Weekly update 46

You can become a serverless blackbelt. Enrol to my 4-week online workshop Production-Ready Serverless and gain hands-on experience building something from scratch using serverless technologies. At the end of the workshop, you should have a broader view of the challenges you will face as your serverless architecture matures and expands. You should also have a firm grasp on when serverless is a good fit for your system as well as common pitfalls you need to avoid. Sign up now and get 15% discount with the code yanprs15!

Hi, welcome to another weekly update, it’s been a busy few weeks for me so lots of things to catch you up on!

Production-Ready Serverless workshop is back!

My 4-week Production-Ready Serverless workshop is coming back in September. With an improved and more comprehensive curriculum based on student feedback from the last run in May, when over 50 students from around the world took part.

If you missed it the last time around, it’s a hands-on workshop where you will learn best practices for building serverless applications by building an e-commerce solution from scratch. Along the way you will learn how to:

  • implement server-side rendering
  • authenticate users with Cognito
  • securing internal APIs with AWS_IAM
  • testing strategies for serverless
  • CI/CD best practices
  • manage application configurations and secrets
  • security best practices
  • logging best practices
  • monitoring & alerting best practices
  • distributed tracing with X-Ray
  • automatically capture and forward correlation IDs
  • and much more!

Check out the full curriculum here.

It’s a workshop for beginners and experienced AWS engineers alike, there’s truly something for everyone here as we take a deep dive into some of these topics. And of course, you can ask other questions on Discord or during our weekly live Q&A too!

I was honoured to have some notable students such as Nader and Shawn join us in May, and even more so that they enjoyed the course and learnt something useful.

And all materials are available to you forever after the workshop.

Enrol now and SAVE 15% OFF with the promo code “yanprs15”.

Real-World Serverless podcast

Since the last update, we have 6 new episodes for you:

New blog posts

Unlocking new serverless use cases with EFS and Lambda. In this post, I walk you through the new EFS integration with Lambda – how it works, when you should use it, and some caveats to keep in mind when you decide to use it. I also included a performance comparison with S3, which is your main alternative for these use cases.

How to debug AWS Lambda performance issues. The most common performance issues I see with Lambda are related to latency of my integration points – where my function needs to communicate with another service (e.g. DynamoDB, SNS, or non-AWS services such as Algolia). In this post, I walk you through several ways for monitoring the health and performance of these integration points including manual log messages, Embedded Metric Format (EMF), X-Ray or using third-party services such as Lumigo.

Are Lambda-to-Lambda calls really that bad? This is a question I get all the time. And in this post, I shared my thoughts on why you shouldn’t do it in a lot of cases, but also when you should consider it.

Why we didn’t choose QLDB for a healthcare app. I’m really excited by the potential of QLDB – the built-in audit history, the fact that it’s serverless and that every change can be cryptographically verified! And I had the right use case for it too, as I’m currently working with a US client to build a first-of-its-kind mobile app to manage data-sharing consent between healthcare providers. However, after some careful consideration, we decided not to switch to QLDB (from DynamoDB) because it has some limitations at the moment which are showstoppers for us.

How to choose the right API Gateway auth method. Another question I get a lot. And I hope with this post, you have some general direction you can follow when deciding which auth method to use with API Gateway.

I left full-time employment, here’s what happened since. Ok, so this one is not about serverless. It’s been 12 months since I went independent fulltime, and it’s been quite the crazy ride. I have learnt a lot in that time and are thoroughly enjoying myself. I put my experience on paper and hope it can help you decide if freelance is a career choice you wish to pursue.


I’ve been pretty busy with online conferences and user groups since the last update too, here are some talks for you to catch up on:

  • Lumigo webinar series: debugging AWS Lambda Performance Issues (watch it here)
  • Serverless Ahmedabad: How we built a social network in 4 weeks with Serverless and GraphQL (watch it here)
  • AWS Twitch series: Howdy partner with Lumigo (watch it here)
  • Paris AWS user group: How to apply chaos engineering to serverless applications (watch it here)
  • AWS Serverless Community Day: Patterns and Practices for Building Resilient AWS Serverless Applications (watch it here)
  • LessCon: Serverless Security: defence against the dark arts (watch it here)
  • AWS User Group Peru: What can you do with AWS Lambda in 2020? (watch it here)

I’ve been posting a lot of stuff onto YouTube, if you haven’t yet, then subscribe to my channel and enable notifications so you don’t miss out when I post new videos.

On July 30th, I’ll be doing a session on why Serverless is a superpower that gives frontend developers wings! You can register for the session here.

Thank you to my patrons

Finally, I want to give a shout out to my patrons:

Andre Silva, Bala Chalasani, Boseok In, Dome Jantaphat, Dragan Cabarkapa, Ebru Cucen, Efi Merdler-Kravitz, Eric Allam, Hrafnkell Palsson, Jon Barber, Jonathan Kosgei, Jürgen Wagner, Kevin Woods, Marko @ Serverless Life, Michael Wills, Peter Miller, Shawn MacIntyre, Tajinder Singh, Tendies123, Will Saunders, Yinan Xue

Thank you guys so much for your continued support!

Liked this article? Support me on Patreon and get direct help from me via a private Slack channel or 1-2-1 mentoring.
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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.

Hire me.

Skill up your serverless game with this hands-on workshop.

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.

If you enrol now you can also get 15% OFF with the promo code “yanprs15”.

Enrol now and SAVE 15%.

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!