What is AWS Lambda?
DevOps by Timothy Hudson Tags : ,

Cloud computing is extremely useful for many reasons, but one of the most valuable aspects is how versatile it is. It provides a framework for companies to make cloud applications that can be used by internal employees, customers, and more. But these applications often have very complex communication requirements, whether that is transactions or file repository needs. AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without you having to provide servers or infrastructure. This article is going to go into some brief detail regarding AWS Lambda and its purpose, but keep in mind that this will be no substitute for a dedicated guide.

To put it simply, Lambda is an application that rests in the cloud, and executes code automatically when certain conditions are met in an application that you are running with AWS. For instance, let’s say you have an application that requires a call to a database. Maybe a user has to submit data for storage or request data from the database. If you were running this application yourself, you’d have to use your own infrastructure or servers to make sure it is available at all times. But AWS Lambda is serverless thanks to residing in the cloud, and is always ready to respond. With AWS Lambda, the web applications you make with Amazon Web Services will run the proper code whenever it is required. It also ensures that response times for these web applications are as fast as possible. Below is a simple example of how Lambda works; when the right trigger within an application, in this case a photo being uploaded, occurs, the code you have uploaded to Lambda to follow that trigger is executed.

That being said, AWS Lambda is a bit of an automation tool, taking care of a major part of processing for a web development team. You can upload the code you want to be executed, and Lambda will carry it out when the application requires it to be done, taking out some of the work for the management team. Of course, the code has to be compatible with Lambda, but there are many supported computer languages, including C#, Java, or Python.

As far as payment is concerned, AWS Lambda charges by a pay as you go system. You are only charged when code is actually executed by Lambda, so you don’t have to pay more money if it isn’t being used. In fact, if a certain minimum threshold of executions aren’t met, you may not be charged at all.

Finally, keep in mind that you will need to know how to code, or have someone that knows how under your employ, in order to make use of AWS Lambda. It may be a very convenient tool for managing your web services, but only if you have the know-how to make it do what you want. Of course, if you are looking into things like cloud hosting and serverless frameworks, chances are you already have that skill or someone who does in your employ. 

Just keep in mind that Lambda is a tool that will automate some aspects of your web applications, but it won’t do everything for you. Know how it can ease your burden and keep your expectations tame.