Cosmonic Delivers on Promise to Support Latest Wasm Standards

At the Kubecon + CloudNativeCon Europe conference this week, Cosmonic revealed that version 1.0 of a wasmCloud runtime environment for running WebAssembly (Wasm) applications based on the latest adopted standards is now available.

Now being advanced under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), wasmCloud 1.0 adds support for the latest iteration of the WebAssembly System Interface (WASI), a set of standard application programming interfaces (APIs) for building Wasm applications.

Developed under the auspices of the ByteCode Alliance, WASI 0.2 defines a highly portable artifact that can be deployed on multiple cloud-native platforms, including Kubernetes clusters, as an alternative to containers. Components created using WASI 0.2 interoperate using standard Wasm Interface Types (WIT). A WIT over Remote Procedure Call (wRPC) then provides a protocol to integrate those components over a distributed network.

The wasmCloud platform now provides the first implementation of wRPC over NATS messaging framework being advanced by the CNCF along with standard interfaces such as wasi:cli for tools, wasi:runtime for configuration and wasi:http.

Developers can also now sign components with ed25519 keys to enable offline verification of component identity and issuer.
Finally, version 1.0 of wasmCloud adds support for 1.0 logs and metrics collected via open source OpenTelemetry software also being advanced under the auspices of the CNCF.

Cosmonic CTO Bailey Hayes said that approach delivers on a promise to enable organizations to write applications and run them anywhere that was first made more than two decades ago with the rise of Java. Wasm applications, however, will prove easier to build as developers learn to reuse components, much like building blocks, to create applications that will run faster than existing container-based applications, she noted.

That’s critical because the current approach to building cloud-native applications is overly complex, resulting in a high cost of cognition that conspires to slow the rate at which modern applications are being built and deployed, added Hayes.

It’s still early days as far as wasmCloud adoption is concerned, but as Wasm gains traction, the need for a runtime platform becomes more apparent. The project is expected to reach incubation status within the CNCF this spring, but Adobe and BMW are already running it in production environments. Cosmonic is betting that as Wasm standards solidify there will be an explosion in the number of applications being built using the artifact that was originally designed to run inside a browser.

Less clear is the impact Wasm might have on the current reliance on containers and Kubernetes clusters to build and deploy cloud-native applications. It may be a while before Wasm is relied on as much to build applications, but as it continues to evolve, developers will have another option for building highly portable applications.

In the meantime, DevOps teams should assume there will soon be another type of software artifact moving through their pipelines. The challenge and the opportunity now is to modernize those pipelines in a way that enables multiple types of software artifacts capable of running on a wide variety of platforms to flow through with the least amount of friction possible.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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