AWS, Cloud Computing

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Accelerate Serverless Computing with AWS Lambda SnapStart


AWS Lambda is a serverless computing service provided by Amazon Web Services. It enables developers to build and run applications without having to manage servers. AWS Lambda executes code in response to events such as changes to data in an Amazon S3 bucket, updates to an Amazon DynamoDB table, or new records being inserted into an Amazon Kinesis stream. Lambda supports many programming languages, including Python, Java, Node.js, and C#.

AWS Lambda SnapStart is a new feature added to AWS Lambda that makes it even easier for developers to get started with serverless computing.

In this blog post, we’ll look at what SnapStart is, how it works, and the benefits it provides.

What is AWS Lambda SnapStart?

AWS Lambda SnapStart is a new feature of AWS Lambda that provides a pre-warmed execution environment for Lambda functions. A pre-warmed execution environment is where the necessary resources for executing a function are already allocated and ready to go. This means that when a Lambda function is invoked, it can start executing immediately without any delay caused by creating a new execution environment.

Before AWS Lambda SnapStart, when an AWS Lambda function was invoked, AWS would need to create a new execution environment for the function. This process, known as cold start, can take several seconds, depending on the complexity of the function and the amount of memory allocated to it. SnapStart eliminates this delay by creating a pre-warmed execution environment for the function.

Here are some limitations and potential issues related to AWS Lambda’s cold start problem:

  1. Increased latency: As mentioned earlier, the initial cold start can increase the latency of the function execution, which can be problematic for some use cases.
  2. Inefficient resource utilization: Cold starts can result in inefficient resource utilization, as the resources allocated for the initial container creation may not be fully utilized. This can lead to increased costs and environmental impact.
  3. Difficulty in predicting performance: Because cold starts are unpredictable, it can be difficult to predict the performance of an AWS Lambda function with any degree of accuracy. This can be problematic for applications that require consistent performance.
  4. Limited control over the underlying infrastructure: With AWS Lambda, you have limited control over the underlying infrastructure that runs your functions. This means you cannot customize the infrastructure to optimize cold starts or take advantage of specific hardware capabilities.
  5. Potential security risks: In some cases, cold starts can lead to security risks, as the initialization process may expose sensitive data or resources before the function is fully loaded and running.

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How does AWS Lambda SnapStart work?

AWS Lambda SnapStart works by creating a pre-warmed execution environment for each AWS Lambda function. This pre-warmed environment is created based on the configuration of the function, such as the amount of memory allocated to it and the runtime used. When the function is invoked, it is executed within this pre-warmed environment, with all the necessary resources already allocated and ready to go.

AWS Lambda SnapStart also includes a feature called automatic scaling, which ensures enough pre-warmed environments are available to handle the expected number of function invocations. When the number of function invocations increases, AWS Lambda SnapStart automatically creates additional pre-warmed environments to handle the load. When invocations decrease, SnapStart can release pre-warmed environments to free up resources.

When you enable snap-start for an AWS Lambda function, AWS takes a snapshot of its memory state and saves it to disk. The next time the function is invoked, AWS Lambda can use this snapshot to quickly restore the function’s state without reloading all the dependencies and initialization code. This can significantly reduce cold start times and improve the overall performance of your function.

You can use the AWS CLI or the AWS Management Console to enable snap-start for your AWS Lambda function. Here’s an example of how to enable snap-start for a Python function using the AWS CLI:

In this example, the –snapshot-enabled flag enables snap-start for the my-function Lambda function. The –code parameter specifies the ZIP file containing your function code, the –layers parameter specifies any layers your function depends on, and the –environment parameter sets environment variables for your function.

It’s worth noting that enabling snap-start can increase the size of your function package, as Lambda needs to store the snapshot on disk. You should also monitor the size of your snapshots and adjust the configuration as needed to avoid running out of disk space.

Benefits of AWS Lambda SnapStart

AWS Lambda SnapStart provides several benefits for developers building serverless applications using AWS Lambda.

  1. Faster execution times: With AWS Lambda SnapStart, AWS Lambda functions can execute immediately without any delay caused by cold starts. This can lead to faster execution times and a better user experience for applications that require low latency.
  2. Predictable performance: Because AWS Lambda SnapStart creates a pre-warmed execution environment for each AWS Lambda function, the performance of the function is more predictable. This can help developers design and optimize their functions to take advantage of the resources available in the pre-warmed environment.
  3. Reduced costs: AWS Lambda SnapStart can help reduce the cost of running serverless applications on AWS Lambda. By eliminating cold starts, AWS Lambda SnapStart can reduce the time and resources required to execute a function, leading to lower costs.
  4. Simplified development: AWS Lambda SnapStart makes it easier for developers to get started with serverless computing on AWS Lambda. With pre-warmed execution environments, developers can focus on writing and testing their code rather than worrying about the infrastructure required to run it.


AWS Lambda SnapStart is a powerful new feature that makes it even easier for developers to get started with serverless computing on AWS Lambda. By creating pre-warmed execution environments for Lambda functions, SnapStart eliminates the delay caused by cold start. This has resulted in simplified development, faster execution of functions, and reduced costs. 

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1. Does AWS Lambda Snap Start incur additional costs?

ANS: – Enabling Snap Start for your Lambda functions does not incur any additional charges. You only pay for the execution time of your functions and any associated resources, such as memory and network usage. 

2. Can I control the number of pre-warmed execution environments with AWS Lambda Snap Start? 

ANS: – Yes, you have control over the number of pre-warmed execution environments when using Snap Start. You can manually specify the desired pool size or let AWS automatically manage it based on your function’s traffic patterns. AWS continuously monitors your function’s usage and adjusts the pool size to optimize performance. 

3. Can I disable AWS Lambda Snap Start for my functions?

ANS: – Yes, you can disable Snap Start for your AWS Lambda functions anytime. If AWS Lambda Snap Start is disabled, your functions will experience cold starts whenever they are invoked after a period of inactivity. 

WRITTEN BY Sanket Gaikwad



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