The Promise of AWS Lambda

Amazon Web Service’s Lambda is an event-driven serverless computing platform that simplifies tech workloads and offers something akin to ‘push-button-computing.’ AWS Lambda is a fully managed service which can interface with a rich suite of services including S3, EC2, API Gateway, DynamoDB, Kinesis and an ever growing portfolio of AWS products and services.

I will be publishing a series of articles by walking through Lambda code samples and AWS Lambda best practices to help build highly-flexible, scalable, fault-tolerant, low-cost and low- maintenance applications.

The best example to showcase AWS Lambda is Amazon’s Alexa. Alexa enabled devices such as Echo transcribe voice commands that trigger a Lambda function that executes code with the voice command as an input. Similarly, activity from other AWS resources, services, or applications such as S3, DynamoDB or Cloudwatch can trigger a Lambda function. What truly happens when a Lambda function is triggered in terms of compute resource allocation is hidden from users.

One of the most attractive part of Lambda is its pricing.

First 1 million requests per month are free
$0.20 per 1 million requests thereafter ($0.0000002 per request)

This might be confusing, and I will explain pricing on a different blog, but a low-utilization application could be free on Lambda. However, the biggest benefit is that Lambda does not sit on computing resources. You are only charged once Lambda starts executing in response to a trigger.

AWS Lambda could potentially be used for a range of tasks ranging from image resizing, data processing, and data storage. It can also be a crucial tool to architect decoupled applications. Since Lambda scales automatically, provisioning servers for spikes in traffic is not necessary. However, due to its closed nature, Lambda is best used for small and simple applications.

With the advent of IoT, however, Lambda powered code that can perform highly-specific tasks without any administrative costs and are integrated to a rich cloud ecosystem is very promising.

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