Five things Runtime readers liked the most in our first month

Today: We take a look back at one month of Runtime stories, Microsoft's infrastructure group had a tough week, and the quote of the week.

Five things Runtime readers liked the most in our first month
Photo by Sincerely Media / Unsplash

Hello and welcome to Runtime! Today: We take a look back at one month of Runtime stories, Microsoft's infrastructure group had a tough week, and the quote of the week.

That was fast

It's been one month since we started publishing Runtime, which seemed like a good time to take a look back at five topics that generated the most interest among our readers, all of whom are incredibly intelligent and good-looking. You can expect to hear more about each of these topics from new and different angles as the year goes on.

Is this WebAssembly's year?

  • "What if there's another class of cloud compute, another kind of runtime, that would have these virtues of being a really strong, secure sandbox, but also would be able to start instantly, and we can move small objects around very quickly, and it could scale down to zero when no load was coming in and scale up to tens of thousands (of instances) nearly instantly when traffic started to come?" said Matt Butcher, CEO of Fermyon.
  • "My intuition is that within the next 18 months, we will have a solid signal that (Wasm) is either definitely going to progress very well, or no, this is going to be much slower," said Justin Warren, chief analyst and managing director of PivotNine.

Tomasz Tunguz has a Theory

  • "Data volumes are growing 45% a year, and so people are spending more and more time, effort and dollars in order to understand and get value from it. We've got a theme called the decade of data, and that's not changing."
  • "On the performance side, you have new blockchains, new databases that are optimized for speed. You can look at Aptos, or Mysten, and there are others. And so what you have now (in the current world) is you've got Glacier for really slow storage and then you have Redis for like super-optimal super-fast caching, and you've got a whole bunch of stuff in between. That's starting to happen in the blockchain space where there are enough databases now for different kinds of applications."
  • "I can't stand here and tell you, for every web2 database, there is a web3 equivalent. But we're getting there."

Security experts: AI is a land of contrasts

  • "There's some really strong evidence that you really should not be using large language models, especially not the ones that are commercially available right now, for extremely sensitive tasks, which could be financial advice, or legal advice, or potentially even a medical task," said Liz O'Sullivan, CEO of Vera, which helps customers securely implement AI tech.
  • "Network defenders also have an incredible opportunity to utilize generative AI in ways that I can't even imagine yet, but they're going to be able to use this to speed (up) their own detection," said Ryan Kovar, distinguished security strategist at Splunk.

Google Cloud's French disconnection

  • Outages are going to happen to every cloud provider, but modern cloud regions are supposed to be designed around availability zones, which protect an entire region from going down if an incident occurs in one building.
  • Reliability might be the most important competitive differentiator over the next decade of cloud infrastructure services, given that the Big Three offer more or less the same number of services and no longer have to explain the benefits of cloud computing to customers.
  • And the threats to those data centers will only increase as climate change leads to more intense weather in places previously considered safe.

The Fabric of our lives

  • Consider Fabric the data-analytics version of Microsoft's approach to business productivity software; you can probably find better email, team collaboration, and word-processing tools on the market, but the promise of Microsoft Office is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
  • "The Microsoft analytics stack was fractured even in the enterprise software days, and the era of the cloud had only made it worse," wrote longtime data analyst Andrew Brust in The New Stack.

Thanks to everyone for supporting Runtime during this first month! We've covered a lot of ground and there's so much more left to tackle as enterprise tech looks to rebound from a rough patch of layoffs and budget freezes.

  • It's clear from one month of conversations with the best and brightest in this industry that businesses are evaluating how they spend their budgets much more carefully than they did over the past five years, and that means the market is going to get even more competitive.
  • Keep checking your inbox for Runtime each week for the insights you'll need to navigate this changing world, and if you like what you see, tell a friend.

Look out

It was a rough week for the teams that keep Microsoft's cloud services up and running. Outlook users had trouble accessing their email in their browsers to start the week, and on Friday what appeared to be a DDoS attack took down the portal Azure customers use to configure their services.

The Outlook issues appeared to start after a software update went awry, and after reverting the change and applying some additional tweaks the service came back to life. Outages will happen, but if hackers were actually able to disrupt Azure with a simple DDoS attack, that's more concerning.

On the Azure status page, Microsoft said: "We identified a spike in network traffic which impacted the ability to manage traffic to these sites and resulted in the issues for customers to access these sites. We engaged in different workstreams applying load balancing processes in addition to the auto-recovery operations in place (in) order to mitigate the issue. Additionally, we are continuing to monitor the platform health," and everything appeared in working order by Friday afternoon.

Cloud companies are under constant attack by people trying to disrupt their services and their customers in hopes of financial gain or having fun, and for the most part they do an incredible job making sure end users never notice. Azure itself remained up and running during the disruption to the portal — which is the most important part — but in combination, the two incidents coming after months of layoffs is not a great look.

Quote of the week

"We don't think it's getting worse. We don't think it's getting better yet." — F5 CEO François Locoh-Donou, on the current state of enterprise tech spending halfway through the year.

The Runtime roundup

Barracuda Networks will replace 5% of its Email Security Gateway appliances after the hardware still showed signs of being compromised even after being patched.

Security researchers were able to defeat guardrails on Nvidia's NeMo Framework and demonstrate how the system could leak personally identifiable information.

Atlassian released new security features for Jira that will allow software development teams to get a better picture of the security vulnerabilities they need to fix.

Thanks for reading — see you Tuesday!

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