Nimbus (YC W22) – Cloud dev environments for teams

Hey HN! We’re Nish, Liusha and Neil, the founders of Nimbus (https://www.usenimbus.com). We’re building an easy way to code and manage environments on cloud VMs that are configured for projects you’re working on. There’s a video demo here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g6Jk5zyQG4.

Initially, we were working on simplifying dev environments for coding school students. But when we found ourselves using what we were making and finding it useful for our own work, we pivoted to dev teams like us.

Big tech companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Shopify, Slack, Dropbox, etc. all have in-house cloud environment solutions. This lets engineers spend more time on software design and writing production code and less time waiting, testing or troubleshooting. With Nimbus, we’re bringing the same convenience to everybody else.

The three biggest pains Nimbus alleviates are compatibility issues, scaling challenges and not having a powerful enough dev machine.

Compatibility issues touch hardware, software, and users. The leading cause is poorly supported tooling on M1 and M2 architecture or a varied fleet of Mac, Linux and Windows devices of various specs. This is made more complex by tool/package updates that break support for that fleet and the impossible task of writing and maintaining perfect documentation.

Scaling challenges build on the compatibility issues. Engineers can spend days to get access and setup environments for every project they touch. Containers help but it’s only part of the solution and tools like Docker can be so resource intensive that slow devices to a crawl. And then, once everything is set up, important data and code sits on the laptop - which is a hugely vulnerable endpoint (probably second to smartphones).

Nimbus lets engineers always pull the right environment, eliminates local env management and debugging, and makes environments portable - engineers can work from any machine because the code runs and stays in the cloud.

We want Nimbus to be easy to use and flexible enough for any developer, so we provide persistent and ephemeral VMs (EC2) that work just like local development. You create a ‘template’ that tells us what kind of machine and OS you want. Then you load up a ‘workspace’, which is a cloud machine near you for the lowest latency possible. You can jump into that server via our local VS code plugin (Jetbrains coming soon) or the remote dev capability of your IDE and get to work. At any point, you can ‘snapshot’ the image and use that as a ‘template’ for future workspaces.

Here are some examples of ways we’re being used today: a European logistics software company replaced their internal cloud infra with Nimbus to improve reliability and reduce engineering and cloud costs; a fast-growing international fintech company is using Nimbus to bring reliability and consistency to dev environments that broke often; a software development agency is using Nimbus to cut onboarding for their engineers from days to hours; some developers are personally using Nimbus to work at home from their gaming PC and extend their laptop battery life when away from home.

Other products in this space focus on simpler use cases (e.g. Replit) or have design choices and limitations that we weren’t happy about. Codespaces is the best-known offering but it’s expensive, not platform-agnostic, and has limits from its repo-based workspace design. Some people ask if we compete with Docker but most of our users use Docker in Nimbus - and Docker’s poor performance on Mac is one of the main reasons people try Nimbus.

We have a free trial if you want to check it out: https://app.usenimbus.com/. We’re currently working on self-hosting capabilities, enabling prebuilds, and easier templated environment creation – but we’d love to hear what you want. And we look forward to your thoughts and feedback on Nimbus and coding on the cloud in general!



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andrey azimov by Andrey Azimov