Storage Unpacked 246 – The Next Era of Serverless Technology with Matt Butcher from Fermyon

Chris EvansCloud, Databases, Guest Speakers, Serverless, Storage, Storage Unpacked Podcast

In this episode, Chris has a wide-ranging conversation with Fermyon co-founder and CEO, Matt Butcher. The main essence of the discussion is to look at serverless technologies and how storage features are integrated into that ecosystem. However, as you will hear, the content includes everything from Mainframes to Microsoft, and Kubernetes to WebAssembly.

Serverless is a technology that provides a “request/response” type operation for code execution. The request trigger could pass data in, or be requesting a data query. In any event, a serverless framework needs to offer security, multi-tenancy and stateful retention of data. Modern stateless environments are using WebAssembly (also known as WASM) to provide a secure and scalable runtime into which features are implemented that offer abstraction from the underlying platform.

Fermyon has created a developer framework called Spin, which now includes a key/value database implementation. You can find out more here – including trying the ecosystem out for yourself.

We expect to see much greater use of serverless technologies in the future, as the ecosystem matures and develops.

For more information on Fermyon, check out the company website.

Elapsed time: 00:53:00


  • 00:00:00 – Intros
  • 00:02:45 – Microsoft and Open Source….hmm
  • 00:03:50 – WebAssembly (WASM) is set to be a leading area of technology
  • 00:04:30 – How would Matt describe “serverless”?
  • 00:07:30 – Serverless has lots of parallels to web server technology
  • 00:10:40 – Perl and PHP provided extensions to early GCI solutions
  • 00:14:50 – Mainframe had the multi-tenant security model
  • 00:15:30 – Microsoft derailed the mainframe
  • 00:17:55 – Security is an important aspect of serverless
  • 00:23:00 – What is the transactional nature of serverless?
  • 00:25:10 – Replicas cost money – but don’t have the same overhead in serverless
  • 00:27:30 – Billing should be called accounting
  • 00:28:15 – Lambda executes 10 trillion serverless functions per month
  • 00:30:30 – Features like networking and storage are essential serverless features
  • 00:33:15 – Let developers deal with state – right?
  • 00:36:45 – Application-based state is like keeping spinning plates in play
  • 00:40:05 – WASM provides a framework to run code without additional coding
  • 00:42:30 – Version 2.0 frameworks should enable plugin features
  • 00:43:50 – All storage (including databases) are just a function call away
  • 00:47:25 – Any implementation needs to balance development and operations
  • 00:50:30 – What is Fermyon building? Spin and Fermyon Cloud
  • 00:51:50 – Wrap Up

Matt’s Bio

Matt Butcher is the co-founder and CEO of Fermyon, the serverless WebAssembly company. Matt is one of the original creators of Helm, Brigade, CNAB, OAM, Glide and Krustlet. He has written and co-written many books, including “Learning Helm” and “Go in Practice.” He is a co-creator of the “Illustrated Children’s Guide to Kubernetes” series. These days, he works mostly on WebAssembly projects such as Spin, Fermyon Cloud and Bartholomew. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and lives in Colorado. 

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