Step Functions

How to do blue-green deployment for Step Functions

A client asked me the other day: “What happens to the running executions when I update a state machine?” Sadly, the answer is likely that existing executions would break if you have changed the input/output of the Lambda functions they call. The solution is to use specific versions or aliases of the functions instead. But …

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Serverless Step Functions: no more leaky abstractions

I have some exciting news to share with you about the Serverless Step Functions plugin. One of the main pain points of using the plugin was that you needed to use fully-formed ARNs. We addressed this in v1.18.0 by supporting CloudFormation intrinsic functions Fn:GetAtt and Ref. This makes it possible for you to reference a …

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Step Functions as an ad-hoc scheduling mechanism

We previously discussed how you can implement an ad-hoc scheduling system using DynamoDB TTL as well as CloudWatch Events. And now, let’s see how you can implement the same system using AWS Step Functions and the pros and cons of this approach. As before, we will assess this approach using the following criteria: Precision: how …

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ICYMI: five updates you’ve missed about Serverless Step Functions

Over the last 6 months, we have made the Serverless Step Functions plugin better and more useful. Here are the most impactful changes, in case you missed it! Support for intrinsic function One of the main pain points of using the plugin has long been that you needed to use fully-formed ARNs. As of v1.18.0 …

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New course on AWS Step Functions!

It’s been a while coming, but I’m excited to announce that my new course – Complete guide to AWS Step Functions – is now live! You can browse the curriculum and purchase the course here. The first two chapters are free to everyone. The course is approximately 2 hours in length and covers everything you need …

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DynamoDB TTL as an ad-hoc scheduling mechanism

CloudWatch Events let you easily create cron jobs with Lambda. However, it’s not designed for running lots of ad-hoc tasks, each to be executed once, at a specific time. The default limit on CloudWatch Events is a lowly 100 rules per region per account. It’s a soft limit, so it’s possible to request a limit …

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Step Functions : apply try-catch to a block of states

In my last post we talked about how we can implement semaphores with Step Functions. Another common scenario that many people have is to handle errors from a block of states like we’re used to with a try-catch block. try { step1() step2() step3() } catch (States.Timeout) { … } catch (States.ALL) { … } …

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Step Functions: how to implement semaphores for state machines

Here at DAZN, we are migrating from our legacy platform into a brave new world of microfrontends and microservices. Along the way, we also discovered the delights that AWS Step Function has to offer, for example… flexible error handling and retry the understated ability to wait between tasks the ability to mix automated steps with …

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Applying the Saga pattern with AWS Lambda and Step Functions

The Saga pattern is a pattern for managing failures, where each action has a compensating action for rollback. In Hector Garcia-Molina’s 1987 paper, it is described as an approach to handling system failures in a long-running transactions. It has become increasingly relevant in the world of microservices as application logic often needs to transact across …

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