still intend on doing that this week. But I can’t do that without addressing what’s been going on in our communities across the United States.

There are no words to explain how saddened and sickened I am by the tragic events that have occurred during the past week. I’m not sure my voice carries much weight, or adds anything meaningful to the national conversation, but I do want to echo an important message that must be repeated over and over until it becomes a fundamental truth in American society: #BlackLivesMatter.


More Use Cases for Step Functions…

Welcome to Issue #92 of Off-by-none. Thanks for being here!

Last week, we saw how a “typical” serverless architecture sparked some strong opinions about serverless complexity. This week, we meet some new serverless heroes, Step Functions get more attention, and GCP jumps on the Java train. Plus, we have lots of great posts from the serverless community.

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

Webinar: How to Use Knative to Build Event-Driven Application Flows
Join Sebastien Goasguen, TriggerMesh co-founder, Kubeless creator, and author of the Kubernetes Cookbook for a live webinar on June 11. Sebastien will demo how the Knative API and TriggerMesh let you trigger functions on any cloud with a single mechanism and cap your EventBridge costs. Learn more and register here. Sponsored

Introducing the latest AWS Heroes – May, 2020
Congratulations and welcome to all the new AWS Heroes including serverless heroes Kyuhyun Byun and Serkan Özal!

Understanding the pains of building serverless applications
Paul Swail is running a serverless adoption survey, and he’d like you to participate. It’s a very short survey, so it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.

Introducing Java 11 on Google Cloud Functions
Google Cloud Functions now supports Java, so you can now write Cloud Functions using your favorite JVM languages (Java, Kotlin, Groovy, Scala, etc) with their Functions Framework for Java, and also with Spring Cloud Functions and Micronaut.

Serverless Express – Easy APIs On AWS Lambda & AWS HTTP API
This uses the new Serverless Components and configuring it requires about 5 lines of YAML. I’m a big fan of these higher levels of abstraction that incorporate sane defaults and best practices for you. Also, the development feedback loop is screaming fast.

ACG Cloud Playground
Get your hands cloudy with A Cloud Guru’s new Cloud Playground. This is really cool. Set up environments on the major cloud providers and break stuff to your heart’s content, without affecting any of your own environments.

Serverless Stories 📖

How to start your blog for 20 cents
I found this post to be interesting because it makes the case for serverless, but is also sprinkled with misleading information about use cases and some potentially bad options for accessing and saving state. I appreciate authors writing these posts, but I don’t know if these do more harm then good.

HTML5VideoBank — How We Got $5M of IT Infrastructure For Next to Nothing
Akeel Din points out the infrastructure cost differences from what would have been a traditional system years ago to the cost of doing it now using FaaS.

Serverless Use Cases 🗺

10 Recommendations for writing pragmatic AWS Lambdas in Python
Jan Groth outlines a collection of design patterns and best practices to implement AWS Lambdas in Python. Lots of good stuff in here about DevOps use cases.

Serverless ETL using AWS Step Function -100,000 files under $30
Sohit Kumar points out a great use case for serverless, running ETL tasks. In his scenario, they have a bit of complexity, so Step Functions work really well in this situation. I’m wondering if they could get the cost down using Express Workflows?

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Logging within AWS Lambda Functions (python edition)
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about logging in Lambda functions written in python (and perhaps even some things you didn’t) by Keith Rozario.

Hello Serverless
Tom McLaughlin has an excellent 5 part series that is meant to be a primer for individuals or teams building their first serverless application. This series addresses the common conceptual and tactical questions that occur during the serverless development and operational lifecycle.

Stupid Simple Kubernetes
I think Czako Zoltan got at least two words right in his article title 😉, but for those that really want to get a better understanding of Kubernetes, this article will give you a good overview.

AWS API Gateway vs. Application Load Balancer (ALB)
Renato Byrro gives you a breakdown of the differences between API Gateway and Application Load Balancers. There are some use cases that could make ALBs a better choice, but the majority most likely fall to API Gateway.

Caching with AWS Serverless Applications
Serkan Özal has a great post that shows you different levels of caching within AWS serverless applications and when and how to use them.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

Serverless: Breaking a large serverless.yml into manageable chunks
Hussain Ali Akbar has a quick tip for helping to maintain some sanity when building larger serverless projects with the Serverless Framework. This is a handy trick for when you have multiple people working on different functions in the same project, as each function configuration can be updated independently.

Serverless: Simple CRUD Application in 10 minutes on AWS
Roberto Frontado has an excellent tutorial that shows you how to build a serverless TODO application using TypeScript, AWS Lambda, and DynamoDB.

How to Use TypeScript for AWS Lambda in 3 Steps
Zijing Zhao shows you how to compile your TypeScript and deploy it to AWS Lambda. TypeScript has a lot of great features, and if you’ve never used it, this simple guide will show you how easy it is to start benefiting from it in your serverless applications.

Simplifying application orchestration with AWS Step Functions and AWS SAM
Another really well done tutorial by Rob Sutter that shows you how to use the newly added AWS Step Functions support in AWS SAM.

Building a location-based, scalable, serverless web app – part 1
James Beswick is knocking it out of the park with these serverless application tutorials he’s been writing, and this one is no exception. Lots of detailed explanations, code references, and years of experience wrapped up in a nice package for you.

