AWS re:Invent 2022 – AWS Attaches Serverless Option to Popular Services

C. Dunlap Research Director

Summary Bullets:

• Lambda advancements further Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) DevOps agenda.

• AWS couples serverless computing with popular data management and app development tools.

During AWS re:Invent 2022, company executives emphasized how customers can leverage its high-productivity DevOps platforms and data management tools to move into the next phase of digitization and app modernization. This challenging phase of moving mission-critical applications into production is one that demands infrastructure configuration abstraction, greater participation of non-coders and data scientists, and data management, which includes automation and security.

The company made a number of announcements to support these concepts, including new serverless capabilities (i.e., Lambda SnapStart) and data management platform (i.e., DataZone), along with an observability/resiliency strategy update (i.e., AWS CloudWatch).

One theme in particular tied together numerous technology initiatives: coaxing adoption of AWS services by simplifying underlying cloud management, scaling, and elasticity complexities required of mission-critical cloud apps. These infrastructure abstractions will be markedly improved through AWS Lambda serverless computing advancements. One new Lambda feature in particular, SnapStart, helps to significantly reduce serverless cold-start latency caused when a function lies idle for some time and the initiation process needs to reboot. The speedier process is meant to encourage more AWS users to consider Lambda as a viable option for running modernized workloads. While AWS outlined minimal updates to Lambda, the company announced that several of its AWS services are now being coupled with serverless options. These include:

  • Amazon Inspector, a vulnerability management service, which now supports lambda functions. The automated agent continually scans Amazon EC2 and container workloads for software vulnerabilities.
  • Amazon OpenSearch Service now supports serverless computing to help abstract infrastructure scaling configuration. The preview version of the AWS managed service consists of real-time app monitoring, log analytics, a website search engine, and a visualization dashboard for real-time monitoring.
  • Newly announced AWS Application Composer represents a low-code tool for accelerating the creation of serverless applications. The new service couples nicely with AWS EventBridge to stitch AWS services together, helping customers avoid coding through composable apps.
  • The company shared its strategy to increasingly couple Lambda with its observability and resiliency solutions (branded AWS CloudWatch) to better compete in this emerging space. Currently application platform management/observability partners, including Dynatrace and Cisco AppDynamics, help AWS fulfill this solution area.

The notion of event-driven architectures (the composition of loosely coupled services that process events in real-time) plays nicely with a serverless computing structure. The term was referred to numerous times by AWS CTO Werner Vogels. He described a world where modern workflows are easily created through composable apps via loosely coupled components. Add low-code tools to the mix, and enterprises will have the option of involving a broader set of participants (i.e., citizen developers) to their digital transformation process.

The company’s strategy and events build on AWS’ earlier efforts. In spring of 2022, AWS announced an update to its popular AWS Amplify Studio development tool, which provides frontend developers with greater automation and serverless computing access to ease scalability requirements. The serverless computing focus also builds on the company’s 2021 release of a serverless computing option to support Amazon RedShift queries.

The year 2023 will be the year of serverless computing based on technology advancements and increased focus by key providers. The advanced application architecture has been at the forefront of other vendor announcements, oftentimes tied to data management solutions. Microsoft recently announced serverless compute capabilities attached to its Azure Databricks data solution. Cisco also recently added serverless computing support to its security products (i.e., FunctionClarity and Panoptica App). The increased activity around serverless architectures will benefit enterprises searching for access to a smoother development and deployment path for their modern apps.

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