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Amazon CTO Werner Vogels
Amazon CTO Werner Vogels

As it becomes possible for applications to take in even more massive amounts of data, there’s a growing need for flexible tools to handle events that pop up along the way.

In a move to help developers respond to those events, Amazon revealed a new service called Lambda at its Re:Invent conference in Las Vegas today. The service is designed to make it easy for developers to quickly build applications that can take in triggers and easily output further actions without having to manage the infrastructure behind those apps.

Lambda_VideoThumbAmazon CTO Werner Vogels discussed an example use case for a photo sharing app that involved a user uploading an image to AWS’s S3 storage service, which triggers a Lambda event to pull metadata out of the image and add it to a database in DynamoDB. Lambda can then analyze the DynamoDB stream, and figure out what sorts of metadata is trending, then relay that information back to the app. Finally, if a user’s image is among those trending, Lambda can hook up to Amazon’s Simple Notification Service and send a user a push notification to inform them of the news.

In addition to that fairly tight loop, Lambda is also built to handle events that happen with less frequency. One of the key advantages of using it in that way is that it makes it easy for developers to get quick access to the compute resources they need at the time of an event, and then immediately scale down once something is over, reducing cost and the overhead of managing infrastructure.

Pricing for Lambda is based on the number of requests users send, along with how much compute time they use (charged per hundred milliseconds). The service starts at a free tier that supports 1 million free requests a month, and up to 3.2 million seconds of compute time. Users can sign up for access to the preview of Lambda here.

More coverage from he AWS event here: AWS teams with Intel to create its highest-performance cloud compute instance everAmazon launches EC2 Container Service to help developers manage Dockerized appsAmazon releases 3 internal development tools to AWS customers



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