Serverless Picks of the Week
Issue #25: New CDK Visualizations

Serverless Superhero

Our serverless superhero this week is Adit Modi, cloud engineer at Digital Alpha and AWS Community Builder. Adit is fully engaged in the serverless community, frequently sharing and boosting important serverless updates that others may have missed. He also runs the Cloud Tech community, which is a community focused on helping builders get started with the cloud. Without people like Adit, the serverless space would feel much more disconnected. Thank you Adit, for connecting us together and spreading the wonderful content around the community!

Tutorials

Jye Cusch wrote an article on how Nitric is managing cold starts with Lambda containers. He talks about what contributes to cold starts, how instance size impacts vCPUs, and the difference between cold, warm, and hot starts for container functions.

Speaking of container Lambda functions, Ervin Szilagyi takes us through building super slim containerized Lambda functions by creating “distroless containers”. He describes what they are, how to build them, and shows how much time they save on cold starts. He also gives us when they are beneficial and when they should be avoided. Really cool topic!

An area of software development that is often polarizing is idempotency. With serverless applications, idempotency is important to prevent duplicate data being added in your system due to retries or other async processes that might be delivered multiple times. I (Allen Helton) dive into idempotency and cover all the components that make it up. There are lots of opinions out there on what idempotency is, and they aren’t wrong. But it makes it difficult for us to talk about when we don’t think about it the same way.

A underutilized and seldom talked about feature of S3 is the ability to query data via S3 Select. Chirag Rathod demonstrates how to use this functionality to use SQL to query data in a csv file directly from S3. Pair this with the event streaming to S3 solution in the last issue, and you have an extremely easy way to audit the events in your distributed system.

New Releases

A great open source project was just released by AntStack allowing you to visualize express Step Function workflows in a manner similar to standard workflows. This has been one of the big detractors of express workflows for me personally, as troubleshooting executions is significantly more difficult than standard. Very cool and thoughtful project!

The CDK got a cool update last week or maybe it was CloudFormation? Either way, you now have a construct tree view in the CloudFormation console. It will show top level constructs in the view with the generated resources nested beneath. A great tool to see how your resources were made!

Spotlight

In case you’ve missed it, there’s a renewed attention with serverless caching. There hasn’t been a great option that is priced and scalable like the serverless services we know and love until now. Alex Debrie talks about the newcomer Momento in his post about understanding cache types. In this post Alex talks about the different types of caches, when they are useful, and examples to help tie the concepts to real world implementations.

Tip of the Week

Thorsten Hoeger tells us about a new podcast around cloud automation. This is exciting as automation is key to opening up doors to innovation in the cloud. I see great things coming out of this podcast in the upcoming weeks.

Last Words

I’m seeing more serverless newsletters pop up every month, each with a different eye on serverless or cloud in general. If you haven’t already, consider subscribing to AWS Fundamentals, Serverless Transformation, and of course, Off By None.

If you’d like to make a recommendation for the serverless superhero or for an article you found especially useful, send me a message on Twitter, LinkedIn, or email.

Happy Coding!

Allen

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