In the beginning was the server. It sat in a room down the hall, green LEDs blinking away. And then there were virtual machines. Before long, we were uploading our operating system images to someone else’s datacenter. Then came containers—a little faster, a little smaller, and much easier to create. With the rise of serverless functions and microservices, the time is right for a third class of cloud compute. WebAssembly is the perfect technology to sit beside containers and VMs, handling those kinds of tools that need to start instantly, execute quickly, and then exit.
In this talk, we start with the strengths and weaknesses of VMs and containers. Then we look at some emerging trends in cloud computing where gaps are forming between what we want to do and the tools we have available. From here, we talk about the virtues of WebAssembly as a cloud-side compute runtime. Is this the next wave of cloud computing?