Fermyon Technologies Inc., a startup working to simplify the development of cloud applications, today announced that it has closed a $20 million Series A funding round. 

Prominent venture capital firm Insight Partners led the round. The firm was joined by more than a half dozen other investors, including executives from Microsoft Corp., VMware Inc. and other enterprise technology companies. Fermyon has raised a total of $30 million from investors since launch. 

The startup announced its latest funding round in conjunction with the introduction of Fermyon Cloud, a new platform-as-a-service offering. The offering is designed to make it easier for developers to build cloud applications using WebAssembly.

WebAssembly is a collection of software tools originally designed for use in browsers. The technology provides the ability to build complex browser-based applications, such as simulation tools, more easily than was possible previously. WebAssembly is widely used in the developer ecosystem. 

According to Fermyon, WebAssembly is suitable for building not only browser-based programs but also cloud applications that implement a microservices architecture. A microservices architecture is an approach to application design that prioritizes modularity. It enables software teams to implement the core components of a program as separate, largely independent modules. This configuration eases certain development tasks such as rolling out updates.

Today, developers mainly use software containers to build microservices applications. One reason for the popularity of containers is that the technology is resource-efficient, which reduces hardware requirements and thereby lowers costs. Another major benefit of the technology is that it allows enterprise applications to run on multiple types of infrastructure. 

Fermyon says that WebAssembly can provide many of the same benefits as containers. Moreover, the startup argues that WebAssembly offers a more competitive feature set in certain respects. 

Like containers, WebAssembly allows applications to run on multiple types of infrastructure. But Fermyon says that it does so in a more versatile manner. Containers, the startup argues, are mainly designed to run on Linux and Windows machines, whereas WebAssembly supports other operating systems as well, such as the specialized platforms used to power industrial equipment.

Another benefit of WebAssembly is that it’s efficient. Similarly to containers, the technology reduces the number of auxiliary software components that a company must install on a server to run applications. The resulting reduction in hardware requirements lowers costs.

“WebAssembly is a ‘build once, run anywhere’ technology designed to enable apps to run inside the browser that is now being applied to solving cloud problems where speed and security are paramount,” said Fermyon co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Matt Butcher. “It has quickly become a foundation for the next wave of cloud computing alongside the container and virtual machine technologies already in use today.”

Fermyon Cloud, the new platform-as-a-service offering that Fermyon debuted today, promises to ease the task of building WebAssembly-powered applications. The startup says that developers can deploy an application on the Fermyon Cloud in as little as a few minutes. Fermyon Cloud provides a visual interface for managing workloads, as well as performance optimization features designed to improve the speed of customers’ software.

Fermyon will use its newly announced $20 million funding round to expand the adoption of the platform. The platform is currently available through an open beta program. 

Alongside Fermyon Cloud, the startup offers an open-source toolkit called the Fermyon Platform. The latter software enables companies to create a self-hosted environment for running WebAssembly applications. Fermyon also offers another open-source tool, Spin, that reduces the amount of manual work involved in WebAssembly application development. 

“Like Docker did years ago with containers, we believe Fermyon will radically simplify software delivery with WebAssembly,” said Insight Partners managing director Michael Yamnitsky.

Photo: Unsplash

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