Weekly update 37

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Welcome to another weekly update! Apologies for the radio silence the last few weeks. A combination of vacation, work and re:invent has really messed up my posting schedule! Hopefully, I’m now back to my usual flow.

First of all, I want to give a shout out to my Patreon supporters:

Andre Silva, Boseok In, Joe Kearney, Jon Barber, Jonathan Kosgei, Luis Gutierrez, Marko @ Serverless Life, Shawn MacIntyre, Will Saunders, Yinan Xue

Thank you guys so much for your continued support!

New posts

Provisioned Concurrency – the end of cold starts. Over on the Lumigo blog, I wrote about the new Provisioned Concurrency feature for Lambda. It’s an important feature which removes one of the major hurdles for companies looking to move to serverless. It allows you to specify a baseline concurrency for a function where you pay for a combination of uptime + requests, and in return, no more cold starts.

I don’t think it’s something that everyone should enable by default, because many of you wouldn’t need it. And I still believe that step 1 should always be to understand your latency requirement (e.g. p99 of 3s) and then optimize your code so cold starts fall within those requirements. However, for companies with a large amount of existing Java and .Net code (that is not economically feasible to rewrite), or a latency-sensitive workload, or very spiky traffic, Provisioned Concurrency gives them the control they need to combat cold starts.

Checklist for going live with API Gateway and Lambda. A handy checklist that includes observability, security, performance and resilience considerations you should tick off before going live.

How to break the “senior engineer” career ceiling. TL;DR – stop optimizing for your personal output, start optimizing your impact on the organization instead.


Enginears ep1. I spoke with Elliot Kipling on his new Podcast, Enginears, on serverless and challenges many companies face.

Serverless @ re:invent

There weren’t many big announcements at re:invent this year compared to 2018, but the new Lambda features are very impactful to customers and address many day-to-day pain points. I will be covering them in much more detail with James Beswick (AWS) and Efi Kravitz (Lumigo) on Friday, 13th December. You can sign up to the webinar here. We will share our thoughts on the impact of these new features and how you should adopt them (or not!).

Until then, here are the new features, including a few just before re:invent.

Ironically, the biggest announcement at re:invent wasn’t any service or feature, but the AWS Builders Library. It’s a set of articles written by Principal Engineers at AWS about how Amazon builds highly scalable and resilient systems. I have read a few of these articles already and they are great. They provide a lot of insights into the thinking that goes into many of the services we have come to depend on. However, they are also not easy reads and sometimes the insights are buried deep into the pages. Based on the number of folks that responded to my tweet, I will be sharing my study notes so you can get a quick summary of each post (think of it as Blinkist for the AWS Builders Library). And then you can decide which post to dive into and read fully.

Upcoming talks

AWS re:Invent Recap – Serverless Edition – Friday 13th December, online

Driving innovation with Serveless at re:Invent 2019 – Thursday 9th January, Amsterdam

AWS Community Day Nodics – Friday 31st January, Stockholm

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Hi, I’m Yan. I’m an AWS Serverless Hero and I help companies go faster for less by adopting serverless technologies successfully.

Are you struggling with serverless or need guidance on best practices? Do you want someone to review your architecture and help you avoid costly mistakes down the line? Whatever the case, I’m here to help.

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My 4-week Production-Ready Serverless online workshop is back!

This course takes you through building a production-ready serverless web application from testing, deployment, security, all the way through to observability. The motivation for this course is to give you hands-on experience building something with serverless technologies while giving you a broader view of the challenges you will face as the architecture matures and expands.

We will start at the basics and give you a firm introduction to Lambda and all the relevant concepts and service features (including the latest announcements in 2020). And then gradually ramping up and cover a wide array of topics such as API security, testing strategies, CI/CD, secret management, and operational best practices for monitoring and troubleshooting.

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Check out my new podcast Real-World Serverless where I talk with engineers who are building amazing things with serverless technologies and discuss the real-world use cases and challenges they face. If you’re interested in what people are actually doing with serverless and what it’s really like to be working with serverless day-to-day, then this is the podcast for you.

Check out my new course, Learn you some Lambda best practice for great good! In this course, you will learn best practices for working with AWS Lambda in terms of performance, cost, security, scalability, resilience and observability. We will also cover latest features from re:Invent 2019 such as Provisioned Concurrency and Lambda Destinations. Enrol now and start learning!

Check out my video course, Complete Guide to AWS Step Functions. In this course, we’ll cover everything you need to know to use AWS Step Functions service effectively. There is something for everyone from beginners to more advanced users looking for design patterns and best practices. Enrol now and start learning!