Uptown func: Serverless types Nuweba trouser $4.8m as investors eye faster FaaS

Optimised function wrangling aims to make AWS's Lambda look like a Lada


Interview Israel-based serverless specialist Nuweba has slurped $4.8m of seed funding from investors keen on the company's bold claims that its tech runs at 10 times the speed of the competition.

Admins are increasingly looking to serverless computing and Function-as-a-Service platforms as way to put the headaches of managing machines and containery instances firmly in the hands of someone else.

What could be easier than simply lobbing a function into the likes of Amazon's Lambda and letting Bezos' boffins deal with keeping the infrastructure up and running?

Taking aside the potentially icky issue of vendor lock-in, one major problem faced by devs considering going serverless is performance. Care needs to be taken with architecture because those magic functions simply don't run very fast. On AWS, it can often be cheaper to fire up an EC2 instance and work from there. It'll almost certainly be faster.

A paper we reported on last December demonstrated examples running considerably slower on Lambda than EC2, costing more and having poorer latency. But, of course, deploying to and managing functions in the serverless world is far simpler, and developers do seem to be embracing it.

Fresh containers for all

Nuweba's co-founders, CEO Ido Neeman and CTO Yan Cybulski, took time out from counting their $4.8m to chat to The Register about how their allegedly speedier take on serverless FaaS tech works.

The pair reckon that the performance of their implementation is 10 times that of the Lambda equivalent with invocation latency times from 8ms for what Neeman describes as a "warm start" to 40ms for a "cold start". He added: "We give you a fresh new function container or set box for every invocation. We don't reuse containers. This is why we have a superior application of security to other platforms."

As former members of the Israel Defense Forces, the pair have a bit of a thing about security.

"Currently on AWS, our infrastructure is built on top [of] EC2 and we manage everything," said Cybulski. "Each client will get its own single tenant infrastructure from the AWS account [and] each client will get a different AWS account for maximum isolation."

That's correct. The thing runs on AWS EC2. Looking for Azure or Google Cloud support? Tough. The gang plans to make the leap from Amazon's cloud eventually but right now Cybulski doesn't see the demand. "Almost all of the customers we talked to are interested in services made in AWS and not any other platforms."

Words to make a Microsoft or Google exec weep.

Neeman added that support for Azure wouldn't take too much effort, but would only support Linux functions at first rather than the Windows implementation also available in Microsoft's cloud.

Part of this is down to the fact that Nuweba is, at its core, a carefully optimised branch of the Linux kernel. These proprietary tweaks are what makes the thing more rapid than the likes of Lambda.

It remains in private beta for now, which Nuweba plans to extend by the end of February. That beta will then be opened to progressively more users until a final launch (again, AWS only for now) towards the latter part of 2019.

And the cost? Slightly more than stock AWS Lambda. ®

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