AWS Lambda
Developer Guide

Tutorial: Using AWS Lambda Aliases

This AWS CLI-based tutorial creates Lambda function versions and aliases that point to it as described in the Example: Using Aliases to Manage Lambda Function Versions.

This example uses the us-west-2 (US West Oregon) region to create the Lambda function and aliases.

  1. Create a deployment package that you can upload to create your Lambda function:

    1. Open a text editor, and then copy the following code.

      console.log('Loading function'); exports.handler = function(event, context, callback) { console.log('value1 =', event.key1); console.log('value2 =', event.key2); console.log('value3 =', event.key3); callback(null, "message"); };
    2. Save the file as helloworld.js.

    3. Zip the helloworld.js file as

  2. Create an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role (execution role) that you can specify at the time you create your Lambda function:

    1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the IAM console at

    2. Follow the steps in IAM Roles in the IAM User Guide to create an IAM role (execution role). As you follow the steps to create a role, note the following:

      • For Select Role Type, choose AWS Service Roles, and then choose AWS Lambda.

      • For Attach Policy, choose the policy named AWSLambdaBasicExecutionRole.

    3. Write down the Amazon Resource Name (ARN) of the IAM role. You need this value when you create your Lambda function in the next step.

  3. Create a Lambda function (helloworld).

    aws lambda create-function --function-name helloworld --runtime nodejs6.10 \ --zip-file fileb:// --handler helloworld.handler \ --role arn:aws:iam::account-id:role/lambda_basic_execution \

    The response returns the configuration information showing $LATEST as the function version as shown in the following example response.

    { "CodeSha256": "OjRFuuHKizEE8tHFIMsI+iHR6BPAfJ5S0rW31Mh6jKg=", "FunctionName": "helloworld", "CodeSize": 287, "MemorySize": 128, "FunctionArn": "arn:aws:lambda:us-west-2:account-id:function:helloworld", "Version": "$LATEST", "Role": "arn:aws:iam::account-id:role/lambda_basic_execution", "Timeout": 3, "LastModified": "2015-09-30T18:39:53.873+0000", "Handler": "helloworld.handler", "Runtime": "nodejs6.10", "Description": "" }
  4. Create an alias (DEV) that points to the $LATEST version of the helloworld Lambda function.

    aws lambda create-alias --function-name helloworld --name DEV \ --description "sample alias" --function-version "\$LATEST"

    The response returns the alias information, including the function version it points to and the alias ARN. The ARN is the same as the function ARN with an alias name suffix. The following is an example response.

    { "AliasArn": "arn:aws:lambda:us-west-2:account-id:function:helloworld:DEV", "FunctionVersion": "$LATEST", "Name": "DEV", "Description": "sample alias" }
  5. Publish a version of the helloworld Lambda function.

    aws lambda publish-version --function-name helloworld

    The response returns configuration information of the function version, including the version number, and the function ARN with the version suffix. The following is an example response.

    { "CodeSha256": "OjRFuuHKizEE8tHFIMsI+iHR6BPAfJ5S0rW31Mh6jKg=", "FunctionName": "helloworld", "CodeSize": 287, "MemorySize": 128, "FunctionArn": "arn:aws:lambda:us-west-2:account-id:function:helloworld:1", "Version": "1", "Role": "arn:aws:iam::account-id:role/lambda_basic_execution", "Timeout": 3, "LastModified": "2015-10-03T00:48:00.435+0000", "Handler": "helloworld.handler", "Runtime": "nodejs6.10", "Description": "" }
  6. Create an alias (BETA) for the for the helloworld Lambda function version 1.

    aws lambda create-alias --function-name helloworld \ --description "sample alias" --function-version 1 --name BETA

    Now you have two aliases for the helloworld function. The DEV alias points to the $LATEST function version, and the BETA alias points to version 1 of the Lambda function.

  7. Suppose that you want to put the version 1 of the helloworld function in production. Create another alias (PROD) that points to version 1.

    aws lambda create-alias --function-name helloworld \ --description "sample alias" --function-version 1 --name PROD

    At this time, you have both the BETA and PROD aliases pointing to version 1 of the Lambda function.

  8. You can now publish a newer version (for example, version 2), but first you need to update your code and upload a modified deployment package. If the $LATEST version is not changed, you cannot publish more than one version of it. Assuming you updated the deployment package, uploaded it, and published version 2, you can now change the BETA alias to point to version 2 of the Lambda function.

    aws lambda update-alias --function-name helloworld \ --function-version 2 --name BETA

    Now you have three aliases pointing to a different version of the Lambda function (DEV alias points to the $LATEST version, BETA alias points to version 2, and the PROD alias points to version 1 of the Lambda function.

For information about using the AWS Lambda console to manage versioning, see Managing Versioning Using the AWS Management Console, the AWS CLI, or Lambda API Operations.

Granting Permissions in a Push Model

In a push model (see AWS Lambda Event Source Mapping), event sources such as Amazon S3 invoke your Lambda function. These event sources maintain a mapping that identifies the function version or alias that they invoke when events occur. Note the following:

  • We recommend that you specify an existing Lambda function alias in the mapping configuration (see Introduction to AWS Lambda Aliases). For example, if the event source is Amazon S3, you specify the alias ARN in the bucket notification configuration so that Amazon S3 can invoke the alias when it detects specific events.

  • In the push model, you grant event sources permissions using a resource policy that you attach to your Lambda function. In versioning, the permissions you add are specific to the qualifier that you specify in the AddPermission request (see Versioning, Aliases, and Resource Policies).

    For example, the following AWS CLI command grants Amazon S3 permissions to invoke the PROD alias of the helloworld Lambda function (note that the --qualifier parameter specifies the alias name).

    aws lambda add-permission --function-name helloworld \ --qualifier PROD --statement-id 1 --principal --action lambda:InvokeFunction \ --source-arn arn:aws:s3:::examplebucket --source-account 111111111111

    In this case, Amazon S3 is now able to invoke the PROD alias and AWS Lambda can then execute the helloworld Lambda function version that the PROD alias points to. For this to work, you must use the PROD alias ARN in the S3 bucket's notification configuration.

    For information about how to handle Amazon S3 events, see Tutorial: Using AWS Lambda with Amazon S3.


    If you use the AWS Lambda console to add an event source for your Lambda function, the console adds the necessary permissions for you.