Serverless Reads 🤓

Innovator Island: A free, hands-on, virtual serverless workshop with AWS expert James Beswick
Innovator Island debuted as a hands-on workshop at re:Invent last year. This year, the AWS Serverless team is bringing it to you in virtual format, totally free. Sign up to join AWS Serverless expert James Beswick for an hour a day, June 8 – June 12, to build a complete serverless web application using AWS Amplify, AWS Lambda, AWS SAM, AWS IoT Core, Amazon EventBridge, and more. You’ll get hands-on instruction and have access to all sorts of help from AWS experts. Sponsored

Challenging the Status Quo! Serverless Casserole — Part 2
I always enjoy reading Sheen Brisals’ posts, and in this one he lays out an excellent rationale for why his team started adopting Lambda Destinations for both the failure and success modes of asynchronous invocations. (And thanks for the mention 😉)

Serverless Eventing: Why You Need an Event Bus!
Jay Smith makes the case for using event buses in your serverless microservice communications. There are a lot of options in this space (as he points out), but he actually missed Amazon EventBridge, which should be your default choice in AWS.

State of the Jamstack Survey 2020: First results
If you’re building serverless applications and you’re not thinking about the Jamstack, you might need to do some rethinking. This study probably tells most of us what we already knew, but seeing 11ty making a strong showing for SSGs is really interesting.

Shelves are well-stocked with cloud-native tools, but simplicity remains a moving target
Interesting discussion here. We have a ton of cloud-native tools available to us, but there is a lot of overlap that is making the adoption process harder.

Serverless Podcasts and Videos 🎥

Serverless Chats – Episode #51: Globally Resilient Architectures with Adrian Hornsby
In this episode, I chat with Adrian Hornsby about why you need to embrace failure at scale, how to avoiding cascading failures, when to cache for resiliency, and much more. Watch on YouTube.

Using a custom runtime with AWS Lambda (example with Deno the new JS framework)
Deno as a custom runtime with first-class support for TypeScript? What could be better? Marcia Villalba walks you through connecting an existing Deno Lambda Layer and shows you how to run a TypeScript file directly in Lambda.

New from AWS 🆕

AWS SAM adds support for AWS Step Functions
This is awesome, and the implementation is really well done. AWS Step Functions are not that complicated to implement, but integrating them with deployment frameworks has always been over-complicated. First class support from SAM was much needed.

Announcing General Availability of Amplify iOS and Amplify Android, with new authentication, data, and AI/ML support
The Amplify team keeps making it easier and easier to build full-featured serverless applications, and now with the iOS and Android libraries, building native apps should be much simpler as well. More info here.

Amazon RDS Proxy (Preview) Now Available in 8 Additional AWS Regions
I really like what RDS Proxy is trying to solve, but it’s still not a silver bullet, and it doesn’t work with Aurora Serverless. However, for those that didn’t realize the Lambda/RDBMS problem when they created their apps, this can be a nice bandaid.

AWS Fargate now encrypts data stored on ephemeral storage by default in platform version 1.4
This is a great security improvement, even if the likelihood of this data being exposed was low in the first place.

Amazon RDS Data API and Amazon RDS Query Editor are available in additional regions
I’m a huge fan of the Data API, mostly because it doesn’t require your Lambda functions to be in a VPC to use it. It might not be the best choice for all synchronous workflows, but for async, it was a game changer for me.

CodePipeline supports invoking Step Functions with a new action type
This is another awesome feature. Imagine being able to coordinate multiple processes (like schema changes, DNS routing updates, multi-region deployments) and then having the ability to rollback the entire thing if there are errors? Well, now you totally can!

Serverless Tools 🛠

New LaTeX.CSS Library Enables Websites to Look Like LaTeX Docs
Nothing to do with serverless, but totally worth mentioning. This almost class-less CSS library turns your HTML document into a website that looks like a LATEX document. Very cool stuff.

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

I have spent quite a bit of time with AppSync on a few projects, and it’s really grown on me, big time. So much of what’s difficult with API GW comes out-of-the-box. Here are 5 things that really stood out. ~ Yan Cui
Excellent thread by Yan Cui about his experience adopting AppSync and what about it makes it so advantageous to API Gateway. There are a lot of good points in here that has me itching to start thinking more seriously about it. I’ve been stuck in REST land for too long.

Serverless Jobs 👩‍💻 Sponsored

Serverless Engineer – stedi.com
At Stedi, we’re working in one of the biggest markets on the planet – EDI, the technological backbone of the physical product economy. We’re building a next-generation platform: a ubiquitous commercial trading network to automate the trillions of dollars in B2B transactions exchanged by nearly every company on Earth. If you’re interested in what we’re building and how we’re building it, we’d love to hear from you.

Have a job listing you’d like to share? Please contact me for more information. 

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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.

June 3, 2020 – Mastering AWS Organizations with Infrastructure-As-Code

June 4, 2020 – ServerlessDays Milan (Virtual)

June 4, 2020 – Sessions With SAM – The Step Functions Edition

June 9, 2020 – The State of Serverless in 2020

June 10, 2020 – Nordic Serverless – Serverless Developer Experience

June 10 & 11, 2020 – AWS Virtual Amplify Days

June 11, 2020 – How to Use Knative to Build Event-Driven Application Flows

June 26, 2020 – AWS Serverless Community Day

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 Takahiro Horike (@horike37). Takahiro is the CEO of Serverless Operations, Inc., which offers consulting and development services to help its customers design, develop, and maintain serverless applications. Takahiro is also a core contributor to the Serverless Framework, and creator of the Serverless Step functions and API Gateway Service Proxy plugins. His passion for serverless is a central fixture in all of his projects. Thank you for helping make serverless more accessible, Takahiro! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

I will continue to think of ways that I can make this newsletter more inclusive, but if you have any thoughts or ideas on how to add more voices and diversity, or how we as a serverless community can work together to bring about systemic change, please let me know. You can reach me via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or email.

Take care,
Jeremy

P.S. 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.