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VMblog Expert Interview: Lightbend CEO Unveils New Akka Platform with Enhanced Security, Performance, and Edge Support

interview lightbend jewell 

Lightbend, a leading provider of distributed application platforms, has recently released a new version of its flagship product, Akka. In this VMblog Q&A, Tyler Jewell, CEO of Lightbend, sheds light on the new features and capabilities of the latest Akka release.

According to Jewell, the updated Akka platform introduces significant enhancements in three key areas: security and compliance, performance, and edge computing functionality. With a focus on enabling Zero Trust architecture and attaining SOC 2 and NIST SF 800 compliance, the new release prioritizes software security and regulatory adherence. Additionally, Akka now boasts improved performance at scale, thanks to the introduction of Database Sharding, which enables near-infinite horizontal scale-out of database persistence, eliminating the need for expensive centralized databases.

VMblog:  Lightbend today released a new version of the Akka distributed application platform. Before going into specifics, can you provide our readers with some context about what exactly Akka is?

Tyler Jewell: Akka is a toolkit and distributed application platform that provides a singular programming model to take data and logic closer to the user, while providing shockproof resilience and deterministic low latency. As a result, businesses can harness, distribute, and fully utilize their vast amounts of intelligent data to improve their operations, regardless of where that data is generated. Akka allows enterprises to build reactive event-driven systems that take full advantage of the distributed nature of the cloud and are resilient to failure, highly efficient, and operative at any scale.

VMblog:  What problem does Akka solve?

Tyler Jewell: Akka tackles challenges in developing concurrent, distributed, low latency and resilient applications. It offers a framework for managing lightweight concurrent units called actors, simplifying the creation of highly scalable systems. Akka enables actors to self-recover from failures, enhancing system resilience. With distributed messaging capabilities, Akka facilitates building fault-tolerant systems across multiple nodes, ensuring high availability. By providing tools to manage concurrency, distribution, and fault tolerance, Akka empowers developers to create responsive and resilient applications capable of handling complex scenarios in distributed environments. 

VMblog:  So, what's new in the latest version of Akka released today?

Tyler Jewell: There are four primary categories of enhancements. First and foremost, we've built in a lot of new functionality with regard to security and compliance. Specifically, we added functionality and guidance to enable customers to create Zero Trust architecture, since customers are prioritizing software security. There so many new regulations today with many more on the horizon, so designing new software with compliance in mind is key. Specifically, Lightbend and Akka have been audited and attested to be SOC 2 and NIST SF 800 compliant.

We've also been able to improve Akka's performance significantly. Our performance at scale has been a differentiator for Akka, but with Database Sharding, we're enabling near-infinite horizontal scale out of database persistence. This eliminates the dependency on an expensive centralized database. We have some really exciting benchmarks that will be released in the coming weeks.

This version of Akka also has enhanced edge computing functionality. For example, compatibility with the Rust programming language, which is extremely prolific for Edge use cases, enables Akka services to be deployed on devices with minimal footprint and compute requirements. Finally, Akka 24.05 is now certified to support Java 21, which greatly reduces the lines of code developers need to write and lowers the risk of mistakes for developers.

VMblog: What makes Akka unique?

Tyler Jewell: Whereas most cloud architectures centralize data and depend on a complicated and fragile data infrastructure layer, application services built with Akka distribute logic and data, and greater simplify the infrastructure stack. Akka is considered critical for many large organizations including Tesla, John Deere, Verizon, BP and more.

VMblog:  How can people learn more about Akka and the potential fit for their particular use case?

Tyler Jewell:  Interested parties can join me for a live walkthrough of the latest version of Akka on Wednesday, May 29 at 8am PT. To register for the free Zoom conference, visit


Published Wednesday, May 22, 2024 8:01 AM by David Marshall
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