The PRQL: WebAssembly: The Future of Cloud Workloads Made Simple with Matt Butcher of Fermyon Technologies

January 8, 2024

In this bonus episode, Eric and Kostas preview their upcoming conversation with Matt Butcher of Fermyon Technologies.


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Eric Dodds 00:05
Welcome to The Data Stack Show prequel. This is a short bonus episode where we preview the upcoming show. You’ll get to meet our guests and hear about the topics we’re going to cover. If they’re interesting to you, you can catch the full length show when it drops on Wednesday. We are here with Matt butcher from fermion. Matt, welcome to The Data Stack Show. We’re thrilled to have you as a guest.

Matt Butcher 00:31
Yeah, thanks for having me. I’m looking forward to this.

Eric Dodds 00:35
Oh, man, so much to talk about. So give us a quick background on sort of where you came from, and what you’re doing at Fermyon. Yep.

Matt Butcher 00:45
So if we were to rewind to my high school career at time, I would have told you that my that when I grew up, I wanted to be a philosopher. So when I started college, that’s what I was setting out to do. But I had sort of gotten a job on the side doing some computer stuff. And philosophy degrees are expensive, especially when you’re going to do a bachelor’s and a master’s than a PhD. And so I ended up kind of paying my way through by writing software and doing stuff like that. And at some point, I realized that software was a lot more fun than philosophy and kind of switched career tracks. Of course, after I’d incurred lots of debt, and really went from there. And I first got interested in content management systems and did a lot of work in the Drupal ecosystem. By that point, I learned like Java and PHP and languages like that. Then I got working at HP cloud originally to do their documentation. And as soon as I got kind of a taste of cloud technologies, and what was going to be popular or possible, and what you know, I kind of had one of those moments where I saw a glimpse of the future. And I was like, I want to be part of that. And that really shifted my career. And I’ve gone on from there into, you know, through Microsoft, through Google and on into starting up fermion, a couple of weeks ago, a couple of weeks ago, a couple of years ago, that’s been a fast couple of months, last couple of years.

Eric Dodds 02:02
Very cool. Give us just a quick overview of what Fermyon is.

Matt Butcher 02:08
Yeah, we set out to build what we saw as the next wave of cloud computing. And we thought that the foundation of that was going to be a technology developed for the browser, but that we thought was better applied on the cloud or on the server side. And that was web assembly. So we’ve been kind of doing the thing that we do best. And that’s it, you know, building an open source tool and toolkit that developers can use to get started. And then building a hosted cloud platform, and server side Kubernetes style application platform where people can run these things in their cloud.

Kostas Pardalis 02:40
That’s amazing. And I’d love to get more into this. Because, like, web assembly, it has been around for a while now. We’ve heard many things about it. Like many different use cases, it has been used in some, like cases also like as part of like products and stuff like that. But yeah, we will we still get back this feeling that we are still not there with like WebAssembly. Like there’s a lot of promise. And we are still like looking like to see how it gets delivered. Right, like so one of the things that I definitely want like to go through, like during our conversation is about that. And I’m sure like you’re going like to Shell both like understands what’s going on with the ecosystem like today. But what about you like what are like a couple of things that you’re looking forward like to talk about during our like, recording?

Matt Butcher 03:34
Yeah, that one. I mean, you just hit one of my favorite topics, which is I think web assembly. You know, it has shown promise in a lot of different areas. But until I don’t know, maybe a couple of weeks ago, some of the most exciting pieces of web assembly were not yet accessible to the general developer, it was all very r&d, and a little rough around the edges. And now with the component model lending and being supported, suddenly, we’ve got a whole bunch of new and interesting things that we can build with web assembly. And to me, the future that opens up out of web assembly, and the component model is just so exciting. There’s so many interesting things we’ll be able to do from, you know, true polyglot programming to being able to overlay security models and things like that in ways we’ve never been able to do before. So I’m looking forward to talking about this. I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun.

Kostas Pardalis 04:22
Yeah. 100% Let’s go and do it. All right,

Eric Dodds 04:25
that’s a wrap for the prequel. The full length episode will drop Wednesday morning. Subscribe now so you don’t miss it.