Hello World! We’re Fermyon Technologies, and we are building the third wave of cloud compute with WebAssembly.
Take a look at the cloud compute landscape. Virtual Machines (VMs) are the heavyweight contender, the first big entrants into the field. But cloud compute did not stop there. Along came containers. Those of us on board in the early days believed that containers would unseat VMs and become the way compute was done in the cloud. Happily, we were wrong and not wrong. Containers were wildly successful, but they did not replace VMs. In fact, VM consumption has gone up alongside container usage.
For several years, we worked on container technologies. As part of Deis, and then DeisLabs at Microsoft, we explored the container landscape. And we are proud of the things we built and the community with whom we built them: Helm, Brigade, the Kubernetes VS Code extension, Open Service Mesh, CNAB, and others. But along the journey we discovered some of the limitations of containers. And that got us asking a new question.
Along with VMs and containers, is there a third wave of cloud compute?
After investigating the landscape, we came to a surprising conclusion. WebAssembly, a technology designed for the web browser, held massive promise for the cloud. It’s lightweight. It’s secure. It is operating system and architecture agnostic, and can even be run on tiny low-powered devices. Best of all, many programming languages can be compiled to WebAssembly. Developers can use their normal tools to build applications for this new wave of computing.
Initially, we explored running WebAssembly in Kubernetes, and this led to the creation of Krustlet, now part of CNCF. By the time we released Krustlet, we were convinced that WebAssembly is the third wave of compute.
We have some new ideas about how we can make both developers and operators happier as we work on building a new generation of microservices. And while we’re at it, we think we can build a more secure application platform that doesn’t require developers and operators to carry the burden. Faster, lighter, easier, and more secure! That’s the future we see.
Our Website Demonstrates Our Vision
On the first day we formed as a company, we set ourselves a goal: Our website would run on the technology we envisioned.
We are proud to say that we have achieved that goal. We built a micro-CMS that we compiled to WebAssembly. It’s running on a Nomad cluster in the cloud. And every time you request a page on our site, a WebAssembly module is taking care of the work. Some of the technologies we have used will be familiar:
- Hippo is our user interface
- The CMS is hosted and served by Wagi
- Our packages (in this case, the website) are stored in Bindle
- Static files are served with the Wagi Fileserver
We’ve got a blog post coming soon that explains how we built this system, kicking it off with a discussion of our Bartholomew CMS. We’ll share how you can grab a few open source projects and set this up yourself.
But we don’t intend to stop here.
So what is Fermyon going to do? We’ve got three big goals:
- We are participating with Bytecode Alliance to build the core tools for cloud-side WebAssembly. Join in!
- With CNCF, we are working to build a community around cloud-side WebAssembly. Cloud Native Wasm Day is coming in May.
- And when it comes to slinging the code, we are building the Fermyon Platform, a new iteration of the microservice architecture that will be easier to write, run, and maintain.
Over the coming weeks, we will be publishing articles on this blog that will articulate our goals, introduce our new open source tools, and help newcomers get up to speed on WebAssembly. We hope you’ll join us for the ride!
If you want to be the first to know what we’re up to, click the 👋 Get Updates button in the top-right corner or follow us on Twitter at @FermyonTech