Lambda permits you to run code, also known as functions, without owning or managing servers. Users only pay for the compute time consumed.

As part of its effort to become the enterprise cloud of choice for innovative developers and innovators, Amazon Web Services introduced Lambda in 2014. The first developer preview version was released in 2015, and the general availability version was announced in February 2016.

Developers who want to use Lambda can use a widely adopted programming language such as Java or write their code in C++ or C#. The minimum instance of a Lambda function has to be a virtual machine. You can scale it up and down, but you can't use it as an EC2 instance.

Lambda is meant to make the job of development more accessible.

Here's the scenario you must explain to new developers about Lambda:

You write a function that schedules a job for the next 5 minutes. The code waits until 5 minutes have passed and then repeats the process.

By using Lambda, you can avoid running the job server, and you don't have to maintain the overhead associated with managing a server.

What is AWS Lambda?

AWS Lambda is a cloud-based service that allows you to run code without provisioning or managing servers. Lambda executes your code only when needed and scales automatically to run your code with high availability. It enables developers to build applications and services quickly without having to provision or manage servers. You can use Lambda to build serverless applications, including backend services, event-driven applications, and chatbots.

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When to Use Lambda?

Lambda is a serverless computing service in AWS that can run code without provisioning or managing servers. It is often used for event-driven applications, where code is triggered by events such as user uploads, modifications to data, or system changes. Lambda can also be used for data processing, file conversions, website back ends, and more. Lambda is a great choice for code that is event driven or needs to be run in a highly scalable environment.

Lambda Features

The following are some of the features of AWS Lambda:

  • Serverless: AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that runs your code in response to events and automatically manages the underlying compute resources for you.
  • Scaling: AWS Lambda can scale to hundreds of thousands of concurrent executions, allowing you to build highly parallel, event-driven applications.
  • Event-Driven: AWS Lambda enables you to respond to events such as file uploads and changes to data in an Amazon S3 bucket.
  • Cost-Effective: With AWS Lambda, you only pay for the computing time you use. There is no charge when your code is not running.
  • Flexibility: AWS Lambda supports a variety of languages and runtimes, including Node.js, Java, Python, and C#. This allows you to use the language and libraries of your choice.

How Does AWS Lambda Works?

AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that runs code in response to events and automatically manages the compute resources required by that code. 

  • When an event is triggered, Lambda will execute your code. It spins up the necessary computing resources, runs your code, and then tears down the resources after it’s done. You only pay for the computing time you consume- there is no charge when your code is not running. 
  • AWS Lambda can be triggered by events from AWS services such as Amazon S3, Amazon Dynamodb, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon SNS, and Amazon Cognito, as well as any web or mobile apps. 
  • The code running in Lambda can be written in Node.js, Python, Java, Go, or C#, and can be used to respond to events, transform and process data, integrate with third-party APIs, or build serverless backends.

Advantages of AWS Lambda

There are other advantages, such as ease of testing, better scalability, and lower costs.

Lambda functions have the signature method EchoRequest (string argc, argv); where EchoRequest returns an event that Echo can broadcast to its event senders.

  • The first parameter of EchoRequest is an event source to which Lambda will listen.
  • The second parameter is the function to be called to start a new Lambda function execution.
  • The third parameter is the function itself, which has the same signature as the Lambda function and is meant to describe the code you intend to run.
  • The fourth parameter is a list of event senders.

Lambda lets you write the code on a development server and then send an HTTP request to Lambda, which executes the code.

You create an Amazon Web Services (AWS) dashboard and add a Lambda function to create a Lambda function. The Lambda dashboard links to the Lambda console, and in the Lambda console, you enable the function, set the function's name, and link to the Amazon EC2 API with your access credentials.

Lambda can invoke the function and control the execution of the code by changing the URL of the Lambda function and sending and receiving the message Echo for any message Echo receives or when it receives a lambda function invocation.

By setting the headers of an HTTP request to Echo, Lambda can process the request. You can also send Lambda function responses with a JSON body and specify a single JSON response for all requests.

To do this, add a few lines of code to your function that you can send to Lambda to respond to any received request.

Here are some sample functions that you can use to create a function that waits 5 minutes for a text message to be delivered:

void wait5minutes(string eventName, string token){

Amazon.Message.Receive(eventName, token, 5);

}

void postMessage(string message, string body){

Amazon.Message.Send(message, body);

}

And here are some sample functions that you can use to create a function that listens for an email message:

void postEmail(string body){

Amazon.Message.Receive(message, body, 5);

}

Here are some sample functions that you can use to create a function that sends an email message to any email address in the recipient address book:

void sendEmail(string message){

Amazon.Email.Send(message, toAddressList, fromAddressList, subject, fromBody, body);

}

Many AWS services use Lambda, but the following are the main ones.

