Weekly email from SSI

The following is edited out of the free weekly emails POffringa will send you if you sign up at SSI. Also included was new information on: OKTA, TWLO and FSLY. The following isn’t so new; but, this was news to me.

From Fastly’s Altitude user conference in Dec 2019, entitled “From content to logic and beyond: The future of Fastly’s edge”. The speaker was Fastly’s Chief Architect. He covered the history of Compute@Edge, design decisions the team made and potential use cases. The audience was Fastly’s customers and this coincided with the beginning of the private beta program.

I thought there were a few interesting take-aways for investors.

First, He covered how Fastly addressed the design of their serverless solution and its foundation on WebAssembly, which differs from the approach used by the cloud vendors. He pulled out an interesting quote from the founder and CTO of Docker, arguably the most popular container technology. “If WASM+WASI existed in 2008, we wouldn’t have needed to create Docker. That’s how important it is. WebAssembly on the server is the future of computing.” Twitter, March 2019. This underscores the cutting-edge nature of the technology underpinnings for Fastly’s serverless edge compute solution.

Second, the speaker covered a number of potential use cases for Compute@Edge. He mentioned that these were based on the outcome of a survey conducted with existing Fastly customers, asking what they would want to run at the edge. Here were some examples:
API response stitching. All modern mobile and web apps communicate with the application back-end through APIs. Responses of different API types, cacheable and non-cacheable, can be coalesced into a single response, lowering load on the back-end servers (and compute cost).

Dynamic manifest manipulation for OTT video delivery. This enables the list of video files to be changed on the fly. As an example, it could allow the fastest CDN selection for every user request on demand. Improves live video event delivery.

Server-side ad insertion for OTT video and header bidding for web content. These are common AdTech use cases. Moving these decisions to the edge would dramatically improve response times.

Near the end of the presentation, he mentioned that the Beta program was currently over-subscribed.

Me here: I wish I didn’t work full time and could pull out the companies in the Compute@edge Beta release; but, I do remember it was either Starrob or Denny, might have been Muji, who said here ‘those companies are the whose who of the edge providers’, ‘Local being the consumers devices and The Edge being the providers of services to the consumer’.