AWS Lambda pioneered serverless space. Many developers think that serverless is the future of development. It gives you the true pay-per-use model, relieves you from the maintenance and scaling of the backend infrastructure. But it also comes with challenges. One of those is its statelessness. You need to keep the state in an external data store. Unfortunately most of the popular data stores are connection based. But as we explained in this post, managing connections can become painful in serverless. That’s why, we have developed a high performance REST API on top of Upstash Redis. In this blog post, I will implement a very basic stateful api (page counter) on AWS Lambda and Upstash Redis using the REST API.
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One of the best things about the serverless is its ability to scale even in case of huge traffic spikes. But unfortunately, scaling is not free both financially and technically. That’s why developers need to control their applications’ scalability. Here the main reasons you will need a rate limiting mechanism in your serverless application:
1- Protect your resources: If you’re providing a public API, traffic spikes can degrade the quality of the service, and may lead to a service outage for all your users. You need to protect your system against such cascading failures as well as self-inflicted Ddos incidents. A bug in your application can trigger such problems in your system. An internal process which retries an endpoint indefinitely in case of a failure can easily exhaust your resources.
2- Manage user quotas: You may want to define quotas for your users for fair use of your services. Also you may need quotas if you provide your services in different pricing tiers.
3- Control the cost: There are many real life examples how an uncontrolled system can cause large bills. This is quite a risk for serverless applications thanks its highly scalable nature. Rate limiting will help you control these costs.