Going Serverless Without Being Rudderless: AWS Lambda
November 17, 2019

Going Serverless Without Being Rudderless: AWS Lambda

Benjamin Plotkin | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with AWS Lambda

Our university department is responsible for several web applications on campus that support student success, including providing online services for students directly, as well as supporting workflows and activities of other departments and divisions. As we move more and more of our applications into the AWS cloud, we have found Lambda to be a great way to simplify some of our web services and "housekeeping" processes; the fact that we're only charged for Lambda function calls, and not for the infrastructure which supports Lambda, helps us save on hosting costs, as well!
  • AWS Lambda is a welcoming platform, supporting several languages, including Java, Go, PowerShell, Node.js, C#, Python, and Ruby. And if you need to deploy a Lambda function in another language, AWS offers a Runtime API for integration.
  • We really appreciate how AWS Lambda is always-on for our functions, with only a brief "cold-start" waiting period the first time a function is called after being dormant.
  • In addition to only generating costs when it's actually being used, AWS Lambda really puts the "serverless" in serverless architecture, offering turnkey scaleability and high availability for our code with zero effort on our part.
  • Putting a significant portion of your codebase into AWS Lambda and taking advantage of the high level of integration with other AWS services comes with the risk of vendor lock-in.
  • While the AWS Lambda environment is "not your problem," it's also not at your disposal to extend or modify, nor does it preserve state between function executions.
  • AWS Lambda functions are subject to strict time limitations, and will be aborted if they exceed five minutes of execution time. This can be a problem for some longer-running tasks that are otherwise well-suited to serverless delivery.
  • AWS Lambda has allowed us to decommission several legacy API gateway application servers as we moved our synchronization processes into the cloud, reducing our management time and equipment spend.
  • Using AWS Lambda instead of a dedicated EC2 instance has helped us save hundreds of cloud hosting dollars every month.
  • The flexibility of AWS Lambda's wide range of supported programming languages has enabled our entire development team to take advantage of serverless infrastructure without the need to invest in learning a platform-specific language, saving time and increasing productivity.
Amazon consistently provides comprehensive and easy-to-parse documentation of all AWS features and services. Most development team members find what they need with a quick internet search of the AWS documentation available online. If you need advanced support, though, you might need to engage an AWS engineer, and that could be an unexpected (or unwelcome) expense.

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AWS Lambda is a great way to deploy smaller-scale data synchronization jobs and other "housekeeping" routines that don't require preservation of state. We use it to build API gateway tools used by our larger applications (many of which are hosted on AWS EC2 instances) and it's a perfect fit.

If you have complicated workflows that run a long time, or require state to be saved between function calls, AWS Lambda is probably not the right choice for a serverless solution.