  • AWS API Gateway: AWS Lambda uses AWS API Gateway to send messages and perform requests.
  • AWS lambda_external interface: An external interface allows Lambda to send messages to external services.
  • AWS Lambda groups: Your Lambda function is grouped with other Lambda functions, making it easier to handle a more significant number of requests.
  • AWS Lambda functions: AWS Lambda functions have the signature EchoRequest(string eventName, string token, list<AWS.LambdaEvents> events) where eventName is the name of the AWS Lambda event that you are requesting to be executed, a token is the request header, and list<AWS.LambdaEvents> is the list of AWS Lambda events you request to be completed.

Lambda functions are meant to respond with a message Echo; in other words, they respond with an email message or with JSON-formatted JSON data.

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Create an AWS Lambda Project

The following steps will help you to create an AWS Lambda project successfully.

  • Open the AWS Management Console and navigate to the AWS Lambda service.
  • Click the “Create Function” button.
  • Select the “Author from scratch” option.
  • Enter a name for your Lambda function.
  • Set the runtime as “Node.js” or your desired language.
  • Under “Permissions”, choose the “Create new role from the template” option.
  • Enter a name for the custom role and select “Basic Lambda permissions” as the policy template.
  • Enter a description for the function and click “Create function”.
  • Select the code editor of your choice and begin coding the logic that you want your Lambda function to execute.
  • When you’re done, click “Save” to create the Lambda function.

Implement the Handler Method

The handler method is the primary function of an AWS Lambda project. It defines the entry point for the code and receives the event object that triggered the Lambda function. And also the handler specifies the code that should be executed when the function is invoked.

The basic syntax of the handler method is as follows:

  • The event object contains information about the specific event that triggered the Lambda function. This event object could be a web request, an API call, or something else.
  • The context object provides information about the AWS Lambda environment, including the function version and other details.
  • The callback parameter is a function that is used to return the result of the Lambda function. It receives two parameters, an error (or null) and the result of the function.

Allow Lambda to Assume an IAM Role

IAM Roles are a way to permit your AWS Lambda functions to access other AWS services. When you create an IAM role, you specify what actions the role can perform and what resources it has access to. You can then attach the role to a Lambda function, and Lambda will assume the role when it executes your code. This gives your function the ability to call other AWS services on your behalf.

  • To allow Lambda to assume an IAM role, you must first create an IAM role that has the permissions necessary for the Lambda function to perform its task.
  • Next, you must create a trusting relationship between the IAM role and the Lambda function. This trust relationship is established by adding an inline policy to the IAM role that allows the Lambda function to assume the role. This policy must include the ARN of the Lambda function and the IAM role.
  • To enable the Lambda function to assume the IAM role, you must add the following statement to the Lambda function’s configuration:

"Principal": {

"Service": "lambda.amazonaws.com"

},

"Action,": "sts: AssumeRole"

  • Finally, you must add the IAM role’s ARN to the Lambda function’s execution role.

IAM roles are a secure way to grant permissions to your Lambda functions because you can tightly control what actions the role can perform and what resources it has access to. Additionally, IAM roles are automatically rotated, so you don't have to worry about managing credentials yourself.

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Getting Started With Amazon EC2

An EC2 instance is needed to execute your Lambda functions. If you want to test a Lambda function, you can use the Lambda function test case.

For a production-ready Lambda application, you will need an Amazon EC2 instance using the AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) that you deploy your Lambda function to, which is on the same availability zone as the EC2 instance you are testing.

We recommend testing your application on a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) with a load balancer in front of your Lambda function.

Your Lambda function is launched in a Docker container. You create a container instance, configure the containers you want to launch, and then find a container instance that you configure with your Lambda function.

  • AWS Storage Gateway
  • AWS AWS CloudFront
  • AWS Route53

These AWS services come with a free tier that allows you to host a single Amazon S3 endpoint. You can create a server with a single S3 endpoint and point your Lambda function to the Amazon S3 endpoint.

AWS supports three kinds of AMIs: Standard, High, and Enterprise. You can view and change the AMI type in the AWS Management Console or the AWS Console. Please refer to this documentation for more information on setting up and using an AMI.

What is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)?

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is an on-demand, hyperscale compute service built on the .NET virtual machine. You can run your Lambda functions on a single server, a cluster of servers, or an aggregate of server instances.

What is AWS CloudFront?

AWS CloudFront is a Content Distribution Network (CDN) that helps you extend your web services, like your Lambda functions, to users on-demand across any device. You can use the AWS CloudFront to enable CDN-like caching of your services, such as uploading and serving assets from a remote location to users on-demand across any device.

