MergePHP January 2024

Ian Littman / / @iansltx

Follow along at

Questions We'll Answer

  • Why you'd use Lambda, and what caveats come with using it
  • How Lambda works with Custom Runtimes (including PHP)
  • How to build an email reply bot with Lambda, SES, S3, and PHP
  • How to build a Lambda-powered API via
    • API Gateway
    • Function URLs
  • Bonus: How to build API Gateway endpoints with Bref

Topics We won't cover

  • A deep dive into Bref or Serverless Framework
  • Building Lambda applications via AWS's CLI
  • Laravel Vapor


What kinds of integrations?


A note on performance

A note on Billing

Virtual Private Caveats

So, what about PHP on Lambda?

  • Built on top of Amazon Linux 2023
    • Can also specify AL2 or original Amazon Linux
  • Extracted to /opt (function code is in /var/task)
  • Versioned
  • Can include library dependencies (e.g. /vendor)
  • Zipped + submitted to AWS API (like functions)
  • Function specifies inclusion order

Custom runtime lifecycle

  • Bootstrap (cold start)
  • Task execution (warm start)
  • Lambda decides when to kill the instance
    • Inactivity timeout
    • Task deadline (configurable, up to 15 minutes)
    • Explicitly exiting the bootstrap process
      (due to error or otherwise)
  • Initialize runtime
  • Prep function for execution
  • Pass env vars including file/method for handler function
  • If there's an error init-ing, make an API call
  • Pro tip: do heavy work impacting shared state here

Task execution (warm start) Phase

  • Call APIs to process work
  • Next invocation (GET)
    • Request ID and more in headers
    • Task data in response body, JSON-encoded
  • Invocation response (POST)
    • Request ID in URL
    • Response in body
    • Consuming services may require specific format
  • Can perform (billed) cleanup between calling response
    endpoint and requesting the next invocation

Logging & Errors

What might this look like from AWS's Side?

  1. Are any workers for target function waiting on work?
  2. If so, skip to step 3; if not...
    1. Build a new instance (container or layers + function code)
    2. Run /opt/bootstrap (or /var/task/bootstrap,
      or container entrypoint)
    3. Wait for it to do one of the following
      1. Return nonzero from the bootstrap (init failure)
      2. Call the init error API endpoint
      3. Call the task request API endpoint
  3. Respond to the next invocation endpoint with event
  4. Wait for API calls to invocation success/failure or timeout,
    whichever comes first
  1. SES rule pushes email to S3
  2. S3 triggers Lambda
  3. Lambda function executes...
    1. Grabs email from S3
    2. Parses using MIME parser
    3. RaNdOMlY CaPiTaLiZeS LEtTerS
    4. Sends email reply via SES
  1. HTTP request hits API Gateway
  2. Lambda function executes...
    1. Grabs query string parameter if there is one
    2. RaNdOMlY CaPiTaLiZeS LEtTerS
    3. Sends a JSON response
  3. API Gateway turns the Lambda payload into an HTTP response
  1. HTTP request hits function URL
  2. Lambda function executes...
    1. Grabs query string parameter if there is one
    2. RaNdOMlY CaPiTaLiZeS LEtTerS
    3. Sends a JSON response

Auth (if needed) can be done via AWS signatures

...but you should probably use Bref in prod

...or Vapor, if you're using Laravel

Thanks! Questions?

PHP on Lambda with Custom Runtimes - MergePHP January 2024

By Ian Littman

PHP on Lambda with Custom Runtimes - MergePHP January 2024

It's 2024 and, while AWS still doesn't have an official PHP runtime for Lambda, it doesn't need one thanks to both custom runtime and container support in Lambda. This talk will show you how Lambda custom runtimes work, how to build one that speaks PHP, and how to set up Lambda to either handle web requests or hook into other AWS services to process jobs in a highly elastic manner. As a bonus, you'll see how things work with Lambda's Docker container support, as well as with Bref, the tooling you'll likely want to use if you choose to deploy PHP Lambdas in production without restoring to e.g. Laravel Vapor.

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