Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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Startup Netifi Eyes ‘Reactive’ Microservices 

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A microservices startup built upon open-source software designed to replace the HTTP data transfer protocol has attracted seed funding from early investors led by Dell Technologies Capital.

Netifi, founded last year by cloud software specialists who previously worked at Netflix, Nike (NYSE: NKE) and JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM), said this week it raised $2 million in seed funding. The startup is focusing on development of a next-generation platform targeting “reactive” microservices and emerging cloud-native applications.

The Bay Area startup’s platform is based on open source development at Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Pivotal Software (NYSE: PVTL) on a project called RSocket. The application protocol is said to require less infrastructure overhead and is therefore a prime candidate to replace HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) for developing and deploying microservices and cloud-native apps.

The startup’s founders said Tuesday (Aug. 14) the open source framework provides a new communication approach that targets cloud-native workloads while leverage unique JavaScript capabilities.

“Distributed systems are inherently unpredictable in their performance and applying the same techniques and technologies that were used before simply won’t work,” said Robert Roeser, Netifi’s founder and CEO.

Among the legacy issues the startup hopes to address are replacing infrastructure technologies best suited to on-premises development. Some, like REST, have resulted in development and operational challenges when applied to microservices and cloud-based applications.

Source: Netifi

The startup said it expects to introduce a “community version” of its platform based on the RSocket application protocol followed “in the coming months” by an enterprise version that would include new features for deploying microservices and cloud-native applications. The enterprise edition could be deployed in the cloud, on-premise of in hybrid configurations.

Netifi’s “reactive” microservices architecture dubbed “Proteus” is described as providing cloud developers with “transparent API management” and services like predictive load balancing. The platform is supported on major public cloud vendors as well as Docker, Kubernetes, Mesosphere’s datacenter operation system and other container and microservices platforms.

The platform responds to current microservices that the startup argues are “fundamentally broken.” Today’s enterprise microservices platforms are “one part development and two parts cobbling together, operationalizing, and supporting a Rube Goldberg machine of open source components with questionable quality and performance, the company argues.

Netifi’s other cofounders include: CTO Ryland Degnan, a former senior software engineer at Netflix; and chief product officer Greg Whitaker, previously a cloud platform architect at Nike.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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