AWS Architecture Blog

Updates to Serverless Architectural Patterns and Best Practices

September 8, 2021: Amazon Elasticsearch Service has been renamed to Amazon OpenSearch Service. See details.

As we sail past the halfway point between re:Invent 2018 and re:Invent 2019, I’d like to revisit some of the recent serverless announcements we’ve made. These are all complimentary to the patterns discussed in the re:Invent architecture track’s Serverless Architectural Patterns and Best Practices session.

AWS Event Fork Pipelines

AWS Event Fork Pipelines was announced in March 2019. Many customers use asynchronous event-driven processing in their serverless applications to decouple application components and address high concurrency needs. And in doing so, they often find themselves needing to backup, search, analyze, or replay these asynchronous events. That is exactly what AWS Event Fork Pipelines aims to achieve. You can plug them into a new or existing SNS topic used by your application and immediately address retention and compliance needs, gain new business insights, or even improve your application’s disaster recovery abilities.

AWS Event Fork Pipelines is a suite of three applications. The first application addresses event storage and backup needs by writing all events to an S3 bucket where they can be queried with services like Amazon Athena. The second is a search and analytics pipeline that delivers events to a new or existing Amazon ES domain, enabling search and analysis of your events. Finally, the third application is an event replay pipeline that can be used to reprocess messages should a downstream failure occur in your application. AWS Event Fork Pipelines is available in AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM) templates and are available in the AWS Serverless Application Repository (SAR). Check out our example e-commerce application on GitHub..

Amazon API Gateway Serverless Developer Portal

If you publish APIs for developers allowing them to build new applications and capabilities with your data, you understand the need for a developer portal. Also, in March 2019, we announced some significant upgrades to the API Gateway Serverless Developer Portal. The portal’s front end is written in React and is designed to be fully customizable.

The API Gateway Serverless Developer Portal is also available in GitHub and the AWS SAR. As you can see from the architecture diagram below, it is integrated with Amazon Cognito User Pools to allow developers to sign-up, receive an API Key, and register for one or more of your APIs. You can now also enable administrative scenarios from your developer portal by logging in as users belonging to the portal’s Admin group which is created when the portal is initially deployed to your account. For example, you can control which APIs appear in a customer’s developer portal, enable SDK downloads, solicit developer feedback, and even publish updates for APIs that have been recently revised.

AWS Lambda with Amazon Application Load Balancer (ALB)

Serverless microservices have been built by our customers for quite a while, with AWS Lambda and Amazon API Gateway. At re:Invent 2018 during Dr. Werner Vogel’s keynote, a new approach to serverless microservices was announced, Lambda functions as ALB targets.

ALB’s support for Lambda targets gives customers the ability to deploy serverless code behind an ALB, alongside servers, containers, and IP addresses. With this feature, ALB path and host-based routing can be used to direct incoming requests to Lambda functions. Also, ALB can now provide an entry point for legacy applications to take on new serverless functionality, and enable migration scenarios from monolithic legacy server or container-based applications.

Use cases for Lambda targets for ALB include adding new functionality to an existing application that already sits behind an ALB. This could be request monitoring by sending http headers to Elasticsearch clusters or implementing controls that manage cookies. Check out our demo of this new feature. For additional details, take a look at the feature’s documentation.

Security Overview of AWS Lambda Whitepaper

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the great work many of my colleagues have done in releasing the Security Overview of AWS Lambda Whitepaper. It is a succinct and enlightening read for anyone wishing to better understand the Lambda runtime environment, function isolation, or data paths taken for payloads sent to the Lambda service during synchronous and asynchronous invocations. It also has some great insight into compliance, auditing, monitoring, and configuration management of your Lambda functions. A must read for anyone wishing to better understand the overall security of AWS serverless applications.

I look forward to seeing everyone at re:Invent 2019 for more exciting serverless announcements!

Drew Dennis

Drew Dennis

Drew Dennis is a Global Solutions Architect with AWS based in McKinney, TX. He helps automotive companies leverage AWS for a variety of use cases including Analytics, Serverless, HPC, Migrations and Hybrid Architectures.