Xata is a database service for serverless apps

Meet Xata, a startup with a new take on managed databases. The company runs your database for you and turns it into an API so that you can query and update it from your serverless app. Xata has raised a $5 million funding round. Its product is not yet ready for prime time but the company is sharing details.

Xata seems particularly well suited for Jamstack websites. Jamstack has been a popular way of developing and deploying websites at scale. Popular Jamstack hosting platforms include Netlify, Vercel and Cloudflare Pages.

Applications are deployed on a global edge network and most of the logic is handled by API calls. The result is a website or an application that loads quickly and can handle a lot of traffic.

Deploying a Jamstack website is quite easy as it often integrates tightly with your Git repository. When you commit code changes, serverless platforms take care of deploying your application. Integrating with API-based developer tools is relatively effortless as well as you don’t manage the logic yourself.

For instance, deploying a website with static content and a Stripe checkout module doesn’t require a ton of effort — Stripe manages the payment servers for you. It gets a bit more complicated if you want to use a live database and interact with it. Traditional database software doesn’t rely on API calls across the internet to add a row, search through multiple rows and find data.

Xata is focusing on databases and want to make it easier to integrate a database with your serverless app. You don’t have to take care of the underlying infrastructure as Xata can scale the database for you. You don’t have to update software, move data to a new server, etc.

Your database is distributed across multiple data centers to improve response times and redundancy. It supports many data types including images. After that, interacting with the database works like any RESTful API out there.

The startup is also drawing some inspiration from popular no-code startups, such as Airtable. You can open your database in a web browser and interact with your data directly from there. For instance, you can filter the current view, sort data using a specific criteria and get the API query that you can use in your code.

If you store a lot of data in your database, you can search through your data using a free-text search feature. You can also leverage Xata for analytics by creating charts and visualizations.

The ability to interact with your data from a web browser is Xata’s competitive advantage. Many companies rely on Airtable as their first backend to prototype a new project. Xata could become a production-ready version of this Airtable-as-a-backend data management model.

The $5 million round was led by Index Ventures. Operator Collective, SV Angel, X-Factor and firstminute capital also participated. Some business angels, such as Shay Banon and Uri Boness from Elastic, Neha Narkhede from Confluent, Guillermo Rauch from Vercel, Elad Gil from Color Genomics and Christian Bach and Mathias Biilmann from Netlify also invested.

The startup was founded by Monica Sarbu, who used to be the Director of Engineering at Elastic. So she probably knows a thing or two about scaling databases.

Image Credits: Xata

#database, #developer, #fundings-exits, #serverless, #startups

DigitalOcean enhances serverless capabilities with Nimbella acquisition

As developers look for ways to simplify how they create software, serverless solutions, which enable them to write code without worrying about the underlying infrastructure required to run their applications, is becoming increasingly popular. DigitalOcean announced today that it is enhancing its existing offering in this area with the acquisition of serverless startup Nimbella. The companies did not share the terms of the deal.

With Nimbella, the company is getting a platform for building serverless applications that is built on the open source container orchestration platform, Kubernetes and Apache OpenWhisk, which is itself an open source serverless development platform.

DigitalOcean CEO Yancey Spruill, who took over two years ago, refers to Nimbella’s capabilities as Function as a Service with the goal being to simplify serverless development in an open source context for its target customers.”Serverless kinds of capabilities are taking a whole level of the infrastructure burden away from developers and businesses and we absorb that. We’ll allow our customers to have more configurability around the tools, which just removes burdens for them and allows them to go faster,” he said.

In practical terms, Nimbella CEO Anshu Agarwal says that means they are providing a specific set of tools to build sophisticated serverless applications and connect to other DigitalOcean services. “The capabilities that we will be adding to DigitalOcean portfolio are a fast solution, a function as a service solution that also integrates with the underlying DigitalOcean services [like] managed databases, storage and other services that make it make it easier for a developer to develop full applications, not just addressing events, but doing things which are completely stateless,” Agarwal explained.

Spruill said that this wasn’t the company’s first foray into serverless. That began last year when it offered its initial serverless tooling, but it wanted to build on its current offering and Nimbella fit the bill.

DigitalOcean is a cloud Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service provider, aiming at individual developers, startups and SMBs. While DigitalOcean’s $318 million 2020 revenue was a fraction of the $129 billion cloud market, it is proof that there is still money to be made even with a small slice of that market.

The companies did not discuss the terms of the deal, the number of employees involved or even the title that Agarwal would have when the deal closed, but the plan is to fully integrate Nimbella into the DigitalOcean portfolio and eventually make it a DigitalOcean-branded product some time in the first half of next year.

#cloud, #cloud-infrastructure-market, #digitalocean, #exit, #fundings-exits, #ma, #mergers-and-acquisitions, #open-source, #serverless, #startups, #tc

Webiny nabs $3.5M seed to build serverless development framework on top of serverless CMS

Webiny, an early-stage startup that launched in 2019 with an open-source, serverless CMS, had also developed a framework to help build the CMS, and found that customers were also interested in that to help build their own serverless apps. Today, Webiny announced a $3.5 million seed round to continue developing both pieces.

Microsoft’s venture fund M12 led the round, with participation from Samsung Next, Episode 1, Cota Capital and other unnamed investors. The company previously raised $348,000 in 2019.

Webiny founder Sven Al Hamad says that when the company launched, he had an inkling that serverless would be the future and started by building an open-source serverless CMS, but then something interesting happened.