What is Amazon Route 53?

Amazon Route 53 is a DNS service that lets you extend the reach of your AWS services to the end-user. Amazon Route 53 supports static and dynamic DNS, provides a Web Service Protocol routing capability, and supports a range of route rules that define the content delivery policies of your web services.

What is Amazon CloudWatch?

Amazon CloudWatch is an AWS service that provides data aggregation and visualization tools. CloudWatch is also a monitoring service. For a detailed description of the CloudWatch service, please refer to the AWS documentation. CloudWatch provides several metrics that you can use to monitor your Lambda function's health and troubleshoot any issues:

  • A metric indicating region. If your Lambda function is running fine, you probably won't need a metric like this. If your Lambda function is not working correctly, you might want to try different regions. The metric will tell you what region your Lambda function is running on. 
  • A metric that tells you how many users are accessing your Lambda function. If your Lambda function is not performing well, you will want to track the number of requests per second made to your Lambda function, not just when your Lambda function starts to perform poorly. The most important thing to remember is that the number of requests per second is more important than the total number.
  • A metric that tells you how much memory your Lambda function is consuming. You can keep track of the memory your Lambda function is using to give you an idea of the bottlenecks and resources that might be available. 
  • The other metric you will want to look at is the response time. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want to understand where the bottlenecks are to eliminate them as soon as possible.
  • A metric tells you how often the Lambda function is asked for resources. The Lambda function will not be asking for resources continuously, so you want to track the amount of time the Lambda function is not being requested for resources.

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Getting Started With Lambda Functions

I recommend that you look at the AWS Lambda Service Brief that explains how to create and configure a Lambda function. If you're unsure which AWS services to use for the Lambda function, I recommend you first create a list of AWS services that you want to use (https://docs.aws.amazon.com/lambda/latest/dg/welcome.html).

AWS Lambda functions are based on Node.js, so it's essential to create an environment to run your Node.js application. I recommend creating a Node.js environment that runs on Linux and configuring it to run on AWS Linux VMs. That is a suitable environment in which to set up the Lambda function. Consult the official Node.js documentation or consider using a template service like Jenkins.

Next, you need to create your Lambda function. The Lambda API is available as an S3 bucket, accessible through an API gateway. The S3 bucket is straightforward to access. Create an account with S3, and you will be able to access the API gateway as a browser.

You will need to set up an environment to run the Lambda function. You can configure an environment with either Ansible or YAML files. YAML has become my go-to tool to set up AWS projects based on Ansible. YAML files are used for AWS Lambda functions that runYAML on an AWS region that you don't control.

Once you have your S3 bucket and environment setup, you are ready to run your Lambda function. You will need to go to the S3 bucket you created and start the Lambda function.

When you have your Lambda function running, you will have a bunch of metrics to work with. You can look at the average number of requests per second, the response time, and the number of connections per second.

Some Lambda functions run asynchronous, which means they can be scheduled using an AWS API Gateway. Other Lambda functions can be run using the AWS Lambda Service with real-time requirements. 

You can also get information on latency in addition to response time. This metric is critical when your Lambda function is serving real-time requirements. You will want to get as close to the millisecond as you can when delivering a response to the user. In the example, the Lambda function responds to requests within half a second. Therefore, you need to be able to respond within half a second.

Lambda functions are one of the most cost-effective solutions for consuming Amazon services, and it is also the easiest solution for starting your apps.

AWS Lambda Function Statistics

To get the most out of your Lambda function, you have to collect information about its use. If you have any feedback or suggestions on what can be managed, please add your comments below.

I looked at the Analytics.io statistics for a sample of 95,232 Lambda functions that run on the AWS Elastic Compute Cloud.

Some of the common metrics you should collect are:

  • Timing
  • Call-Status
  • Success-Rate

On the AWS cloud, you can determine the successful status of each Lambda function by reading the following information from the console:

{ "LambdaFunctionId": "ami-7f2f0b23e," "FunctionID": "f2414c5c-9405-4fb2-ba11-2ad399f65fc6", "TimerCount": [0], "Tasks": [], "RunMetric": [], "Description": "Best Result (0)" }

In this example, the result is success with a failure rate of 0.27.

Create an Amazon S3 Bucket for Your Lambda Code

To create an Amazon S3 bucket for Lambda code:

  • Sign in to the AWS Management Console and you can open the Amazon S3 console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/s3/
  • Click the “Create bucket” button.
  • Enter a unique name for your bucket and select the appropriate region for your bucket.
  • Click the “Create” button to create the bucket.
  • On the “Set permissions” page, choose “Everyone” in the “Grantee” drop-down list and select “List objects” in the “Permissions” drop-down list.
  • Click the “Save” button to save the permissions settings.
  • Upload your Lambda code to the newly created bucket.

