How to set system properties for a Lambda function written in Java

AWS Lambda, like other environments, doesn’t make accessible the command line used to start the Java virtual machine. Thus, it’s a little bit more complicated to add the running options to your application or the input parameters, specified as environment variable, or, preferable, system properties. More details about these 2 concepts are available in the official Java documentation.

Therefore, if you want to extend the command line used to start the JVM, the JAVA_TOOL_OPTIONS environment variable is the solution. We also presenting it as a solution to augment an Elastic Beanstalk environment and the conclusion is the same: lack of documentation in the AWS space.

Enough of this twaddle, let’s see a concrete example.

1. The Lambda function code:

package com.cirrustech.lambda;



public class SampleLambdaFunction {
    public void handleRequest(InputStream inputStream, OutputStream outputStream, Context context) throws IOException {
        context.getLogger().log("Starting the Lambda function...");
        context.getLogger().log("Getting a value: " + System.getProperty("foo"));
        context.getLogger().log("Check value exists: " + (System.getProperty("foo2") != null));
        context.getLogger().log("Execution completed...");

2. The Lambda function setup in the AWS console:

3. And the test output:

YY:08:26 Picked up JAVA_TOOL_OPTIONS: -Dfoo=bar 
YY:08:27 START RequestId: AAAAAAAA-4c19-11e7-a8ac-XXXXXXXXXXXX Version: $LATEST 
YY:08:27 Starting the Lambda function... 
YY:08:27 Getting a value: bar 
YY:08:27 Check value exists: false 
YY:08:27 Execution completed... 
YY:08:27 END RequestId: AAAAAAAA-4c19-11e7-a8ac-XXXXXXXXXXXX 
YY:08:27 REPORT RequestId: AAAAAAAA-4c19-11e7-a8ac-XXXXXXXXXXXX Duration: 4.20 ms Billed Duration: 100 ms Memory Size: 128 MB Max Memory Used: 24 MB

We hope you find this post useful! If you have any question, let us know in the comment section of the blog!

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