Comic Relief is re-thinking its data ingestion, storage and query stack with Lambda, S3 & Athena. Here is a quick intro to how we are going about it and why.

Doing data right is time-consuming and hard! There you go the secret is out. But can we make it easier? Surely that is just part of engineering 101 and we should just accept it, right?

So what’s the problem

The issue for Comic Relief stems partly from the fact that we are now very comfortable with creating lightweight Serverless applications using commodity services (whenever possible), reducing code to the point where very little can go wrong as we are using off the shelf, battle-tested services and applications with the underlying code being basically just lightweight glue. …


Otherwise known as, why I think AWS Amplify is a glimpse into the future of what programming will be and why I need to upskill or maybe side skill!

Micro Jouranlling platform built with React and AWS Amplify

On Sunday night I was reading an awesome article by Jeremy Daly about micro journalling, the premise of this was that you could create many small notes about anything and everything to reconstruct your train of thought to create a clear picture of how you have spent your time.

I loved the idea and spent an hour looking for apps that would give me control of my data and a searchable…


Diving into how we made our payments platform CMS driven while maintaining the ability to happily scale to 300 donations per second using Contentful and Webpack.

The donation platform homepage

The Problem

During a cross directorate away day with our fundraising team, one of the frustrations that came out of our group was the process for creating and managing carts within our donation system.

For all of our campaigns, we create different carts to,

  • Change imagery and money-buys (amounts and their descriptions) to reflect the campaign asks
  • Track the activity and performance of the campaign

The old process was for a member of the fundraising team…


A run through of Debugging, alerting and the tools that we use to dig into our Serverless applications in the lead-up and on the night of a national television event.

I mentioned in a previous article that since being indoctrinated into the Serverless world, I have not had such visibility on everything going wrong and that it was a scary prospect. The truth is, not being able to have that level of visibility now that I know I can have it, would scare the bejesus out of me.

So, how do you debug and link a multitude of events and…


A run through of Debugging, alerting and the tools that we use to dig into our Serverless applications in the lead-up and on the night of a national television event.

I mentioned in a previous article that since being indoctrinated into the Serverless world, I have not had such visibility on everything going wrong and that it was a scary prospect. The truth is, not being able to have that level of visibility now that I know I can have it, would scare the bejesus out of me.

So, how do you debug and link a multitude of events and…


How we load test our Serverless applications (and legacy applications) using Serverless Artillery in the lead up to Red Nose Day 2019

What is this Red Nose Day thing?

Since its launch in 1988, Red Nose Day has become something of a British institution. It’s the day when people across the land can get together and raise money at home, school and work to support vulnerable people and communities in the UK and internationally.

With a whole year of fairly pedestrian traffic and then five hours of everything being on the line, we need to be able to ensure that our systems fail and fall over gracefully…


How we load test our Serverless applications (and legacy applications) using Serverless Artillery in the lead up to Red Nose Day 2019

Since its launch in 1988, Red Nose Day has become something of a British institution. It’s the day when people across the land can get together and raise money at home, school and work to support vulnerable people and communities in the UK and internationally.

With a whole year of fairly pedestrian traffic and then five hours of everything being on the line, we need to be able to ensure that our systems fail and fall over gracefully…


The 90% figure is plucked out of thin air — it’s just me trying to pick a really big number without accurately calculating a percentage

Since its launch in 1988, Red Nose Day has become something of a British institution. It’s the day when people across the land can get together and raise money at home, school and work to support vulnerable people and communities in the UK and internationally.

Now that Red Nose Day 2019 is over, I want to give you a bit of a run down on my learnings, the tooling that we used and the path taken, on what turned out to be nearly a full cloud migration from a containerised/EC2 ecosystem and into the world of serverless.


The 90% figure is plucked out of thin air — it’s just me trying to pick a really big number without accurately calculating a percentage

What is Red Nose Day?

Since its launch in 1988, Red Nose Day has become something of a British institution. It’s the day when people across the land can get together and raise money at home, school and work to support vulnerable people and communities in the UK and internationally.

Now that Red Nose Day 2019 is over, I want to give you a bit of a run down on my learnings, the tooling that we used and the path taken, on what turned out to be nearly a full cloud migration from a containerised/EC2 ecosystem and into the world of serverless.


The 90% figure is plucked out of thin air — it’s just me trying to pick a really big number without accurately calculating a percentage

[Editor’s note: Adam Clark is a Senior Engineer at Comic Relief, a major UK charity that raised more than £63,938,072 in this year’s Red Nose Day fundraising event.

The original article was published on Comic Relief’s tech blog.]

Since its launch in 1988, Red Nose Day has become something of a British institution. It’s the day when people across the land can get together and raise money at home, school and work to support vulnerable people and communities in the UK and internationally.

Now that Red Nose Day 2019 is over, I want to give you a bit of a…

Adam Clark

Engineering Lead @ Comic Relief — Always tinkering, often learning and sometimes blogging.

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