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At its re:Invent user conference in Las Vegas today, public cloud infrastructure provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced support for the C# programming language in its Lambda event-driven computing service, as well as a new capability called Lambda@Edge, which makes it possible to run Lambda functions at edge locations where customers store media content around the world on its CloudFront content distribution network (CDN).

There is also a new capability called AWS Step Functions, which will allow developers to build full applications in the form of functions that are hooked up together. A visual editor makes it easy to connect multiple functions, Amazon vice president and chief technology officer Werner Vogels explained onstage.

Altogether this is a big refresh to Lambda, which AWS first introduced at re:Invent two years ago. At the time it was viewed as a revolutionary concept because it let developers do complex things without having to set up and manage the underlying computing and storage infrastructure.

The “serverless” concept has been emulated by Google, Microsoft, and IBM — the clouds that are most closely trailing AWS.


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But Lambda has picked up extra steam in the past year or so as a result of people using it to create skills, or miniature voice-activate apps, for Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant, which is available on Amazon’s Echo line of smart speakers.

Originally Lambda launched only with support for Node.js, and then last year AWS added Java support. C# support was highly requested, Amazon vice president and chief technology officer Werner Vogels said onstage today.

The philosophy behind letting customers run Lambda functions at CloudFront locations is similar to the thinking behind the AWS GreenGrass software that makes it possible to run Lambda functions on data on AWS Snowball storage devices, which are used to efficiently move data from organizations’ on-premises data centers into AWS facilities.

Companies can sign up for the limited preview of Lambda@Edge now, AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in a blog post.

AWS Step Functions is now available through AWS’ US East (Northern Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), EU (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) data center regions. If you’re using the AWS free tier, you can run up to 4,000 state transitions a month for free, and after that it costs 2.5 cents for every thousand state transitions, AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in a blog post. Additional pricing detail is here.

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