What does a hamster have to do with serverless?

Mastering AWS Serverless by Miguel A. Calles

I was excited when BPB Publications showed me the preview of the book cover for Mastering AWS Serverless. I had waited four months since I submitted the last chapter to see the book cover.

The cover originally had a picture of a wolverine. Although the X-Men’s Wolverine is my favorite Marvel character, it did not feel right. I wanted an animal that represented me and serverless computing.

It reflects me

The hamster is my favorite animal. It has been since I was around twelve years old when my sibling got a hamster for a pet.

A hamster’s demeanor is one I resonated with for many reasons.

It is a quiet animal that rarely makes a noise, even when injured. I’m quiet by nature. When I have struggled through adversity and pain, I am usually not vocal about it and will work through the situation.

A hamster is persistent. Once it has its mind set on something, it will not stop until it completes the task. Let a hamster explore and it will find a place it wants to go to. When picked up and placed elsewhere, it will go straight to where it originally wanted. This will continue until its task is completed.

As a child, I made sure I understood how to solve problems in a homework set. Throughout my career, I have cultivated this trait by working through complex problems until they were solved.

I see a hamster as a meek animal. They are content with a place to sleep, food, and water. They do not need much. They will find ways to entertain themselves. This is a trait I try to emulate.

It reflects serverless

It might seem weird to relate serverless to an animal. Furthermore, picking a hamster might seem like an odd choice.

If we had to pick an animal, serverless would not be a lion or an elephant. Serverless does not represent strength or heaviness. Serverless is lightweight and on-demand. The rabbit is a lightweight animal, but it is best associated with speed and growth. The rabbit might work, but the hamster seemed more appropriate.

A hamster, much like a rabbit, can be very still and idle. It is a nocturnal animal and it can stay extremely still when awake. The hamster will remain still and run to where it wants to go. Then it will pause, stay still, and run again when it has decided where to go next. This behavior reflects serverless since it remains idle until it gets an event. Then it will quickly process the event and go idle again.

A hamster is a very lightweight animal but also very mighty. One of my hamsters could open the door lock of a metal cage. Another hamster does the “monkey bars” on the top of the cage. A serverless architecture is meant to be lightweight but each resource can have large computing power.

All cuteness aside

I chose a hamster for the book cover of Mastering AWS Serverless, but the book is meant to help you become a master by doing over 100 hands-on exercises. The book preface relates the book to a martial arts dojo. By the end of the book, you will have built a serverless website and its backend.

Are you ready to learn serverless?

Check out the Mastering AWS Serverless book.



Miguel A. Calles · Serverless CISO

Author of "Serverless Security" · Specializing in CMMC, SOC 2, serverless & engineering.