What is AWS Lambda?

Amazon Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you execute code while downsizing the amount of maintenance needed.

A quick overview of Amazon Lambda

Amazon Lambda allows for running application or backend code without administration costs.  More specifically, this reduces the need for managing servers, workload scaling logic, maintaining event scaling, and more.


Why Amazon Lambda?

By simply uploading code as a ZIP file or container image, Lambda automatically locates the needed computing power and executes based on incoming traffic.  Lambda is also optimized to work with other AWS services with just a few calls from an application.

By default, Lambda is capable of working with a wide selection of programming languages including Node.js, Java, and Python. For testing functionality and building, Lambda files can be developed on both serverless and container applications such as AWS SAM.

No servers to manage

AWS Lambda does not require any base physical infrastructure to run on to carry out your tasks.  Utilizing is simply a matter of uploading your code for it to automatically run.

Continuous scaling

Resources for calculations are automatically added and retracted in response to each event.  The uploaded code continues to run in parallel and scales directly to the size of the current task.  Task sizes can range from a few per day to hundreds of thousands in mere seconds.

Proper cost-optimization

You will never have to overpay for what resources you use.  Running your code will charge you by the millisecond and the number of times your code is ran.  In totality, you can save upwards of an additional 17%.

Consistent performance

Adjusting memory size to fit your program is incredibly easy.  Running the program back-to-back can also be done within the double didgit milliseconds by enabling Provisioned Concurrency.

Amazon Lambda Features

Lambda is used to either integrate other AWS services with custom logic or work on your personal back-end services with AWS scale, security, and performance.  For a more in-depth overview of what AWS Lambda has to offer, everything can be found in totality here.

Modify AWS with custom logic

Integrating new code changes how certain AWS services will process new data.  After uploading the code and establishing individual settings, the code will be tied to a service of your specification.  The service will then act as a trigger condition, subsequently running the code and enacting changes to the new data.

No new tools

Lambda lets you use coding languages of your choice. Third-party and native libraries work.

Highly automated

The need to worry about OS updates or resizing as usage continues is removed.  Maintenance, security, self-deployment, administration, activity logging, and monitoring all come with the package.


In the same way all other AWS services are preserved, Lambda maintains capacity across availability zones, meaning it can still run should an availability zone facility suffer a system error.

Links with AWS RDS

Using Amazon RDS Proxy, Lambda can be set up using the in-house database services, making it incredibly easy to set up several serverless applications that require database interactions.

Manual control of performance

Provisioned Concurrency can either be used to keep applications at the ready for a surge of intake, or lowered or turned off completely during inactivity.

Integral security

Your applications are protected by AWS SDK and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) and Lambda run concealed by a VPC by default.  Lambda also meets many current security standards, all of which are given in full detail here.

Connects to shared files

Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) lets users read, write, and persist high volumes at low frequencies at any scale.  This forgoes the need to download data for temporary storage, simplifying the application’s complexity.

Tight budget control

Pay only for what you use.  Since Lambda charges by the millisecond, there won’t be a single second you will be overpaying for.  Add to that the ability to control what resources you are using and it is very easy to budget your Lambda use.

AWS Lambda Pricing

Lambda uses a pay-as-you-go model where users are charged based on what resources they use, how many requests they make, and for the code’s run time.  Run time is calculated by when the code is called to when it either returns or terminates, rounded up to the nearest millisecond.  The pricing for resources typically depends on how much memory is allocated to the program and the CPU power that is applied.  Further details on function configuration can be found here.

Free Tier

AWS Lambda does offer a free trial for new and unsure users.  This tier offers one million free requests and 400,000 GB-seconds of compute time per month.

Price Calculations

The spreadsheets of prices and formulas for billing users can be found here in full detail.  There are additional deviations in rates based on the regions that users are operating in.  If you want to experiment with what your bill would look like with your desired resources, you can use the AWS Pricing Calculator found here.  For general economics on AWS’ resources, more resources can be found here.

Risks of not monitoring Lambda costs properly

Properly monitoring AWS Lambda costs is crucial to avoid potential risks and financial challenges. Failing to do so can lead to various negative outcomes.

Firstly, without effective monitoring, managing your AWS bill can become overwhelming and difficult. It is common for manual calculators to lose control, resulting in unexpected costs and budget overruns. This lack of control can be compared to a runaway truck, as the costs can quickly spiral out of hand.

Secondly, while Lambda is often chosen for its potential cost savings and operational ease, using it indiscriminately may not always result in desirable cost reductions. Without proper optimization of AWS costs, organizations may not fully benefit from the potential savings or achieve a higher return on investment (ROI). It is essential to know how to optimize costs efficiently to achieve the desired outcomes.

