CloudFlare Pulls In $110 Million, Plots Next Move - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Cloud // Software as a Service
News
9/24/2015
09:35 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

CloudFlare Pulls In $110 Million, Plots Next Move

CloudFlare is a San Francisco startup that is making a name for itself in serving content to mobile devices and warding off Internet attacks. Now it has $110 million in funding from Microsoft, Google, and others.

10 IT Infrastructure Skills You Should Master
10 IT Infrastructure Skills You Should Master
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

CloudFlare isn't exactly a household name, and that's probably ok. CloudFlare sees itself as a background service, one that most Internet users never need to know anything about.

On the other hand, it just received $110 million in funding from five companies that are household names: Fidelity Investments, Google Capital, Microsoft, Qualcomm Ventures, and Baidu (the big Chinese search engine company). Its CEO, Matthew Prince, said earlier this year that it's on a trajectory to go public in 2017, and when it does so, it's expected to have a valuation equivalent to Salesforce when it went public -- $1 billion.

"There's not a rush to go public. But we are definitely on a trajectory that’s inevitable," Prince told the Bloomberg news service in an interview in March.

CloudFlare's Joshua Motta, director of special projects, explained in a Sept. 22 blog post that the six-year-old company will use the $110 million in venture capital to more rapidly expand its content delivery system, which combines high-speed downloads to mobile devices with an ability to thwart various bots, malware, and denial of service attacks. The combination of intelligently routed, optimized content delivery and advanced security features has made CloudFlare a youthful Internet giant.

(Image: dsylenko/iStockphoto)

(Image: dsylenko/iStockphoto)

CloudFlare was an embryonic giant at its December 2012 round of fundraising, when it consisted of 37 employees and served 85 billion pages a month for 500,000 site owners. Today it's serving one trillion pages a month for 4 million Web properties. Two of its largest customers are Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.

With the added funding, "in 2016 alone we will more than double our global presence, increase the size of our network by an order of magnitude, and with that allow millions of new businesses and online publishers to accelerate and secure their online applications," claimed Motta in the blog post.

In order to use CloudFlare's services, its customers must change their website DNS setting to one that routes traffic through a CloudFlare data center, where the customer's website traffic is inspected and routed to an appropriate content server. CloudFlare inspects browser calls to see whether they carry malware and can analyze the log files of customers' Web servers to spot repetitive activity that signals the presence of a denial of service attack. If it spots such an attack, it can shield the attacked servers and choke it off.

CloudFlare's Rocket Loader loads a website's pages to a mobile device quickly by detecting the nature of the device and recasting the display to fit. Its Rail Gun uses compression to speed the connection between a CloudFlare data center and an Internet content server. It also has CloudFlare IPv6 Gateway, or a way for a website to be compatible with the IPv6 standard without requiring the site to be upgraded to IPv6.

[Cloud suppliers are getting into the content delivery network business. See Verizon to Buy Edgecast Content Delivery Network.]

It's a series of innovations that have been in step with the rapid expansion of the use of mobile devices for accessing websites and applications. The San Francisco firm won the Wall Street Journal's innovation award for Network and Internet technology in both 2011 and 2012.

CloudFlare's system is built on top of key open source components, including the Nginx high-concurrency event-driven Web server, the Redis NoSQL system, and the Apache Kafka message broker.

Cofounder Michelle Zatlyn told Elle magazine in June: "We're a company that runs behind the scenes. If we do our job right, people surfing the Internet don't even know we exist."

But the $110 million from Fidelity, Microsoft, Google, Qualcomm, and Baidu illustrates how a set of finance and technology giants know CloudFlare exists. Spent wisely, it may lead to the projected growth, the IPO, and a future where CloudFlare takes its place among the multi-billion dollar Internet giants.

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
tzubair
50%
50%
tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
9/27/2015 | 6:01:37 PM
Greater risk
 

"But the $110 million from Fidelity, Microsoft, Google, Qualcomm, and Baidu illustrates how a set of finance and technology giants know CloudFlare exists. Spent wisely, it may lead to the projected growth, the IPO, and a future where CloudFlare takes its place among the multi-billion dollar Internet giants"

While getting the funding may be a big news, it also adds a lot of pressure on the company to perform and meet the expectations. Each investor becomes a watchdog who look out for their interest and how the company is proceeding. The promise of a great returns is there, but not without greater risk.

 
tzubair
50%
50%
tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
9/27/2015 | 5:48:55 PM
Re: Microsoft and Baidu, allies?
"Well, Baidu is replacing Google in China and what better ally to have on the mainland than that?"

@Charlie: That goes with the classic saying: Enemy of my enemy is a friend. Baidu and Google were in conflict in China and Microsoft had to befriend Baidu to take advantage here and not let Google win.
Charlie Babcock
50%
50%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
9/24/2015 | 3:12:56 PM
Microsoft and Baidu, allies?
Microsoft and Baidu keep showing up in the same places. Microsoft normally promotes its search engine, Bing, but in China, it made Baidu the default search engine for Windows 10. What do you think that was about? Well, Baidu is replacing Google in China and what better ally to have on the mainland than that?
Slideshows
IT Careers: Top 10 US Cities for Tech Jobs
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  1/14/2020
Commentary
Predictions for Cloud Computing in 2020
James Kobielus, Research Director, Futurum,  1/9/2020
News
What's Next: AI and Data Trends for 2020 and Beyond
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  12/30/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
The Cloud Gets Ready for the 20's
This IT Trend Report explores how cloud computing is being shaped for the next phase in its maturation. It will help enterprise IT decision makers and business leaders understand some of the key trends reflected emerging cloud concepts and technologies, and in enterprise cloud usage patterns. Get it today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll