Deploy to AWS Lambda

This guide explains how to avoid common issues when deploying a project using Prisma ORM to .

While a deployment framework is not required to deploy to AWS Lambda, this guide covers deploying with:

  • is an open-source framework from AWS that can be used in the creation of serverless applications. AWS SAM includes the , which you can use to build, test, and deploy your application.
  • provides a CLI that helps with workflow automation and AWS resource provisioning. While Prisma ORM works well with the Serverless Framework "out of the box", there are a few improvements that can be made within your project to ensure a smooth deployment and performance. There is also additional configuration that is needed if you are using the or libraries.
  • provides tools that make it easy for developers to define, test, debug, and deploy their applications. Prisma ORM works well with SST but must be configured so that your schema is correctly packaged by SST.

General considerations when deploying to AWS Lambda

This section covers changes you will need to make to your application, regardless of framework. After following these steps, follow the steps for your framework.

Define binary targets in Prisma Schema

The Prisma schema should contain the following in the generator block:

binaryTargets = ["native", "rhel-openssl-1.0.x"]

This is necessary because the runtimes used in development and deployment differ. Add the binaryTarget to make the compatible Prisma ORM engine file available.

Lambda functions with arm64 architectures

Lambda functions that use must use an arm64 precompiled engine file.

In the generator block of your schema.prisma file, add the following:

1binaryTargets = ["native", "linux-arm64-openssl-1.0.x"]

Prisma CLI binary targets

While we do not recommend running migrations within AWS Lambda, some applications will require it. In these cases, you can use the PRISMA_CLI_BINARY_TARGETS environment variable to make sure that Prisma CLI commands, including prisma migrate, have access to the correct schema engine.

In the case of AWS lambda, you will have to add the following environment variable:


prisma migrate is a command in the prisma package. Normally, this package is installed as a dev dependency. Depending on your setup, you may need to install this package as a dependency instead so that it is included in the bundle or archive that is uploaded to Lambda and executed.

Connection pooling

Generally, when you use a Function as a Service (FaaS) environment to interact with a database, every function invocation can result in a new connection to the database. This is not a problem with a constantly running Node.js server. Therefore, it is beneficial to pool database connections to get better performance. You can use Accelerate to solve this issue. For other solutions, see the connection management guide for serverless environments.

Deploying with AWS SAM

Loading environment variables

AWS SAM does not directly support loading values from a .env file. You will have to use one of AWS's services to store and retrieve these parameters. provides a great overview of your options and how to store and retrieve values in Parameters, SSM, Secrets Manager, and more.

Loading required files

AWS SAM uses to bundle your TypeScript code. However, the full esbuild API is not exposed and esbuild plugins are not supported. This leads to problems when using Prisma ORM in your application as certain files (like schema.prisma) must be available at runtime.

To get around this, you need to directly reference the needed files in your code to bundle them correctly. In your application, you could add the following lines to your application where Prisma ORM is instantiated.

1import schema from './prisma/schema.prisma'
2import x from './node_modules/.prisma/client/'
4if (process.env.NODE_ENV !== 'production') {
5 console.debug(schema, x)

You will also need to define how to bundle these files with esbuild by adding the following lines to Metadata.BuildProperties in your template.yaml:

2 - .prisma=file
3 - .so.node=file
4AssetNames: '[name]'

This will make sure that files needed by Prisma ORM will be included in the AWS SAM build.

Deploying with the Serverless Framework

Loading environment variables via a .env file

Your functions will need the DATABASE_URL environment variable to access the database. The serverless-dotenv-plugin will allow you to use your .env file in your deployments.

First, make sure that the plugin is installed:

$npm install -D serverless-dotenv-plugin

Then, add serverless-dotenv-plugin to your list of plugins in serverless.yml:

2 - serverless-dotenv-plugin

The environment variables in your .env file will now be automatically loaded on package or deployment.

$serverless package
Show CLI results

Deploy only the required files

To reduce your deployment footprint, you can update your deployment process to only upload the files your application needs. The Serverless configuration file, serverless.yml, below shows a package pattern that includes only the Prisma ORM engine file relevant to the Lambda runtime and excludes the others. This means that when Serverless Framework packages your app for upload, it includes only one engine file. This ensures the packaged archive is as small as possible.

