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Introducing Runners - A New Compute Construct for a Serverless Developer Experience

Over the past decade, as operators have worked to make developers lives easier, we’ve seen an evolution in how we consume compute resources. Bare metal provided raw performance, but was inflexible. Virtual machines allowed for greater server density and high availability, but were still “clunky.” Containers, the most recent evolution, removed the overhead of a hypervisor and introduced a new level of portability that the industry had not seen before. Furthermore, containers allowed us to break down monolithic applications intro “microservices,” where each service can scale out independently, rather than scaling up an entire monolith.

This evolution of compute has been instrumental in setting the stage for what has become “cloud native,” however, we feel that developers need to be completely abstracted from compute resources for the promises of cloud native to be realized.

Serverless Economics is About Developer Experience not Infrastructure

Many of the early serverless options touted the ability to save on infrastructure costs offering metered billing per request and/or per millisecond. As it turns out, infrastructure cost savings with serverless is debatable. Not only must you pay for the compute resources required for your application, but you are also billed for required, auxiliary services like API Requests, storage and networking, which can add up fast (see: The Hidden Costs of Serverless.)

The truth is, Infrastructure will always be required to run applications. That’s why we think that the faster path to value in serverless is focusing on making developers more productive. That means abstracting developers entirely from servers, containers, networks - all of the constructs that are typically associated with the operations side of the house. FaaStRuby handles these components of the software development lifecycle, eliminating the handoffs between development and operations through automation - this is key for any organization trying to become more agile. If developers can focus on their core competencies and produce measurable benefits, organizations can achieve their digital transformation goals faster.

But that's not all - we are working on an innovative tool that will run locally and provide developers a jaw dropping experience. Work will finally be fun again. Stay tuned.

Introducing Runners - A New Compute Construct for a Serverless Developer Experience

The evolution of software architectures has always been tightly coupled to innovations at the compute layer. Starting with bare metal, the only option was to run all of the services that made up an application in one or more physical boxes, and scaling in/out was just a matter of how fast you could provision a new physical server in a rack.

Virtual machines came as a new compute unit, adding a layer of abstraction. That turned the metal boxes into mere dumb copies - the provisioning of application servers moved from cloning hard drives and sticking them on racks to software defined strategies and automation, enabling the cloud as we know it.

More recently, containers emerged as a new compute unit, adding another layer of abstraction. Containers have become the defacto standard for cloud native applications and enabled microservice architectures, which has allowed us to manage and quickly scale services independently, regardless of the underlying infrastructure.

The evolution in software development techniques, coupled with the automation capabilities of virtual machines and containers, has brought us wonders like Agile and DevOps. Those techniques allowed us to speed up the software development lifecycle, and fostered a huge ecosystem of tools. Now we build applications that are more secure, reliable and scalable. The time-to-market has decreased significantly as we continuously deploy changes to our production environments.

The constant push for increased velocity in the software development lifecycle has brought us serverless technologies with the promise to reduce operational overhead. However, we feel that compute is lagging behind and new innovations at that layer are required to pave way for the next logical step in software architecture - functions.

We are excited to introduce you to what we believe is the next generation of compute - we call it Runners.

What is a runner?

A Runner is a secure, stateless, always-running, state-of-the-art compute unit capable of accessing any function code instantly at the moment of execution, eliminating cold start times.

Thanks to an innovative security model, a single runner is capable of running multiple functions and prevent data from leaking between them. When you invoke a function on FaaStRuby, the code is executed in a self-contained, isolated sandbox inside of an always-warm Runner. That sets us apart from the other platforms, where every function is a container that must die to free up resources when idle - the root of the cold start problem. Runners allow us to achieve the same level of efficiency in terms of resource utilization without having to constantly spin containers up and down.

We believe this technology will have a huge impact in serverless adoption. Functions will no longer be seen as only good for glue code or data processing workloads, but as the building blocks for fast, scalable and resilient applications, capable of providing delightful mobile and web experiences without delays.

Runners are also FaaStRuby’s unit of billing. Because a single runner can be used to run multiple functions, users are charged $5 per runner per month, without any additional variable costs.

Runners are unique in three ways:

Ops-free developer experience

Developers deploy their code with a single command, FaaStRuby automates the entire test, build, deploy and operate processes within the runners.

Suitable for functions, web apps and more...

No Cold starts means that you can build and run from simple functions to fully featured web applications.

Simple billing

$5 per runner per month - no additional usage charges.

Get Started with a New Serverless Paradigm

You can get started with FaaStRuby today for FREE and have a Ruby or Crystal function up and running in minutes.

If you’re interested in our SaaS offering, join our early access wait list here.

If you’re interested in Self Hosted FaaStRuby, contact us for pricing.