Two Must-See Breakout Sessions on Serverless

from AWS re:Invent 2017

by Jon Gallagher

LOS ANGELES, CA -- July 31, 2018.

Read more below.

Two Must-See Breakout Sessions on Serverless

3 min read · Jon Gallagher

Although it seems like it happened months ago, it has been barely more than two weeks since re:Invent 2017 finished. By my count (see https://aws.amazon.com/new/reinvent/), there were 61 new product announcements and releases at re:Invent. Five of those announcements specifically targeted AWS Lambda:

  • New Deployment Options for AWS Lambda Functions
  • AWS Lambda Doubles Maximum Memory Capacity for Lambda Functions
  • AWS Lambda Per Function Concurrency/Throttle
  • AWS Lambda Introduces Enhanced Console Experience
  • Support for Serverless Deployments in AWS CodeDeploy

In addition, AWS announced AWS Serverless Application Repository and Amazon Aurora Serverless. If you search for “serverless” in the re:Invent catalog, you get 257 results, and searching for “best practices” returns even more.

If you are looking for focused discussions on how to build a variety of serverless architectures, and on how to optimize your Lambda infrastructure, there were two sessions you really should have attended, even though they were probably full the minute they were announced: ARC401 - Serverless Architectural Patterns and Best Practices and SRV401 - Become a Serverless Black Belt: Optimizing Your Serverless Applications. Both sessions were over-subscribed, and both were repeated (and overflow sessions were held in other venues). I was able to get into SRV401 at re:Invent, but not into ARC401. I’ve reviewed the videos and slides for both, and find that these sessions pass my test for exceptional presentations: I learn something new every time I watch them.

The two sessions work well together, with very little overlap. ARC401 provides a quick introduction of the advantages of Lambda and its supporting ecosystems (X-Ray, the Serverless Application Model, CodeDeploy, etc.), then launches into introducing the serverless approach to web applications, data lakes, stream processing, and operations automation. The session includes deep dives into technical implementations, issues, and best practices.

The targets for this presentation are technically capable developers, architects, and product managers. The second-to-last slide in the presentation is a helpful list of related presentations at re:Invent 2017 that not only relate to serverless, but may also be more accessible for a less technical audience.

SRV401 complements ARC401 by providing a deep dive into Lambda, and by discussing how design and implementation choices can affect performance, cost, and resiliency. SRV401 presents four optimization katas for Lambda (from the CodeKatas concept developed by Dave Thomas of The Pragmatic Programmer; see the CodeKata website for more general katas):

  1. The Lean Function
  2. Eventful Invocations
  3. Coordinated Calls
  4. Serviceful Operations

These katas are the frameworks for the deep technical discussions that make up this session, meaning this session provides not just AWS-specific optimization techniques, but also general guidelines for any software architecture endeavor.

This is exciting information, presented by professionals in this field. I highly recommend that you watch the videos as soon as you can, and that you also bookmark them for revisiting as you work your way through serverless projects.

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