2 patterns:
3 - '!node_modules/.prisma/client/libquery_engine-*'
4 - 'node_modules/.prisma/client/libquery_engine-rhel-*'
5 - '!node_modules/prisma/libquery_engine-*'
6 - '!node_modules/@prisma/engines/**'

If you are deploying to Lambda functions with ARM64 architecture you should update the Serverless configuration file to package the arm64 engine file, as follows:

2 patterns:
3 - '!node_modules/.prisma/client/libquery_engine-*'
4 - 'node_modules/.prisma/client/libquery_engine-linux-arm64-*'
5 - '!node_modules/prisma/libquery_engine-*'
6 - '!node_modules/@prisma/engines/**'

If you use serverless-webpack, see Deployment with serverless webpack below.

Deployment with serverless-webpack

If you use serverless-webpack, you will need additional configuration so that your schema.prisma is properly bundled. You will need to:

  1. Copy your schema.prisma with .
  2. Run prisma generate via custom > webpack > packagerOptions > scripts in your serverless.yml.
  3. Only package the correct Prisma ORM engine file to save more than 40mb of capacity.

1. Install webpack specific dependencies

First, ensure the following webpack dependencies are installed:

$npm install --save-dev webpack webpack-node-externals copy-webpack-plugin serverless-webpack

2. Update webpack.config.js

In your webpack.config.js, make sure that you set externals to nodeExternals() like the following:

1const nodeExternals = require('webpack-node-externals')
3module.exports = {
4 // ... other configuration
5 externals: [nodeExternals()],
6 // ... other configuration

Update the plugins property in your webpack.config.js file to include the copy-webpack-plugin:

1const nodeExternals = require('webpack-node-externals')
2const CopyPlugin = require('copy-webpack-plugin')
4module.exports = {
5 // ... other configuration
6 externals: [nodeExternals()],
7 plugins: [
8 new CopyPlugin({
9 patterns: [
10 { from: './node_modules/.prisma/client/schema.prisma', to: './' }, // you may need to change `to` here.
11 ],
12 }),
13 ],
14 // ... other configuration

This plugin will allow you to copy your schema.prisma file into your bundled code. Prisma ORM requires that your schema.prisma be present in order make sure that queries are encoded and decoded according to your schema. In most cases, bundlers will not include this file by default and will cause your application to fail to run.

Depending on how your application is bundled, you may need to copy the schema file to a location other than ./. Use the serverless package command to package your code locally so you can review where your schema should be put.

Refer to the for additional configuration.

3. Update serverless.yml

In your serverless.yml file, make sure that the custom > webpack block has prisma generate under packagerOptions > scripts as follows:

2 webpack:
3 packagerOptions:
4 scripts:
5 - prisma generate

This will ensure that, after webpack bundles your code, the Prisma Client is generated according to your schema. Without this step, your app will fail to run.

Lastly, you will want to exclude Prisma ORM query engines that do not match the AWS Lambda runtime. Update your serverless.yml by adding the following script that makes sure only the required query engine, rhel-openssl-1.0.x, is included in the final packaged archive.

2 webpack:
3 packagerOptions:
4 scripts:
5 - prisma generate
+ - find . -name "libquery_engine-*" -not -name "libquery_engine-rhel-openssl-*" | xargs rm

If you are deploying to Lambda functions with ARM64 architecture you should update the find command to the following:

2 webpack:
3 packagerOptions:
4 scripts:
5 - prisma generate
+ - find . -name "libquery_engine-*" -not -name "libquery_engine-arm64-openssl-*" | xargs rm

4. Wrapping up

You can now re-package and re-deploy your application. To do so, run serverless deploy. Webpack output will show the schema file being moved with copy-webpack-plugin:

$serverless package
Show CLI results

Deploying with SST

Working with environment variables

While SST supports .env files, . SST recommends using Config to access these environment variables in a secure way.

The SST guide is a step-by-step guide to get started with Config. Assuming you have created a new secret called DATABASE_URL and have , you can set up PrismaClient with the following:

1import { PrismaClient } from '@prisma/client'
2import { Config } from 'sst/node/config'
4const globalForPrisma = global as unknown as { prisma: PrismaClient }
6export const prisma =
7 globalForPrisma.prisma ||
8 new PrismaClient({
9 datasourceUrl: Config.DATABASE_URL,
10 })
12if (process.env.NODE_ENV !== 'production') globalForPrisma.prisma = prisma
14export default prisma