Video details

"How we used serverless to speed up our servers" by Jessica Kerr and Ian Wilkes


At Honeycomb, customers send us lots of data and then compose complex, ad-hoc queries. Most are simple, some are not. Some are REALLY not; this load is both complex, spontaneous, and urgent. It would be prohibitively expensive to size a server cluster to handle these big queries quickly, so we took a different approach: farm the work out to Lambda, Amazon's serverless offering.
In this model, Lambda becomes an on-demand accelerator for our always-on servers. The benefits are immense, improving response times by an order of magnitude. But the challenges are numerous and often unexpected. In this talk, I'll review the benefits and constraints of serverless-as-accelerator, and give practical advice based on our own hard-won experience.
Jessica Kerr @jessitron
Jessica Kerr has 20 years in software and nine of conferences, where she talks about languages from Scala to Elm, Ruby to Clojure; movements from DevOps to symmathesy; and now AWS Lambda in a database. She works at, bringing developers into familiarity with production.
Ian Wilkes
After riding the first .com boom, I began a long stretch at Linden Lab (makers of Second Life), including several years as Director of Operations. From there I moved on to a 4-year run as a senior engineer at Facebook, and then joined Honeycomb where I am the principle author of the custom distributed data store.
Recorded at Strange Loop 2021