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Is learning serverless really that hard?

I came across Paul Johnston’s Learning Serverless (and why it is hard) post one Saturday morning, and ended up with a sore neck because I was nodding in agreement the entire time I was reading it. Okay, maybe the neck pain had more to do with how I slept the night before, but I’m quite sure the agreeing nods contributed. But when it comes to learning serverless, a little bit of neck pain, IMO, is the least of your problems.

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Let’s talk about the cloud skills gap

Lydia Leong recently wrote a thought-provoking piece suggesting that cloud adoption will fail because of the skills gap. This certainly isn’t (or shouldn’t be) news to those of us paying attention. The cloud has become progressively more complex as it has matured. There has been an explosion of cloud services, a rapid expansion of public cloud competitors that are achieving (or exceeding) feature parity for the most common use cases, and a third-party market that now contains more than 1,000 “cloud-native” tools, services, and platforms.

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Ensuring Data Integrity with DynamoDB

DynamoDB is an incredibly powerful NoSQL database. It’s schema-less, which gives you lots of flexibility, but it also means that you are responsible for managing the integrity of your data. This includes ensuring the structure of your data, as well as the ability to preserve metadata throughout your data’s lifecycle.

Unfortunately, DynamoDB doesn’t currently store any metadata associated with items. If you want to know when a particular item was written to the table, for example, you have to store that information yourself. While it’s not particularly difficult to add these attributes to an item, maintaining their integrity can come with some challenges.

In this article, we’ll discuss several strategies that can be used to ensure data integrity in your DynamoDB tables.

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The Unfulfilled Potential of Serverless

Corey Quinn, Cloud Economist (and perpetual thorn in AWS’s side), recently published a post titled The Unfulfilled Promise of Serverless. Twitter reacted as we would expect, with plenty of folks feeling vindicated, others professing their staunch disagreement, and perhaps even a few now questioning their life (and technology) choices. My take is that he’s not wrong, but he’s also not entirely right.

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The Top 15 Serverless Chats Podcast Episodes (so far)

As of this writing, there are now over 115 episodes of Serverless Chats! It’s been an incredible journey and I’ve learned so much about serverless from all these amazing guests (and I hope you have too). Recently, with the addition of Rebecca Marshburn as my co-host, we’ve added even more perspective to these conversations, expanding well beyond the technical and diving deeper into how serverless affects people, processes, and productivity.

If you’re new to serverless (and Serverless Chats), it can be hard to get started. Finding the right content and information can be overwhelming. If you’re a serverless veteran, finding interesting conversations that go beyond Hello World examples can also be challenging. My hope is that Serverless Chats provides a good mix for both the skeptical beginner and the experienced serverless developer. But even so, with 115 episodes, where do you start?

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Big Serverless Chats Announcement!

When I started the podcast in 2019, I wanted to invite others into the great off-the-cuff, offline conversations I was having with members of the serverless community. The chats I’d share after an event over drinks, in the hallway between conference sessions, or while mingling at a meetup, were thought-provoking and interesting, and offered fresh ideas, perspectives, and sometimes, even solutions that I could take back to my work and projects. After more than 100 episodes of inviting listeners and guests to these conversations, I am now extending a different sort of invitation for one of our serverless community members.

I am extremely excited to announce that Rebecca Marshburn will be joining Serverless Chats as a co-host!

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New Year, New Job, Same Serverless Mission

I took a new job as the GM of Serverless Cloud at Serverless, Inc. I’m really excited about what I’m working on there, and here’s why…

Some Background

When I first discovered AWS Lambda six years ago, I became fascinated with serverless, or rather, I became fascinated with the potential of serverless. Having spent an inordinate amount of time during the first 15 years of my career racking, configuring, patching, maintaining, and (poorly) scaling servers, the notion of abstracting all of that away seemed too good to be true. I had already been using AWS for five years at that point, so even though the cloud had eliminated the need for physical hardware, all the complexity around building high-scale, highly-available, highly-distributed applications was still there. For me, serverless was the way to solve that problem. So I went all in. 

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Aurora Serverless v2: The Good, the Better, and the Possibly Amazing

Three years ago at re:Invent 2017, AWS announced the original Amazon Aurora Serverless preview. I spent quite a bit of time with it, and when it went GA 9 months later, I published my thoughts in a post titled Aurora Serverless: The Good, the Bad and the Scalable.

If you read the post, you’ll see that I was excited and optimistic, even though there were a lot of missing features. And after several months of more experiments, I finally moved some production workloads onto it, and had quite a bit of success. Over the last 18 months, we’ve seen some improvements to the product (including support for PostgreSQL and the Data API), but there were still loads of problems with the scale up/down speeds, failover time, and lack of Aurora provisioned cluster features.

That all changed with the introduction of Amazon Aurora Serverless v2. I finally got access to the preview and spent a few hours trying to break it. My first impression? This thing might just be a silver bullet!

I know that’s a bold statement. 😉 But even though I’ve only been using it for a few hours, I’ve also read through the (minimal) docs, reviewed the pricing, and talked to one of the PMs to understand it the best I could. There clearly must be some caveats, but from what I’ve seen, Aurora Serverless v2 is very, very promising. Let’s take a closer look!

Update December 9, 2020: I’ve updated the post with some more information after having watched the “Amazon Aurora Serverless v2: Instant scaling for demanding workloads” presentation by Murali Brahmadesam (Director of Engineering, Aurora Databases and Storage) and Chayan Biswas (Principle Product Manager, Amazon Aurora). The new images are courtesy of their presentation.

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Jeremy’s Guide to a Very Serverless re:Invent 2020

It’s AWS re:Invent time, and once again, developers, architects, business leaders, and everyone in between are faced with the daunting task of selecting from thousands of hours of re:Invent content. As usual, I will be focusing most of my time on serverless, so I’ve combed through the massive session catalog and picked out the ones that look the most interesting to me. If you’re looking to focus on serverless during this re:Invent, perhaps you’ll find my suggestions useful.

My picks are also available on the Cloud Pegboard re:Invent Tool (Thanks, Ken). Select “Jeremy Daly” from the “AWS Hero Picks” dropdown and you’ll see all my selections with the options to add them to your wishlist and export them to your calendar. I have about 60 sessions on my list, which I’ve categorized below. But I realize that no human is likely going to be able to watch them all, so I’ve also made a list of Sessions you can’t miss!

There are sure to be plenty of announcements throughout the three weeks of re:Invent, so be sure to subscribe to the Off-by-none newsletter for weekly recaps.

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