DigitalOcean launches serverless product based on last year’s Nimbella acquisition

When DigitialOcean bought Nimbella last year, you knew it intended to go deeper into serverless technologies. Sure enough, the company announced a new feature called DigitalOcean Functions today, based on Nimbella technology.

DigitalOcean offers cloud infrastructure services at a price point below that of the Big 3, making it popular with developers. Gabe Monroy, chief product officer at DigitalOcean, says customers have been clamoring for more serverless functionality.

“DigitalOcean acquired Nimbella last year and really has been focused on adding serverless and serverless functions capabilities to our platform. It’s been one of the top asks from our customers, and I think one of the things that’s driving this is a lot of desire for developers to just go straight from code to cloud without having to worry at all about infrastructure,” Monroy explained.

Serverless computing enables developers to write programs without having to provision any kind of infrastructure to make it work. The servers are still there, of course, but the cloud provider provisions whatever resources are required to run the function and no more.

The Functions feature the company is announcing today gives developers a programming framework to develop the serverless capabilities. Monroy says they are starting off with Jamstack APIs because it’s a simple way for developers to get started with functions programming. “Serverless programming can be a little difficult to get into because the event-driven programming model can be complex,” he said.

“Fortunately, APIs and HTTP use cases are also events. And that makes APIs a really great starting point because developers don’t have to learn a lot of new programming constructs in order to be productive with serverless, and that’s precisely why we started with APIs.”

But Monroy says this isn’t an all or nothing proposition where you have to program the entire application with serverless functions. “A developer can run a Django application or Ruby on Rails application running in containers on our platform, and then supplement that with some function-oriented APIs running alongside that same application connecting to the same data stores that they need to.”

One of the things about automated provisioning is that you have to keep an eye on the costs, but Monroy says they have designed the billing with that in mind. “From a pricing perspective, we’ve tried to differentiate by offering a much simpler pricing model, one that doesn’t include requests or invocations as part of the model. So that ends up being a bit easier for folks to calculate.”

DigitalOcean Functions is generally available in all regions starting today.