Thirdly, many available cost optimization tools often rely heavily on tagging, making them clunky, complex, and insufficient in providing actionable insights. These tools may lack the ability to map costs to specific unit costs, such as cost per customer, which is crucial for informed decision-making. Failing to understand the impact of work on Lambda costs can have repercussions on an organization’s ability to price products or services profitably and work within budget constraints.

Furthermore, the lack of visibility into Lambda costs can lead to costly mistakes. Several companies, including Adobe, Pinterest, Intuit, CloudOne, and Infor, have experienced unexpected and exorbitant cloud computing bills due to inadequate monitoring. These unforeseen expenses can rapidly deplete financial resources, posing a significant risk to overall company profitability.

Without proper monitoring, organizations may not be aware of cost anomalies until it’s too late. Detecting and addressing these anomalies in a timely manner is crucial to avoid unnecessary financial losses. Delayed realization, akin to Adobe’s unfortunate experience, can result in substantial financial damage.

To mitigate these risks, it is essential to have a comprehensive cloud cost intelligence platform like CloudZero. Such a platform provides insightful and precise reports that map AWS costs to specific customers, teams, features, and products. It offers real-time visibility into Lambda costs, enabling organizations to measure, monitor, and optimize their spend effectively. By leveraging CloudZero, companies can proactively identify cost anomalies and take appropriate actions, ensuring financial stability and operational efficiency.

Getting Started With Amazon Lambda

AWS has ample documentation and tutorials for you to start learning how to fully utilize your Lambda function.  But before anything, it is advised that you look through this page for use cases and understand how Lambda can benefit your project and applications.  Over the course of these tutorials, you will also learn to use serverless development tools like AWS Cloud9.  For everything from initially uploading a Lambda function to editing and testing, to managing the functions, working with specific coding languages, and troubleshooting, all the documentation is laid in full here.

1. Log in

Log in or sign up to the AWS Management Console and set up your root account. You will also want to install the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) if you plan on configuring Lambda Functions from the command line.

2. Create a function

Functions can be uploaded as either a ZIP file or a container image.  Here are a couple of tutorials for both methods.

3. Editing the code

Lambda does provide an environment in which you can modify your uploaded function.  It functions like any other editor and can be adjusted to your personal preference.  For more on the Lambda editor console, everything is right here.


The Command Line Interface is for managing functions and the resources at your Lambda function’s disposal.  This is for creating execution roles, creating functions, and listing Lambda functions on your account.  Tutorials can be found here.

5. Quotas

There are hard limits on the total resources that can be expended for all operations by a Lambda function.  While a few resources like the number of concurrent functions being run in parallel and the storage for your functions can be renegotiated, most of these limits cannot be raised.  All the numbers and caps are listed here.

Need help with AWS Lambda?

Amazon Lambda Support

Need some extra help initiallizing your AWS Lambda functions? AllCode is an AWS Select Consulting Partner with 10+ years of experience developing cloud-based solutions for enterprise-scale applications.

Amazon trusts and recommends our services to businesses who need a hand or who are looking to cloudsource their technology stack. We are the experts to guide you down the path for successful use of cloud services.

Why AllCode


Our software engineers have at least 10 years of experience working on complex, innovative projects for both startups and Fortune 500 companies.

multi-vendor relationships

Multi-vendor relationships

The trust we have built with our vendors makes us a preferred option for any business scale. We enable dynamic support for superior service offerings across various cloud providers.



AllCode provides Nearshore, Offshore, and Hybrid delivery models to fit your objectives with precise skills and ample resources right when and where you need them.

Dolan Cleary

Dolan Cleary

I am a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin - Stout and am now working with AllCode as a web technician. Currently working within the marketing department.

Related Articles

Navigating AWS Complexity

Navigating AWS Complexity

Amazon’s Web Services is a very complex platform. Streamlining and optimizing production workflows can be challenging for inexperienced users. However, the benefit of learning grants options for better efficiency, reliability, security, and cost-effectiveness for operations run on AWS.

While complexity can be difficult to navigate, it’s not impossible. With the right level of expertise, AWS complexity can be navigated with ease.

What is Amazon Managed Grafana?

What is Amazon Managed Grafana?

Grafana stands out as a widely embraced open-source analytics and visualization platform, celebrated for its versatility in handling diverse data sources and delivering compelling dashboards and graphs. Renowned for its user-friendly interface, Grafana simplifies the process of data interpretation and enhances the overall experience by providing interactive visualizations.

AWS and re:Invent 2023

AWS and re:Invent 2023

There are plenty of AWS enthusiasts around the world such as ourselves with ideas on how to apply the Cloud in new and innovative ways. It’s a keynote where these enthusiasts come together, network, and share innovations and new methodologies with the public. Even for people less familiar with AWS, it is a great place to get first-hand experience with the platform either unguided or with professional help to see what opportunities the platform has.

Download our 10-Step Cloud Migration ChecklistYou'll get direct access to our full-length guide on Google Docs. From here, you will be able to make a copy, download the content, and share it with your team.