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Temporal picks up $103m for workflow-as-code platform

Microservice orchestration platform aims for scalable apps

A startup that provides application state management systems for Netflix, Snap, and Hashicorp, among others, has raised $103m in Series B funding to help the company expand.

Temporal claims to be seeing strong demand for its platform that helps to manage application workflows at scale.

The latest bout of funding has been led by Index Ventures, joined by other investors that took part in the seed funding and Series A funding, which were led by Amplify Partners and Sequoia Capital respectively. This brings Temporal's total funding since incorporation in 2019 to $128m and puts the firm on a post-money valuation of $1.5bn.

Temporal's technology is described as microservice orchestration platform that enables developers to build scalable applications without sacrificing productivity or reliability. It is already in use to solve state management challenges at companies such as Netflix, Snap, Box, Hashicorp, Coinbase, and others. Netflix has apparently chosen Temporal as the platform upon which to base its next-generation continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) developer service.

Since the Series A funding, Temporal has also moved from developing an open-source platform to adding a commercial model based on Temporal Cloud, a fully managed cloud offering of the open-source Temporal Server.

According to Temporal chief product officer Charles Zedlewski, the challenges that the platform was developed to solve are the same developers face when building scalable, cloud-native applications.

"What people find is that there's a price to pay for that kind of application," Zedlewski told The Register.

"The price to pay is a combination of complexity, as I have many more moving parts to consider and factor in when I'm writing my application, and unreliability. Because I have many more moving parts, the chances that any one thing could be going wrong or behaving inconsistently keep going up and up and up and up. So everybody wants all these benefits, but would rather not pay that cost if they can help it," he said.

According to Temporal, one of the aspects of its system is that it abstracts the complexity of a distributed system. These are often a mixture of stateless services, databases, cron jobs, and queues, and as they scale, responding to multiple asynchronous events and tracking the state of everything becomes more and more challenging. Temporal effectively makes all these part of the platform and takes care of them itself.

By developing an application in Temporal and running it with Temporal, developers end up with a cloud-architected application, but one that is much more reliable than before, Zedlewski claimed.

In Temporal, an application is comprised of a set of Temporal Workflow Executions. Each Workflow Execution has exclusive access to its local state and executes concurrently to all other Workflow Executions, communicating with them and the external world environment via message passing. These Workflow Executions are intended to be lightweight, consuming few resources, and so a Temporal Application may consist of millions or billions of Workflow Executions, the firm said.

Developers use a Temporal SDK to write application code in their chosen programming language, while the Temporal Platform handles the durability, availability, and scalability of the application, the firm said. Current SDKs are for TypeScript, Go, Java, and PHP.

Temporal was founded by Maxim Fateev and Samar Abbas, who led the design and development of Simple Workflow at AWS and have since architected other business-critical projects.

"The challenges Samar and I saw at Amazon 15 years ago are the same challenges in front of almost every company today," Fateev said in a statement. "The average business application now lives across dozens of stateful servers and services, which has been great for flexibility and scale, but it's also made applications increasingly brittle and difficult to troubleshoot or enhance."

Zedlewski claimed that Temporal has seen "exponential growth" so far in the adoption of the open-source version of the platform. "We've averaged about 25 per cent month-on-month compounded growth, through the life of the company. And that continues into this year," he said. ®

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