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I'd like to point out that microservices are not always as cheap as you may think. In the AWS/Lambda case, what will probably bite you is the API Gateway costs. Sure they give you 1,000,000 calls for free, but it's $3.50 per million after that. That can get very expensive, very quickly. See this hacker news post from a couple years ago. The author's complaint is still valid: "The API gateway seems quite expensive to me. I guess it has its use cases and mine doesn't fit into it. I run a free API www.macvendors.com that handles around 225 million requests per month. It's super simple and has no authentiction or anything, but I'm also able to run it on a $20/m VPS. Looks like API gateway would be $750+data. Bummer because the ecosystem around it looks great. You certainly pay for it though!"


Worth saying: Now that ALBs support Lambda as a backend, reaching for APIG w/ a lambda proxy makes less sense, unless you're actually using a lot of the value-adds (like request validation/parsing and authn). Most setups of APIG+Lambda I've seen don't do this, and prefer to just Proxy it; use an ALB instead.

ALB pricing is a little strange thanks to the $5.76/mo/LCU cost and the differentiation between new connections and active connections. The days are LONG GONE when AWS just charged you for "how much you use", and many of their new products (Dynamo, Aurora Serverless, ALB) are moving toward a crazy "compute unit" architecture five abstraction layers behind units that make sense.

But it should be cheaper; back of the napkin math, 225M req/month is about 100RPS averaged, which can be met with maybe 5 LCUs on an ALB. So total cost would be somewhere in the ballpark of $60/month, plus the cost of lambda which would probably be around $100/month.

Is it cheaper than a VPS? Hell no. Serverless never is. But is it worth it? Depends on your business.

Right, there are a few use cases for Lambda that make lots of sense, and then some that don't. If you're not extracting any operational benefits or costs (think a request that needs to run 5m per hour) from the managed portion of Lambda then it's probably not for you.

The ALB point is very strong. APIGW can add lots of value with request response manipulation and the headaches of managing your own VPS, but you need to make sure that you don't just need a bare bones path -> lambda mapping, which is where the ALB can shine.

The $750/month is well worth it to organizations with billions in revenue, wishing to protect user data. Better to route all traffic through an API gateway, and exposing all of your micro services on the public internet.

Everyone has to communicate through the API gateway. Then, you get a single point where things are easily auditable.

It has a lot of benefits that apply to business use cases. Your free API may not have as strict requirements.

It sounds like you’re making an excuse why you’re overpaying for API Gateway yourself.

You can easily deploy Kong/Tyk these days for peanuts and have your own single point of entry, without AWS API Gateway’s insane pricing.

I’ve never used API gateway outside of quick prototype tests to access lambda. $750 per month doesn’t sound like a lot of money if you have 225 million requests per month. A free API is probably an exception but I do realize why that would too expensive for your use case.

225e6 requests/month is about 80 requests/second. That's a very low rate for a gateway.

You’re assuming an even distribution of requests, but that’s not usually the case. It could be several multiples of that at peak.

Probably cheaper to invoke the lambda functions from Cloudflare workers.

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