“We spoke to more than 300 companies, who had actually approached us and they also believed that the future is going to be built on top of serverless infrastructure. While they were intrigued by the CMS we built, they were more intrigued in terms of how we built it because they had tried serverless and they had a poor experience,” Al Hamad explained.

It turned out that the Webiny team was spending the vast majority of its time building an underlying serverless framework in order to build the CMS on top of that, and he began to realize that maybe they should be marketing and selling both the framework and the CMS.

“There was still a lot of interest for the CMS, but a lot of companies wanted both, being able to use the CMS for some of the content platforms, but also being able to build custom APIs on top, custom business logic, all on top of serverless,” he said.

At that point, Al Hamad realized that his startup had two products and that’s where they stand today as they take on this new capital to help build out the company. While he is still working on building a community and reports that he hosts a Slack community with close to a 1,000 developers, the goal is to use this money to begin building commercial products on top of their open-source offerings.

That will involve some sort of enterprise offering with management features for complex environments, single sign-on, better security and so forth.

Serverless is a way of delivering infrastructure in an automated way, so that the developer can concentrate on building the application without worrying about delivering the correct amount of resources. But it requires a very specific way of programming that involves writing functions and triggers. Webiny’s serverless framework is designed to help developers build these specialized apps and the related bits to make it all work.

The company currently has nine employees, with plans to add about six more over the remainder of 2021. He says that diversity is top of mind, but there are challenges in a tight market for technical talent. “We are thinking openly about diversity, but the overall market in terms of the talent available is making it very hard for us to find that balance,” he said. He says that there needs to be an effort across the entire system to train more diverse talent in STEM roles, but he will continue to try look for a diverse staff in spite of the challenges.

He says that his employees are spread out, but when it’s possible to be back in the office, he intends to make offices available where there are pools of people, while giving them the flexibility to decide when and if to come in.

#cloud, #cms, #developer, #funding, #m12, #microsoft-m12, #open-source, #recent-funding, #serverless, #startups, #tc, #webiny

AWS announces high resource Lambda functions, container image support & millisecond billing

AWS announced some big updates to its Lambda serverless function service today. For starters, starting today it will be able to deliver functions with up to 10MB of memory and 6 vCPUs (virtual CPUs). This will allow developers building more compute-intensive functions to get the resources they need.

“Starting today, you can allocate up to 10 GB of memory to a Lambda function. This is more than a 3x increase compared to previous limits. Lambda allocates CPU and other resources linearly in proportion to the amount of memory configured. That means you can now have access to up to 6 vCPUs in each execution environment,” the company wrote in a blog post announcing the new capabilities.

Serverless computing doesn’t mean there are no servers. It means that developers no longer have to worry about the compute, storage and memory requirements because the cloud provider — in this case, AWS — takes care of it for them, freeing them up to just code the application instead of deploying resources.

Today’s announcement combined with support for support for the AVX2 instruction set, means that developers can use this approach with more sophisticated technologies like machine learning, gaming and even high performance computing.

One of the beauties of this approach is that in theory you can save money because you aren’t paying for resources you aren’t using. You are only paying each time the application requires a set of resources and no more. To make this an even bigger advantage, the company also announced, “Starting today, we are rounding up duration to the nearest millisecond with no minimum execution time,” the company announced in a blog post on the new pricing approach.

Finally the company also announced container image support for Lambda functions. “To help you with that, you can now package and deploy Lambda functions as container images of up to 10 GB in size. In this way, you can also easily build and deploy larger workloads that rely on sizable dependencies, such as machine learning or data intensive workloads,” the company wrote in a blog post announcing the new capability.

All of these announcements in combination mean that you can now use Lambda functions for more intensive operations than you could previously, and the new billing approach should lower your overall spending as you make that transition to the new capabilities.

#amazon, #aws-reinvent-2020, #cloud, #developer, #enterprise, #lambda, #serverless, #tc

Koyeb is a serverless startup that ingests, processes and stores data with multiple cloud providers

Meet Koyeb, a new French startup founded by Yann Léger, Édouard Bonlieu and Bastien Chatelard who have previously worked at Scaleway for many years. Koyeb is a serverless startup that helps you manipulate data in different ways without worrying about your server infrastructure.

Competition has become incredibly fierce between cloud service providers, and Koyeb wants to take advantage of that. You can integrate Koyeb with multiple cloud service providers and let Koyeb do the heavy lifting.

For instance, you may store a ton of videos on an object storage bucket managed by DigitalOcean. Let’s say you want to re-encode those videos to optimize them for a new device. Koyeb can import data from this bucket, re-encode those videos and upload the new files to your bucket.

But Koyeb goes one step-further by letting you mix and match services and APIs. As cloud platforms become smarter, they provide services that go beyond running servers and storing data for you.

For instance, Google Cloud’s speech-to-text API is arguably better than Amazon Transcribe. Instead of having to manually set up a multi-cloud workflow, Koyeb can take video files from an AWS S3 bucket, transcribes the audio from those video files on Google Cloud and save the result on the AWS S3 bucket.

There are many use cases for Koyeb. It ranges from copying data from an S3-compatible object storage provider to another every day for redundancy to triggering data processing with API calls. Everything scales automatically and once a workflow is done, you no longer get billed for runtime.

There are already dozens of integrations with data sources (as input and output) and ready-to-use processing APIs. Everything can be configured in the web interface with multiple processing steps, using a command-line interface or the Koyeb API.

The company is just coming out of stealth and is already working on more product updates. For instance, you’ll be able to use Docker containers and custom functions in the future, which should enable a lot more workflows. But it’s a promising start.

#developer, #europe, #france-newsletter, #koyeb, #serverless, #startups