WebAssembly Isolation with Tyler McMullen

Isolation is a fundamental concept in computer science. Software workloads are isolated from each other in order to keep resource access cleanly separated. 

When programs are properly isolated, it is easier for the programmer to reason about the memory safety of that program. When a program is not properly isolated, it can lead problems such as security flaws where one program can access the information that should be exclusive to a different program. Poor isolation can also lead to garbage collection problems, or running out of disk space.

Isolation takes many forms, including individual processes, containers, and virtual machines. The techniques for isolation evolve over time. A more recent technology that can assist with isolation is WebAssembly, a newer execution system that can run a variety of languages that compile down into the WebAssembly binary format. For previous episodes about WebAssembly, you can listen to some of the shows in our archives.

Tyler McMullen is the CTO at Fastly, a cloud provider that focuses on edge computing systems such as content delivery networking. Tyler has written and spoken about WebAssembly in detail. He joins the show to talk about computational isolation, and how WebAssembly presents new efficiencies for engineers looking to isolate their workloads. Full disclosure: Fastly, where Tyler works, is a sponsor of Software Engineering Daily.

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Transcript

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