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An introduction to AWS Lambda and serverless computing

An introduction to AWS Lambda and serverless computing

Welcome to the Ocado Technology Webinars, where you can hear from the people building the ground-breaking, game-changing technology that powers Ocado, the world’s largest online-only grocery retailer.

In this webinar Javi Carretero, mobile web services team leader at Ocado Technology, offers an overview of AWS Lambda and serverless computing, including a code demonstration showing how easy it is to get started with cloud-based web services.

Key takeaways

  • Serverless architectures are a hot topic in the cloud computing space
  • Before building a new application or service in AWS, ask yourself what influences your production environment
  • There are many considerations that define a production environment, but perhaps the most important ones are performance, security, availability and the deployment strategy
  • Serverless architectures attempt to automatically solve the cost issues affecting traditional provisioning by offloading the task of container lifecycle management to the service provider
  • Because serverless architectures are entirely managed by service providers, developers should not make assumptions about the state of a container before a function is executed
  • Serverless architectures offer developers many advantages, including fully managed scaling, almost-zero system administration, and the ability to focus mainly on function code
  • Developers also need to be aware that serverless architectures are a new concept and therefore there are several potential drawbacks related to maturity and start-up latency


00:46: An overview of the factors deciding the structure of your AWS production environment.

02:41: Traditional provisioning that scales up and down according to throughput can easily be affected by inefficient allocation of resources.

04:05: Serverless architectures can be seen as a FaaS (Function as a Service).

05:01: In serverless architectures, developers don’t have to worry about provisioning; the containers are fully managed by the service provider.

05:34: Serverless containers might not run 24/7: the service provider can choose to shut them down or start new ones automatically as events are flowing through.

06:00: Serverless containers are alsoephemeral: developers don’t have a guarantee that the function will always run on the same container.

06:24: The provisioning profile of a serverless architecture.

07:00: A coding example showing how developers can create a function in AWS; the utilities available for working with functions; testing within the console; and creating a production application using AWS Lambda.

07:35: How to create and configure an AWS Lambda function.

13:05: An overview of two AWS Lambda example functions that can be used for e-commerce purposes e.g. generating analytics based on customer checkouts.

20:35: Running the checkout stream application and observing the data flow for the example functions.

24:53: Covering the advantages and disadvantages of using serverless architectures for cloud computing, including scaling capabilities, administration costs, stateless services, and startup latencies. (Note: When it comes to the startup latency, our initial testing revealed AWS Lambda cold starts can be compared to EC2 scaling. Since Amazon keeps warm containers ready, this should not have a big impact on your application).

28:20: Final thoughts on AWS Lambda.

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