Defined Networking


Screenshot of Nebula running on a laptop and a mobile phone
Screenshot of Nebula running on a laptop and a mobile phone
Launched an app (and a company)

Well that was unexpected…

In 2016, while Nate Brown and I were working on security projects at Slack, we started developing Nebula, a software-based overlay network built from the ground up to be fast, resilient, secure and simple to operate. Nebula is the Software Defined Network we always wanted: Lightweight, with modern crypto, and straightforward to use, focused on enabling you to build the network you want, completely independent of where devices are located or which cloud provider you’re using at the moment. Nebula went from handling some of Slack’s production network traffic to handling most of it over a span of three years. In November of 2019, we led the internal effort to open source Nebula. We knew we liked Nebula, but we weren’t sure anyone else would be interested.

Read the open source announcement: Introducing Nebula, the open source global overlay network from Slack

Today, the Nebula project has almost 6,000 Stars and over 26,000 downloads on GitHub. It turns out, we weren’t the only ones excited about creating networks that offer such amazing flexibility.

A new release, and Nebula VPN support for iOS and Android

Recently, the Nebula team has released version 1.3, which brings numerous improvements, including faster handshakes and the capability to use Nebula as a library. Currently, every new release is tested extensively within Slack’s network before being tagged for release, and we’ve had few bugs make it through to an official release.

Now that I’ve successfully buried this lede, we are excited to announce the official public release of Nebula on iOS and Android, available immediately!

We’ve had test versions running on mobile devices for over a year, but wanted to make sure we got it right on the first release. A number of people have been helping us beta test it, and their feedback has been invaluable in making it easier to use.

Defined Networking logo on dark background
Defined Networking logo on dark background

Nebula is now our full time job, again

In February of this year, Nate and I left Slack to start a company together, Defined Networking, Inc., to focus on Nebula full-time.

We are immensely grateful to Slack for allowing us to build this software over the course of many years, and trusting it to run their entire network. By creating Nebula within Slack, the team pushed ourselves to make it enterprise grade software from the very beginning. If Nebula were to cause an outage, large or small, we knew it would have a real impact on the company and its customers, so there just wasn’t room for error. As a result, Nebula has no single points of failure, which is unique to this space.

We continue to work directly with our former colleagues at Slack developing and improving Nebula, and Slack continues to invest significant resources toward our shared goal of being best-in-class software. We’re also building a lot more than just mobile app support. Stay tuned.

Nate and I had no intention of starting a company when we started this project, but after using Nebula for years, and seeing the response from the open source community, it became inevitable.

When you are passionate about an idea, you can do amazing work. The people who have worked on this project would almost certainly agree that it is the single most interesting piece of software they’ve created. The engineering quality of Nebula is a direct result of people writing software they care about, and use, every day.

Come build with us!

If you’re interested in working with a team of do-ers, who love to build, learn and improve, click on our jobs page. Let’s build software, and a company, we are proud of.

Ryan Huber

Defined Networking

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