Who should consider using this Vanadium pre-release?

Anyone who's interested in learning what the system can do, or is excited about the prospect of being an early adopter or contributor of what we hope will become a comprehensive framework for building distributed applications and multi-device UIs.

Who should not consider using this Vanadium pre-release?

Anyone who needs to build a production quality system or application over the next few months — although we believe our code is well tested, we expect to continue to make changes to the core APIs and services as we learn from our early adopters. Keeping up with such changes in a production environment is likely to be problematic.

Why did you choose the Go language?

We anticipated that we would be more productive using Go than one of the other systems programming languages available to us.

How does Vanadium relate to other Google open source projects?

Vanadium is an ongoing project, with a clear and ambitious long-term goal of making it easier to build distributed multi-device apps and UIs. We'll use whatever technology helps us meet those goals and design new technology whenever we need to. We'll use whatever open source projects makes sense for us to use, whether they originate from Google or anywhere else. We recognize that there is overlap with many existing projects, but there is no single project that meets our requirements or goals.

Why did you build your own RPC system?

One of our design principles is to put security first and we wanted an RPC protocol that has symmetrical end-to-end authentication, encryption, and the ability to run through proxies without compromising that security. No existing protocol that we are aware of meets these requirements, so we designed one. As an example, our protocol allows a client and proxy to authenticate with each other and for the client to authenticate with the server directly and independently of the proxy. This allows an independent company to run a proxy service for paying clients and service providers without having to implement its own authentication scheme. All clients still authenticate directly with the services they interact with and do not have to rely on the proxy service for the validity of that authentication.

Why did you build your own encoding format?

We wanted an encoding that can be used when the producer and consumer don't necessarily share a common code base or 'stub library'. This loose coupling can be in terms of space (e.g. a client and server implemented by two different code bases and/or organizations) and time (e.g. a log file is written today, but read 10 years from now without access to the original code). This implies an encoding that is language independent and self-describing; given a log file written using our encoding, it should be possible to algorithmically construct the data types needed to read that log file by examining that log file alone. Naturally we'd like the encoding to be as efficient as possible, both in terms of space and computational cost. We are not aware of any modern encoding format that meets these requirements.

Are there benchmarks for the Vanadium RPC system?

Benchmark code used to measure the performance of the Vanadium RPC stack is available on GitHub. Results from the latest version of the codebase are regularly measured and archived. Numbers from March, 2016 are summarized in this table, but for the latest numbers see this page.

Benchmark Linux Desktop Raspberry Pi 2 Nexus 5X Phone
Connection 4 ms 130 ms 90 ms
RPC (echo 1B) 0.4 ms/rpc 5 ms/rpc 4 ms/rpc