Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) are techniques that I’ve had a passion about for a long time. Back in the Dim And Distant Past of 2003 I even co-led an open source project that brought some at-the-time interesting innovations to this area.

Fast forward to today : CI/CD, and deployment automation in general, are key to how John and I work with clients at Symphonia: it doesn’t matter if you’re using all the fanciest new cloud technology if you’re still waiting weeks to put new functionality into production. …


2018 was quite a year for me for theatre. Starting slowly, it really ramped up. An amazing variety of shows, even though most of what I saw were plays. I feel very lucky to live in New York and to be able to see such great works of creativity.

By the numbers I saw 43 productions — 14 were NYC Broadway, 27 NYC Off Broadway, and 2 out of New York. I saw 33 plays, 5 musicals, and 5 “other” — comedy productions, immersive theatre (Then She Fell), and Bruce Springsteen’s scripted concert / monologue.

I now see far more…


I started writing “Serverless Architectures” in May 2016. At that point I’d recently finished up at my previous job, had just been to the first Serverlessconf, hadn’t done much writing in a while, had some time on my hands, and so decided to put a few ideas together. I thought a few folks might be interested. Of course publishing it on Martin Fowler’s site was always going to get it to a wider audience (thanks Martin!), but I didn’t realize quite how wide.

Fast forward to two years later and the article has had more than half a million visits…


AWS announced a new service — the Serverless Application Repository (SAR) — at re:Invent 2017. The general goal of SAR is to make it easier to distribute, and consume, applications that have been developed using AWS Serverless products, like Lambda. It was launched to the public in February and I’ve been digging into it since. This article describes what SAR is (and isn’t), examples of SAR in the wild, and some limitations and ‘gotchas’ of SAR. I close out with some opinions of its value and future.

Thanks to @3Nimbus / https://twitter.com/3Nimbus/status/936323075683028992

What is the Serverless Application Repository?

For those with a decent amount of experience of AWS, the quickest way…


The most important new text box of re:Invent?

Lambda is a wonderful platform. However, it is still in its early years, and has a number of limitations and rough edges. One of those edges — that of the ability to overwhelm downstream systems with unfettered load — got a lot smoother at re:Invent 2017.

The problems

In Learning Lambda Part 9, I described Lambda’s scaling behavior — that it will automatically scale a thousand or more instances wide to handle incoming load. Fantastic! Miraculous auto-scaling without effort! The only limit to Lambda’s scaling is the cross-account concurrent execution limit.

This scaling is a double-edged sword though — Lambda can overwhelm…


The light show at the re:Play party

Another re:Invent has come and gone, and us mere AWS-using mortals are now rapidly trying to sort the wheat from the chaff of a heady harvest of announcements.

It’s funny to think that AWS Lambda was announced at re:Invent only 3 years ago — the industry and Lambda platform both have moved forward a long way since.

This year’s re:Invent saw a lot of incremental improvements for Lambda and its related services. We saw some big new products and features from Lambda’s AWS neighbors. …


Scaling and State

This is Part 9 of Learning Lambda, a tutorial series about engineering using AWS Lambda. To see the other articles in this series please visit the series home page. To be alerted about future installments subscribe to our newsletter, follow Symphonia on twitter @symphoniacloud, and our blog at The Symphonium.

So far in this series we’ve only been talking about processing a small number of events with Lambda, one after the other. This is a very common pattern of use for many Lambda applications, especially those that are used to help Technical Operations in some regard. …


Cold Starts

This is Part 8 of Learning Lambda, a tutorial series about engineering using AWS Lambda. To see the other articles in this series please visit the series home page. To be alerted about future installments subscribe to our newsletter, follow Symphonia on twitter @symphoniacloud, and our blog at The Symphonium.

In this installment of Learning Lambda I discuss Cold Starts. Depending on who you talk to, Cold Starts may be a minor footnote in the life of a Lambda developer, or may be a complete blocker to Lambda being even considered a valid computation platform. …


Learning Lambda is an ongoing series of articles that give you a deep dive into programming on the AWS Lambda Platform. We start from first principles, and we explain what is going on in the Lambda environment as we proceed. The aim of the series is not to give you cookie cutter examples but instead to give you a thorough understanding of the Platform and programming model so that you’ll have confidence building your own Lambda applications.

In this series we use Java (and its JVM) as our development language, but Lambda natively supports several other languages too. We won’t…


Error Handling

This is Part 7 of Learning Lambda, a tutorial series about engineering using AWS Lambda. To see the other articles in this series please visit the series home page. To be alerted about future installments subscribe to our newsletter, follow Symphonia on twitter @symphoniacloud, and our blog at The Symphonium.

Welcome to Part 7 of Learning Lambda! If you didn’t read Part 6 you’ll probably want to do that before continuing here.

So far in this series we’ve only talked about when things go perfectly well. But of course this is unrealistic in the real world and any useful production…

Mike Roberts

British-American living in Brooklyn, NY. Consultant / tech manager / architect with Opinions. Co-founder of @symphoniacloud . http://mikebroberts.com .

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