Skip to main content

Serverless Architecture with AWS Lambda, API Gateway, Cloudfront, S3 and DynamoDB


If 2015 saw the rise of Docker Containers & Micro-services then 2016 is undoubtedly going to be about Serverless architecture.

Late in 2015 AWS announced a preview of a service called AWS Lambda moving from a pure IaaS provider into the PaaS world with one feel swoop. Now AWS is releasing so many new services and features a week that you may have missed this, but in my opinion it is a game changer and I’m going to try to demonstrate why.

What on earth is Lambda?

“AWS Lambda is a compute service that runs your code in response to events and automatically manages the underlying compute resources for you.”

“When using AWS Lambda, you are responsible only for your code. AWS Lambda manages the compute fleet that offers a balance of memory, CPU, network, and other resources.”

Just think about those statements for a second, 

In developer terms a Lambda is simply a single function with an input and output, forget microservices this is a nanoservice. 

At the time of writing you can write your Lambdas in Node.js, Java or Python but I would expect support for other languages to be coming soon although I don’t have high hopes of .NET being supported anytime soon given the memory overhead.

AWS Lambda on it’s own is not very interesting but it’s the wealth of integrations with other AWS Services where the power comes. 

Supported services:

  • API Gateway
  • Dynamo DB Streams
  • S3
  • SNS
  • SES
  • Cognito
  • Cloud Trail
  • CloudFormation
  • CloudWatch 
  • Kinesis

More on Lambda Event Sources.

The pricing model is very interesting and is charged per 100 milliseconds and allocated memory.


Enter a truly serverless architecture. To make this possible the key integration is with API Gateway which allows to execute Lambas in response to incoming HTTP requests, meaning you’re entire API backend can be developed this way (without a single EC2 Instance, or Docker container in sight).

Single Page Application Example

I’m going to demonstrate at a high level how you could implement a completely serverless single page application using just a few AWS services. 

Given your typical single page application you would need to use the following AWS services:

  • S3
    • Responsible for storing static web assets HTML, JavaScript, CSS & Images.
    • WebsiteHosting enabled
  • API Gateway
    • Used to define the HTTP Endpoints used by the Web Client
  • Cloudfront
    • CDN for serving web assets using S3 as the origin
    • CDN for the API Gateway optimize latency between the end user and the origin
  • AWS Lambda
    • Functions which are run when API Gateway endpoints are called.
  • DynamoDB
    • Used to store the data

From a high-level this is what the architecture looks like.




I’ve attempted to demonstrate a very simple example about how you can make use of AWS Lambda today to implement a serverless architecture, however this only scratches the surface of what is possible and in my next post I will expand on this example and show how you can implement more complex serverless implementations.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing and they were a few things which I found annoying which I hope AWS will resolve in the future.



Popular posts from this blog

ASP.NET MVC Release Candidate - Upgrade issues - Spec#

First of all, great news that the ASP.NET MVC Release Candidate has finally been released.  Full credit to the team for the hard work on this.  You can get the download here  However this is the first time I have had upgrade issues.  Phil Haack has noted some of the issues here   If like me you have lot's of CTP's and Add-Ins then you might experience some pain in Uninstalling MVC Beta on Vista SP1  This is the list of Add-Ins / CTP's I had to uninstall to get it to work  Spec# PEX Resharper 4.1  Sourcelinks ANTS Profiler 4   Can't say I'm too impressed as it wasted over an hour of my time.  As it turned out Spec# turned out to be the offending culprit, it's forgiveable to have issues with a third party product but a Microsoft one? Guess no-one on the ASP.NET team has Spec# installed. 

Freeing Disk Space on C:\ Windows Server 2008

  I just spent the last little while trying to clear space on our servers in order to install .NET 4.5 . Decided to post so my future self can find the information when I next have to do this. I performed all the usual tasks: Deleting any files/folders from C:\windows\temp and C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Local\Temp Delete all EventViewer logs Save to another Disk if you want to keep them Remove any unused programs, e.g. Firefox Remove anything in C:\inetpub\logs Remove any file/folders C:\Windows\System32\LogFiles Remove any file/folders from C:\Users\%UserName%\Downloads Remove any file/folders able to be removed from C:\Users\%UserName%\Desktop Remove any file/folders able to be removed from C:\Users\%UserName%\My Documents Stop Windows Update service and remove all files/folders from C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution Deleting an Event Logs Run COMPCLN.exe Move the Virtual Memory file to another disk However this wasn’t enough & I found the most space was

Consuming the SSRS ReportExecutionService from a .NET Client

  I’ve just finished writing a nice wrapper which internally calls the SSRS ReportExecutionService to generate reports. Whilst it was fairly simple to implement there has been some major changes between 2005 and 2008 and the majority of online and documentation is based on the 2005 implementation. The most important change is that the Report Server and Report Manager are no longer hosted in IIS which will be a welcomed change to Sys Admins but makes the security model and hosting model vastly different. So far I’ve yet to figure out how to allow Anonymous Access, if anyone knows how to do this leave a comment and it will be most appreciated. Getting Started To get started you’ll want to add a service reference to http://localhost/ReportServer_SQL2008/ReportExecution2005.asmx where ReportServer_SQL2008 is the name you configure in the Reporting Services Configuration Manager. The Web Application files are located in C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSRS10.SQL2008\R