AWS Lambda Delivers Cloud-Based, Zero Administration, Event Driven Computing

Amazon Web Services recently rolled out a service called AWS Lambda that promises to continue Amazon’s history of and reputation for disrupting contemporary cloud computing with yet another stunningly innovative product and service. AWS Lambda allows developers to dispense with the need to create persistent applications that reside on virtual machines or servers. Instead, developers create libraries of code that respond to incoming data streams and perform event-driven computing by leveraging predefined Lambda functions. Lambda functions represent code written in Node.js that execute in response to changes to Amazon S3, data feeds from Amazon Kinesis and updates to tables in Amazon DynamoDB. Developers grant Lambda functions permission to access specific AWS resources, thereby enabling them to activate select AWS infrastructure components as necessary to perform their application logic. Part of the magic of Lambda functions is that they spin up infrastructure components as needed in response to incoming data feeds, and subsequently shut them down when they are not being used, thereby conserving resources and minimizing costs.

An example of Lambda’s capability features the automated creation of thumbnails in response to images uploaded to the S3 platform. All this means that developers no longer need to worry about managing EC2 instances or installing database, application and orchestration frameworks. Computing is managed by AWS Lambda functions and its attendant zero-administration platform. As such, AWS Lambda brings the power of cloud-based event-driven computing to Amazon Web Services and continues Amazon’s tradition of simplifying developer involvement in the provisioning, configuration and management of IT infrastructures. Lambda’s backend infrastructure allows developers to focus on application development as opposed to the management of fleets of EC2 instances by empowering developers to create event-driven applications marked by the execution of code in response to predefined triggers within incoming data streams. The service is currently available in preview mode marked by limitations on the number of “concurrent function requests” and support for JavaScript in addition to Node.js.

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