Exciting Serverless Wins with Agility and Scale

re:Invent 2020 Week 2

Farrah Campbell

This year re:Invent is a marathon rather than a sprint, and all of us are working hard to maintain enthusiasm over three weeks. The good news is there’s lots of great material in the talks this week, and I’d like to go over some of my favorites.

Building revolutionary applications the Serverless way

Ajay Nair, director of AWS Lambda, guided us through how in 2020 Lambda has continuously enabled new use cases and workload patterns while improving performance, portability, cost efficiency, and usability. Or as I call it, the Serverless Revolution.

While I think it’s hard to verify a ‘development speed’ I can say that the lower cost estimates do sound accurate. Everyone considering using Lambda considers a ‘good but expensive’ option, but everyone who is using Lambda Functions has seen major savings.


Thousands of companies use Lambda everyday, from Netflix and Univsion to LuluLemon and iRobot. This still blows me away. A day of online shopping and watching streaming content probably kicks off hundreds of serverless events.

Ajay is truly passionate about the future of Lambda and that comes through in his talk. His positivity is well-founded and I can’t wait to see what next year holds.

How Erickson Living built a COVID-19 outbreak management solution

As innovators in independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care, Erickson Living responded to the COVID-19 outbreak by building an infectious disease management system with the AWS Data Lab to prevent the spread of the virus.

Everyone early on in the pandemic was building little hackathon projects for COVID-19 tracking, but Erickson was trying to centralize data and deliver it at scale.

The talk was a tour of Erickson Living’s serverless demographic data lake built using AWS Glue, Amazon Athena, Amazon Elasticsearch Service, and other AWS services.

The project achieved massive scale quite quickly with tens of thousands of resident records managed within the system. As we move into a world of vaccinations and more contact, these contact tracing tools will be critical.

Again, we see serverless as the entirety of the compute layer. This makes sense for a product that needs to scale smoothly and be up and running within weeks.


Paving the way toward automated driving with BMW Group

BMW Group collects 1 billion+ km of anonymized perception data from its worldwide connected fleet of customer vehicles to develop safe and performant automated driving systems. We heard from Junjie Tang from AWS and Marc Neumann, Product Owner Data Engineering Automated Driving - BMW Group about how serverless is part of this story.

Anytime someone says serverless is a flash in the pan, I point out that S3 is serverless data storage, and S3 is still the dominant tool for data storage. In fact BMW group uses it as the basis for their data lake.

In this detailed talk (see the below data lake reference architecture) it was fascinating to see how anonymized driving data from the real world would be essential to creating automated driving in the future. As long as the robot drivers of the future aren’t basing their parallel parking skills on me!


Continue reading part two with Capital One and AXA>

serverless success stories

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