Cosmonic Integrates Wasm PaaS With Kubernetes

Cosmonic today added a Cosmonic Connect capability for integrating WebAssembly applications with platforms such as Kubernetes within a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment that is now available as an open beta.

Taylor Thomas, director of engineering for Cosminic, says Cosmonic Connect will lay the foundation for providing connectors that simplify integrations between Wasm applications and a range of third-party platforms using a single command that is executed via a command line interface (CLI).

Cosmonic has developed a PaaS for building Wasm applications based on wasmCloud, an open source runtime the company has contributed to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

In addition, Cosmonic had developed Wadm, a tool based on an Open Application Model that enables IT teams to declaratively manage Wasm applications running on its PaaS as if it was a single file.

Wasm is a portable binary instruction format for building software that runs in a memory-safe, sandboxed execution environment, and is starting to gain traction as a method for building a new class of cloud-native applications.

Originally developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to create a common format for browsers executing JavaScript code, Wasm is now starting to be employed to rapidly build lighter-weight applications that can be deployed on any server platform—much like how JavaScript evolved to enable applications to be used on both servers and in browsers. In fact, the promise of being able to write an application once and deploy it anywhere is finally being realized using Wasm some 25 years after the initial introduction of the Java programming language.

Wasm isn’t necessarily going to replace existing approaches for building cloud-native applications using containers, but it does provide an alternative for developing lighter-weight applications that should run faster because Wasm binaries are created in a way that allows them to start up in milliseconds.

In addition, Wasm provides a more secure approach to building applications that rely on the aggregation of software components that tend to lack distinct boundaries between them. As a result, it becomes relatively simple for malware to infect all the components of an application. Wasm code runs in a sandboxed environment that isolates execution environments in a way that eliminates the ability of malware to laterally move across an application environment.

There is still work to be done in terms of making Wasm applications easier to build. Thomas says the Cosmonic PaaS provides a layer of abstraction that democratizes development of these applications in a way that makes them simpler to both build and deploy.

It’s not clear just how much momentum there is behind Wasm, but a recent straw poll of 93 IT professionals conducted by the CNCF finds 42% are writing or plan to develop server-side applications using Wasm, with 48% combining or planning to combine server-side work with client-side code.

One way or another, Wasm will eventually take its place among other artifacts for building cloud-native applications. The challenge now is determining when best to use Wasm versus other more mature options.

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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