Upload the Code

You can upload the lambda code in two ways:

  • Upload the code directly in the AWS Lambda console: (the AWS Command-Line Interface, or the AWS SDK)
  • Upload the code using AWS CLI: (AWS lambda update-function-code—function-name—zip-file).

Process for Creating AWS Lambda Function

The following processes are the primary process of creating the AWS lambda function:

  • Sign in to the AWS Management Console.
  • Click the Create AWS console function button.
  • Enter a name and description for your Lambda function.
  • Select a runtime environment.
  • Choose a role or create a new one that grants the necessary permissions to your function.
  • Upload the code for your function.
  • (Optional) Configure advanced settings, such as memory and timeout.
  • Click Create a function to save your function and run it.

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Invoke the Lambda Function

To invoke a Lambda function, you can use the AWS Lambda console, the AWS Lambda API, or the AWS SDKs. 

  • To invoke a function using the Lambda console, you simply need to specify the name of the function and any input parameters. 
  • If you want to invoke a function using the AWS Lambda API, you will need to provide the Arn of the function as well as any input parameters. 
  • AWS ARN (Amazon Resource Name) is a unique identifier that is used to identify AWS resources, such as Amazon S3 buckets, Amazon EC2 instances, and Amazon RDS databases. An Arn contains information about the resource, such as its type, its name, or the AWS Region in which it resides. You can use ARN to refer to a particular resource, or you can use it in a policy to allow access to a particular resource.
  • Finally, if you are using the AWS SDKs, you will need to provide the Arn of the function, the region in which the function is located, and any input parameters.

Building Lambda Functions With Python

Python is a great language for building Lambda functions. There are a few things to keep in mind when building Lambda functions with Python. 

  • First, make sure you include all of the necessary libraries in your function's zip file. 
  • Second, Lambda functions have a timeout of five minutes, so make sure your code can run within that time limit. 
  • Finally, remember to give your function a name and description so you can easily find it later.

Building Lambda functions with Python is a great way to get started with serverless computing. With a little practice, you'll be able to create powerful functions that can handle any task you throw at them.

Building Lambda Functions With Java

Lambda functions are a great way to improve your Java code. They can help you write more concise and readable code, and can also improve your code's performance.

To build a lambda function, you first need a functional interface. Once you have a functional interface, you can create a lambda function by implementing the abstract method.

Lambda functions can be used to replace anonymous inner classes. They can also be used to create more readable and concise code. When used correctly, they can also help improve your code's performance.

FAQs

1. How do you use lambda in PySpark?

PySpark is a powerful framework for large-scale data processing. It allows you to use sophisticated algorithms and techniques, such as machine learning and streaming, to analyze data at scale. Lambda is a key feature of PySpark that allows you to write code concisely and expressively.

Lambda is especially useful for processing data in PySpark. For example, you can use lambda to filter data, perform aggregations, and even join data from different sources. Lambda can also be used to create new columns in a data frame. Added to this, PySpark's lambda functions are easy to use and can greatly improve your productivity when processing data.

2. Does PySpark work on AWS?

Yes, PySpark can be used on Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS provides a managed Spark platform called Amazon EMR to process big data workloads, including those using PySpark.

3. How do I use PySpark on AWS?

To use PySpark on AWS, you will first need to create an Amazon EMR (Elastic MapReduce) cluster and then install Spark on the cluster. After that, you can connect to the cluster using ssh and access the PySpark shell from the command line. You can then use PySpark to run your scripts, analyze data, and perform other tasks.

4. Which IDE is best for PySpark?

There are a few different Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) that you can use for PySpark development. In general, any IDE that supports Python development will be able to work with PySpark. 

The two most popular IDEs for PySpark development are Jupyter Notebook and Apache Zeppelin. 

  • Jupyter Notebook is a popular open-source IDE that is widely used for Python development. 
  • Apache Zeppelin is another popular open-source IDE that has specific support for PySpark development.
  • If you are just starting with PySpark development, then Jupyter Notebook is the best choice. It is a bit simpler to set up and use than Apache Zeppelin. 
  • However, if you are already familiar with Apache Zeppelin, then you may want to use that IDE for your PySpark development.
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Summary

Lambda is really easy to set up and can provide real-time AWS services with minimal effort. We've just covered the basics of setting up your first Lambda function. You can use Lambda for lots of other things, including serving up a page on your website and delivering an email.

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About the Author

Matthew DavidMatthew David

Matt is a Digital Leader at Accenture. His passion is a combination of solving today's problems to run more efficiently, adjusting focus to take advantage of digital tools to improve tomorrow and move organizations to new ways of working that impact the future.

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