Rafay Systems is a startup that aims to ease the process of developing and deploying applications at the infrastructure edge, whether it be within a metro network, a remote data center, or at the radio access network edge. Rafay is aiming to stand out from the cloud providers and CDNs by allowing developers to bring their own custom applications, and not just using pre-defined applications or functions.
- Rafay Systems is positioning itself as a provider of a fully programmable edge compute service.
- More than just an edge cloud provider, our understanding is that Rafay is also aiming to integrate a number of critical services developers need to manage the application. deployment lifecycle across edges running in different geographies. In addition, Rafay also expects to provide network services that developers can leverage to scale workloads running across various ‘Rafay edges.’
- As with other providers, educating developers on use cases will be key, as well as differentiating from the services that CDNs and cloud providers offer.
Founder Haseeb Budhani talked to Edge Research about the opportunity that Rafay is chasing. Budhani believes that there is a clear market opportunity for giving developers the ability to run their application logic anywhere that they need to. Developers should be able to leverage compute and storage resources at the edge of the network as a service, just as they would with any cloud service. Rafay has termed (and trademarked) this concept the “Programmable Edge.” (For further explication, Budhani outlined what the Programmable Edge should be, and some of the possible use cases in this post on LinkedIn.)
Rafay hasn’t formally launched the service yet, but is presently engaged with partners and customers and expects to deliver a Beta version of the service in the summer of 2018.
Rafay Systems was founded in 2017 by:
- Haseeb Budhani-
Co-founder and CEO
Formerly co-founder and CEO of Soha Systems
- Hanumantha Kavuluru-
Co-founder & VP of Engineering
Formerly co-founder and VP engineering at Soha Systems
The co-founders’ previous company, Soha Systems, was acquired by Akamai Technologies in October 2016.
Rafay Systems has secured an undisclosed amount of seed funding from:
- Costanoa Ventures
- Menlo Ventures
- Moment Ventures
The heightened interest and use of microservices and containers has changed how applications are developed; where they are to be deployed is the key question. Performance, cost, availability of applications are all factors pointing to a need to move application logic closer to end users-to the ‘Edge.’ CDNs have the distributed resources needed to do this, and arguably already allow logic to run at the edge of their networks.
Cloudflare Workers, Fastly Edge Cloud platform, Akamai’s Distributed Edge Compute and Cloudlets are among the examples of how CDNs are evolving into programmable platforms.
Rafay’s position is that CDNs aren’t programmable enough. Custom code can be deployed on CDN edges but only by the CDN’s internal engineering and professional services teams. To enable any developer to leverage the infrastructure edge, Budhani argues that a different approach is needed.
Another big difference between edge services from cloud providers as well as CDNs: edge services offer functions that are invoked to handle individual HTTP requests, and are bounded by time (e.g. 5 minutes in the case of AWS Lambda for a function to be performed). Functions-based environments may not be the best fit for applications that are running continuously , are generating logs or other types of output, among other factors.