Introduction To AWS Lambda For Dummies

Introduction To AWS Lambda For Dummies

Best practices and need-to-knows for understanding and using AWS Lambdas. There’s something really human about software. It grows not in the direction that is most efficient, in terms of resource utilization, but it seeks simplicity. AWS Lambda offers a completely different paradigm for you to design/run your apps. Before we delve deeper into the core of AWS Lambda let’s put, in simpler terms, what it will help us achieve.

There’s something really human about software. It grows not in the direction that is most efficient, in terms of resource utilization, but it seeks simplicity. AWS Lambda offers a completely different paradigm for you to design/run your apps. Before we delve deeper into the core of AWS Lambda let’s put, in simpler terms, what it will help us achieve.

Your application, or at least a certain part of it, involves doing a set of simple operations preceded by a real-world event. For example, there’s a request to view an html page and there’s a bit of Node.js code that executes in response to it. If that’s the case, then it is wasteful to have a web server like apache or nginx running 24/7 waiting for that event to occur and then perform an action in response to it.

This is illustrated rather well in this smbc comic.

Developer rendering himself comic strip

AWS Lambda is a solution to reduce this wastage of resources. It essentially spins up the service in response to an event. That is to say, your code sits out there as just a file and AWS keeps a lookout for a trigger event, which you are interested in. When that event occurs, then the code is executed and the required operations are carried out by your code. You are billed only for the amount of resources your program consumes, and for the time for which it runs.

The server doesn’t exist until the user goes out there to look for it! Which is termed as ‘serverless’ compute. A more proper term would be Function-as-a-Service (FaaS).

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