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October 12, 2022
Diagrid: Simplifying Distributed Application Development
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Kubernetes, the de facto standard for running cloud native applications, has made software development more flexible and agile, but has also created new problems. One of the biggest issues is that of microservice connectivity. Companies can have hundreds of microservices that need to reliably communicate with each other and with the underlying infrastructure. Creating this microservice architecture is not a trivial task. Developers are spending far too much time dealing with the toil of connectivity and communications instead of building better applications and experiences for users. These problems are amplified by the fact that there are only five million Kubernetes developers in the world.

At Norwest, we recognize the need for democratization of software development and have a history of investing in businesses that improve the developer experience, including Harness, ChiselStrike, and Amplication. We are also avid believers in the power of open-source ecosystems and have partnered with companies such as InfluxData, Dremio, and Uptycs to build upon these projects. In continuing with these themes, we are excited to announce our investment in Diagrid.

Dapr – The Open-Source Distributed Application Runtime

When Diagrid’s Co-Founders Mark Fussell and Yaron Schneider were at Microsoft, they experienced first-hand the pain involved in building distributed applications. This led them to create Dapr, a fast-growing, CNCF open-source project. Dapr reduces development times by up to 50 percent by providing a suite of APIs to assist developers in building distributed applications, enabling microservice connectivity across any programming language and framework. These APIs allow developers to easily:

  • Create scalable messaging between services
  • Perform service-to-service method calls
  • Access secrets from an application
  • Create long running stateful services
  • And much more!

Dapr also addresses vendor lock-in by offering a growing number of component integrations, allowing developers to easily switch out underlying components without changing their code.

The portability, abstraction, and standardization of APIs that Dapr provides has led to strong adoption. Just three years after its first public release, Dapr is widely used with more than 2,200 contributors, 4,700 Discord members, and 19,400 GitHub stars. A growing roster of large enterprises rely on Dapr, including Microsoft, Intel, Alibaba, IBM Research, Zscaler, and Bosch.

Diagrid – Operationalizing Dapr

As Dapr grew in popularity, Mark and Yaron saw that businesses needed a service to fully manage Dapr on Kubernetes to accelerate development, improve reliability, and reduce infrastructure costs. Thus, Diagrid was born to remove the operational overhead of running Dapr in production and to create a distributed systems platform that can be accessed from any compute environment – cloud, edge, or browser. The first product, Diagrid Conductor, features:

  • Fail-safe upgrades and downgrades with auto-rollback.
  • A self-healing control plane.
  • Built-in alerting with operational insights and advanced analytics.
  • The ability to operate multiple clusters in a single dashboard.
  • An advisor to apply best practices and prevent misconfigurations.

Companies including IBM Research, Ignition Group, and FYNDNA are already seeing the benefits Diagrid Conductor provides by allowing them to drastically reduce Dapr’s overhead while increasing reliability and security.

Norwest’s Investment in Diagrid

Diagrid’s Co-Founders Mark and Yaron are distributed system visionaries with an amazing track record. In addition to Dapr, they co-created Azure Service Fabric and KEDA, respectively. We are thrilled to be partnering with Diagrid on their Series A along with stellar co-investors Amplify Partners, Quiet Capital, and a roster of angels including Joe Beda (Kubernetes Co-Founder, Founder/CTO at Heptio), Matt Klein (creator of Envoy), William Morgan (creator of Linkerd), Mark Russinovich (CTO of Microsoft Azure), Adam Gross (Former CEO of Heroku), and Sri Viswanath (former CTO of Atlassian).

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