13. October 2021   Stefan Esterer

API & Serverless Architecture Conference Berlin 2021: An opinionated review

Sadly 2021 is – like 2020 – not the best year to attend conferences. We at Redlink hoped to attend the 2021 edition of the API & Serverless Architecture Conference in Berlin in mid of October in person, but unfortunately they have switched to remote only. Nevertheless, what follows is a short summary of the most important topics (in the area of API design and serverless architecture) we have learned about and some thoughts about remote conferences in general.

Unsurprisingly enough, architecture in serverless environments was a hot topic during the conference. In one session the AWS Well-Architected Tool was mentioned. The scope of this tool – which is basically a questionnaire about the architecture of applications built in AWS – is rather narrow. But if you are already building serverless AWS applications, the outcome of the tool gives you hints on how to advance in topics like operational excellence, security, reliability and performance efficiency.  During the AWS Well-Architected Tool session some of these best practices were mentioned (like defining and deploying infrastructure in stages isolated in separate environments / accounts, using temporary credentials, consider moving to async messaging and using Lambda Power Tuning to tune power).

As teams are using serverless functionality more and more, replicating the prod environment on the local machine is getting tricky. This was the topic of the session called Why local development for serverless is an anti-pattern. The importance of having a good setup to easily deploy lambdas and infrastructure changes to a cloud account for each developer makes sense and is well argued. On the other hand, the presenter’s argument for getting rid of unit testing caused some discussion in our team as we are not wholly convinced that there is no need for this type of testing.

There were some things – we think – that might have been handled better. There were some german-only presentations, which is bad for non-english speaking team members. Also, having lot of different people around in a “real” conference can’t be replicated by an online-only conference for sure, but it would have been nice to get an indication on how many people are attending the different presentations.

But as always: Attending such conferences is important to get in touch with new trends and technologies but also get deeper into topics you already know about.