Cloud Native Software Engineering Newsletter #18 (November 2020)

Hello my cloud engineering friends and welcome back!

It’s time for this months cloud software engineering newsletter, rounding up everything that’s being going on in cloud engineering for the last month.

I started writing this newsletter back in November, but SO many announcements have come out from AWS since then, that I really need to get this sent out to you. As each day goes by, new things come out, and the newsletter will never get sent.

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And since there’s quite a lot going on, let’s get into it.

ACloudGuru: Is It Worth The Money? And Your Main Options For Learning Cloud

So I’m guessing you’ve been thinking of learning cloud, or taking a cloud certification and you’ve stumbled across the company ACloudGuru in your search. Now you’re wondering if ACloudGuru is worth the price tag, and what your other options are for learning about cloud? Did I guess right?

Is ACloud Guru Worth It? If you want to get certified in cloud, ACloudGuru is a good option. For a monthly fee you get access to a lot of video content designed to help you pass cloud certifications, and the site is constantly being updated. Other options include: one-time payment courses on Udemy, learning platforms like Pluralsight, and freely available content.


Even after writing many blogs and articles about exactly this topic—learning cloud—I still can find the cloud learning space very confusing. There’s a huge amount of options, and sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. Today I’ll run you through how my experience has been with ACloudGuru and help answer the question of whether it’s worth it, or not.

How To Test AWS Lambda: Everything You Need To Get Started.

If you’re just starting out working with AWS Lambda there are a LOT of things for you to understand. And of course, one of those areas is going to be: testing.

How to test AWS Lambda? AWS Lambda can be tested manually using the AWS console with test events. In addition to manual testing, AWS Lambda can also be tested through local replication with tools like as docker-lambda. Or finally, testing AWS Lambda can be done using an automated (CI) pipeline for running unit, component and integration tests. 

There’s a few different ways you can go about testing AWS Lambda, today we’ll run through these different options, and I’ll let you know what has worked best in my experience and where I’d suggest you spend your energy on.

How To Debug AWS Lambda: A Detailed Overview

Ah, so you’ve reached that point: you’ve been through the euphoria and the buzz of setting up a Lambda function, and the eureka moment when everything is running… but then everything comes crashing down when you realise how painful debugging AWS Lambda is! I know, because I’ve been there too.

How to debug AWS Lambda? Debugging AWS Lambda is achieved through a range of different methods: using local debugging tools e.g. docker-lambda and serverless offline, through monitoring tools e.g. CloudWatch and through the implementation of a test harness. 

The topic of debugging an AWS Lambda function can get complicated quickly, as there’s lots of different options and approaches. Today I’ll walk you through all the different options that you have at your disposal for debugging AWS Lambda. Today we’ll cover everything from Docker Lambda to CloudWatch. 

Are Containers Serverless?

The cloud industry is evolving quickly right now, and when it comes to the big trends likes containers and serverless it can be hard to work out the difference.

Are Containers Serverless? No. Containers are a method of packaging up an application with its dependencies. Container technology does not mandate how the application is to be executed. However there are container platforms which allow you to execute containers in a way that is serverless.

That definition might seem like a bit of a tongue twister, but I’m precise for a good reason, as it is important to understand clearly the boundaries of the two technologies. There’s some nuance involved in answering todays question, so let’s break things down. Let’s start with containers and what they are.

Cloud Native Software Engineering Newsletter #17 (October 2020)

Hello my cloud engineering friends,

We are back with another installation of the monthly Cloud Native Software Engineering Newsletter! Where I ferret around the the interwebs reading as much cloud engineering content as I can get my hands on, so that—quite frankly—you don’t have to waste your time doing the same! I always underestimate the amount of content that comes out in a month—and I read everything I share—so putting the newsletter together can take a lot of effort, but I hope that you find it valuable.

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There’s been some interesting goings on over this last month of October. And—as always—I like to give each article a little of my own context, narrative and takes. There’s a few meaty articles in this months round up, so grab yourself a coffee, settle down and let’s dig into the happenings from October 2020.

Lambda Extensions: What Are They, And Should You Care?

This month AWS announced a new feature called Lambda Extensions (Source). AWS release so many features it is hard to keep up. With each new feature we often need to ask ourselves, is this something we should pay attention to or not?

What is Lambda Extensions, and who should pay attention to it? Lambda Extensions are an addition to the Lambda Runtime API, allowing additional control, setup and tooling. Lambda Extensions are mainly aimed at third-party vendors, particularly monitoring but also configuration and security. Lambda Extensions will also be interesting to heavy users of AWS Lambda functions who need standardisation or greater control on their setups. 

Now let’s get into more detail on what Lambda Extensions actually are to help you understand whether or not they might be useful in your situation. Let’s start by looking at a core difficulty that Lambda Extensions help solve.

Can You Stop An AWS Lambda Execution?

There are a few reasons why you may want to stop a Lambda. Either the Lambda is buggy or performing incorrectly, your Lambda is reading an event source like kinesis and you need to pause it, or your Lambda is being constantly retried.

Can you stop an AWS Lambda Function? There is no way to stop a currently executing AWS Lambda function. But you can stop future invocations by setting concurrency to zero or disabling integrations. 

So, there’s a few different aspects to the topic of stopping a Lambda. Let me take you through some different options for stopping your AWS Lambda function so that you can decide which one makes most sense for your situation.