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AWS Compute

AWS Lambda 101

Creating and Deleting simple Hello world Lambda function.

Lambda function Introduction

Lambda function is AWS offering commonly known for Function as a Service. AWS Lambda function help running code without provisioning or managing underline server. Many languages are supported by the Lambda function and the list is keep on growing. As of Jul2020, .Net, Go, Java, Node.js, Ruby, and my personal favorite Python among supported languages. Lambda is developed with high availability in mind and It is capable to scale during burstable requests.

We need to grant access to the Lambda function as per its use. Normally access is granted via the IAM role.

IAM Policy

Create a policy that will be able to create a log group and log stream. This is the basic execution rule required for the lambda function. Without this access, the Lambda function will not able to generate logs. Logging can be used for custom triggering events or tracking\debugging purposes.

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IAM Role

The role is created to grant permission for specific tasks. In case, the function needed to access S3 get access to add appropriate policy into a role or create a custom policy. Always grant Least Privilege to function as per AWS security best practice.

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Select newly created policy

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Attach appropriate policy(image-5). Adding role description and tags are good practice in IAM. Click on Create Role.

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Lambda function

To create Lambda function, Goto Services and select Lambda.

Click the Lambda function.

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We have three options to choose from. Simplest on “Author from scratch”. In this option we will create “Hello world function” will also verify logging is working as per expectation.

“Use a blueprint”: AWS already created lots of useful functions that we can use to get started. Like, returns current status on AWS Batch job or retrieve an object from S3.

“Browse serverless app repository”: This will deploy sample Lambda application from different application repository. We also can use a private repository to pull code from.

Select an appropriate runtime environment. A select role that we have created in image-5.

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The designer will guide you on how the Lambda function is triggered. It can be triggered by different events like SNS topics, SQS, or event cloud watch logs. There are multiple different ways to trigger the Lambda function.

The Lambda function can be used for batch-oriented work or scripting purposes, you can use cloud watch rule to trigger cloud function using crontab at scheduled interval.

A destination can be an SQS event or SNS topic or event cloud watch log stream. We can also upload a read file from S3 and upload it to S3 after performing transformation within the Lambda function.

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This Hello world function is very simple, if it’s invoked from webhook it will return status code 200 with the body “Hello from Lamda!” It also writes log into the log stream. “event” and “context” been used to get input values as well as get HTTP context information that invokes the Lambda function.

An environment variable can be used to pass any static parameter to function like incase of downloading a file from S3 bucket, bucket name. Or while writing data into Dynamodb database. Its table name.

For security reasons, do not add your “Access Key” or “Secret key” values as an environment variable. One shall still use an encrypted parameter store for this purpose.

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The handler is the most important config parameter in the Lambda function. It has two parts separated by period (.)(image-10). The first part is nothing but a file name and the second part is a function definition that will read when the Lambda function is invoked(image-8a). I kept handler value default but I always recommend giving some meaning full name.

Memory is the amount of memory dedicated to Lambda function this depends upon activity you are performing and can be changed.

Timeout value determines how much time this function runs before times out. If the activity you like to perform will take more than the timeout value specified the Lambda function will be abruptly stopped. So, give some buffer time in the timeout value.

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Be default, the Lambda function does not require to be part of any VPC but in case Lambda functions needed to be able to communicate with EC2 instances or on-premise environment for data communication or invoking lambda function from EC2 instance we needed VPC configuration. You can still trigger the Lambda function using AWS SDK with VPC configuration.

It’s very common to store output data generated via Lambda function and store into Elastic Filesystem(EFS) since the Lambda function does not have static storage. We can use temporary ephemeral storage that lasted till the execution of function so EFS can be used to store all output.

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Permissions tab allows you to verify actions permitted for Lambda function on a given resource. The dropdown can be used to select on multiple resources. As per the below screenshot, the Lambda function can create Log group, Log stream, and able to put log messages on Amazon cloud watch logs.

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We can trigger the lambda function with different triggers. Here, I am creating a test event that will trigger the lambda function. Click on “Configure test events”. We are not sending any input value to function while invoking it. Key-value pair can be used (image-14) to send values to the Lambda function.

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Once an event is created click on “Test” to invoke the Lambda function.

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The log output is shown below. Click on the “logs” URL to open the Cloud watch log group created by the Lambda function. This Log group will be available.

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Lambda event will create either a new Log stream or update into the existing log stream. Logs are put into the Log stream(image-17). Each log stream consists of many logs.

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Deleting Lambda function

To delete the lambda function just select the Lambda function click on Actions and Delete.

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The Lambda function successfully deleted.

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Cloud watch Log group and streams are not deleted by default. You can delete logs from cloud watch or exported into S3 for a cheaper cost.

To delete the log group. Go to Cloud watch select logs -> Log groups and select the appropriate log group names in the below format. Click on Action and delete Log groups.

/aws/lambda/<functionname>

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Conclusion

Lambda function is the best way to run short jobs or create a script to run. This can each work with a webhook API or SNS/SQS environment. Have fun exploring multiple lambda function usage.

By Yogesh Agrawal

Google Certified Professional | Cloud Enthusiastic | Solution Designer | Love to do woodwork & Oil Painting

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