Earlier this week, StackPath announced StackPath EdgeEngine, a new serverless computing service designed to allow developers to run code at the edge without the need for a server, virtual machine or container.
“The edge is the new frontier in cloud computing,” said Lance Crosby, StackPath co-founder and CEO. “EdgeEngine gives developers the power to customize workloads at the edge without the burden or overhead of managing infrastructure. It’s just the first in a number of edge computing solutions we have in the works, and an unprecedented opportunity for businesses to control how data and traffic is handled right up to the point it reaches their end users, or where it hits their workloads.”
“Having the ability to create a dynamic user-experience at the edge is a total game changer,” said Ben Gabler, StackPath Senior Vice President, Product. “ At StackPath, we can’t always predict every feature or use case that we will support, but today that’s no longer an issue. With the power of EdgeEngine the customer possibilities are endless.”
The Potential Uses of EdgeEngine
EdgeEngine has a range of potential uses for developers, including:
- The delivery of personalized, dynamic content based on request data: end user experience can be modified at the edge instead of having to compromise on speed and rely upon client-side execution
- The customization of cybersecurity: scripts can be deployed, which execute before a request even reaches content e.g. blocking or allowing WordPress Administration
- The building of an API entry point or complete API gateway: via the creation of scripts that designate specific routes (as many as needed) to a delivery site
- The reduction of total cost of operations: by handling computing tasks at the edge as opposed to returning them to the origin, origin compute workloads and data transfer tasks are reduced
- End-user experience is improved overall: by processing data from and replying to end users from the nearest edge PoP, response time is lowered and network applications can exist in near-real-time.
Use Case Scenarios
As part of its release of EdgeEngine, StackPath has noted multiple possible use case scenarios and different industries primed to take advantage of the edge, including:
- The Technology Behind Advertising – helping businesses customize content to individual users based on their location, session information, user characteristics, etc.
- Media & Entertainment – helping video or image providers offer useful personalization services to their users, and protect their media through embedding personalized ads or serving all images with a watermark
- Real-time Internet of Things – As more IoT devices operate in real-time, the necessity for quick responses based on their data is increasingly important
- API Platforms – APIs that offer quick data such as the news or stock prices, or respond to continually changing conditions, such as online gaming, must react to queries with as low latency as possible or risk frustrating their users
- SaaS Companies and Online Sellers – These groups continually adjust their sites to create the best online experience for their customers. EdgeEngine allows for A/B testing, creating redirects to different areas within their site or controlling bot traffic – each one in real0time.
A Tool for Developers
EdgeEngine, as in the case of most of the edge services and platforms out there, is specifically catered to developers. Developers that “want to write code to meet functional requirements and create value, but do not want to have to worry about the process of deploying that code or the security implications of different deployment methods”. Developers in EdgeEngine upload their own code, which is then automatically deployed to the edge in an isolated runtime environment. Deployment, security and performance issues are taken care of by StackPath not the developer, giving the developer more time to write functional code. Developers can also implement responses to API queries at the edge itself, which eliminates a round trip request from the origin server.
StackPath claims that EdgeEngine allows developers to “not only run their own customized code but run it in more places on the globe and on a network with more capacity than most, if not all, of our competitors in the serverless computing space”.
The architects behind EdgeEngine are also targeting the needs of software architects, chief technical officers and chief security officers.
How EdgeEngine is Being Offered
StackPath is currently offering the new service as an add-on to its existing StackPath CDN and Edge Delivery packages, however, the company intends to soon make it available for use with any of its services, or as a standalone. They also intend for it to in time support a wide selection of languages.
EdgeEngine is priced at $10/month per stack for 15M requests ($0.60 for each additional 1M requests). There are no limits on the number of scripts or delivery domains per stack.
The History of StackPath
StackPath was founded in 2015 by Lance Crosby (formerly the CEO and founder of cloud computing provider SoftLayer) and has headquarters in Dallas, Texas with offices around the world. It is a platform of secure edge services targeted towards developers working on websites, media delivery services and IoT devices. The company grew extremely quickly over 2016 and 2017, in part through acquiring key services such as Highwinds Network Group (CDN), Max CDN (developer CDN), Fireblade (cloud security and traffic management), Encrypt.me (secure VPN provider, formerly Cloak) and IPVanish (an anonymous VPN service. The company ended 2017 with an annual run rate of $200M, having bought in $157M across the year.