AWS Lambda is a compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers. AWS Lambda executes your code only when needed and scales automatically, from a few requests per day to thousands per second. You pay only for the compute time you consume – there is no charge when your code is not running. With AWS Lambda, you can run code for virtually any type of application or backend service – all with zero administration.
AWS Lambda runs your code on a high-availability compute infrastructure and performs all of the administration of the compute resources, including server and operating system maintenance, capacity provisioning and automatic scaling, code monitoring and logging. All you need to do is supply your code in one of the languages that AWS Lambda supports (currently Node.js, Java, C# and Python).
AWS Lambda is an event driven, serverless computing platform provided by Amazon as a part of the Amazon Web Services. It is a compute service that runs code in response to events and automatically manages the compute resources required by that code. It was introduced in 2014.
When using AWS Lambda, you are responsible only for your code. AWS Lambda manages the compute fleet that offers a balance of memory, CPU, network, and other resources. This is in exchange for flexibility, which means you cannot log in to compute instances, or customize the operating system or language runtime. These constraints enable AWS Lambda to perform operational and administrative activities on your behalf, including provisioning capacity, monitoring fleet health, applying security patches, deploying your code, and monitoring and logging your Lambda functions.
The purpose of Lambda is to simplify building smaller, on-demand applications that are responsive to events and new information. AWS targets starting a Lambda instance within milliseconds of an event. AWS Lambda supports securely running native linux executables via calling out from a supported runtime such as Node.js. For example, Haskell code can be run on Lambda.
AWS Lambda was originally designed for use cases such as image upload, responding to website clicks or reacting to sensor readings from an IoT connected device. AWS Lambda can also be used to automatically provision back-end services triggered by custom HTTP requests, and “spin down” such services when not in use, to save resources. These custom HTTP requests are configured in AWS API Gateway, which can also handle authentication and authorization in conjunction with AWS Cognito.
Unlike Amazon EC2, which is priced by the hour, AWS Lambda is metered in increments of 100 milliseconds. Usage amounts below a documented threshold fall within the AWS Lambda free tier – which does not expire 12 months after account signup, unlike the free tier for some AWS services.
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