In the new post at SSI, I followed a link to ‘some new releases by Cloudflare’ written by Mathew Prince, Founder and CEO of Cloudflare.I cut it down to what I believed where the gist of them below. It’s a quickly evolving space and as Muji and Peter Offringa have pointed out, FSLY and NET are the ones to beat. Although not in the text below he Cloudflare states clearly that the following is currently their 3 year road map.
Today, I’m convinced that we were wrong when we launched Cloudflare Workers to think of speed as the killer feature of edge computing, and much of the rest of the industry’s focus remains largely misplaced and risks missing a much larger opportunity.
I’d propose instead that what developers on any platform need, from least to most important, is actually: Speed < Consistency < Cost < Ease of Use < Compliance. Call it: Matthew’s Hierarchy of Developers’ Needs.
While nearly everyone talking about edge computing has focused on speed, I’d argue that consistency, cost, ease of use, and especially compliance will ultimately be far more important. In fact, I predict the real killer feature of edge computing over the next three years will have to do with the relatively unsexy but foundationally important: regulatory compliance
So, this week, we’ll be announcing that Workers now supports zero nanosecond cold starts. Since, unless someone invents a time machine, it’s impossible to take less time than that, we’re confident that Workers now has the fastest cold starts of any serverless platform. This makes Cloudflare Workers the consistency king beating even the legacy, centralized serverless platforms.
At Cloudflare, we knew history doesn’t stop, so as we started building Workers we asked ourselves: what comes after containers? The answer was isolates. Isolates are the sandboxing technology that your browser uses to keep processes separate. They are extremely fast and lightweight. It’s why, when you visit a website, your browser can take code it’s never seen before and execute it almost instantly.
By using isolates, rather than containers or virtual machines, we’re able to keep computation overhead much lower than traditional serverless platforms. That allows us to much more efficiently handle compute workloads. We, in turn, can pass the savings from that efficiency on to our customers. We aim not to be less expensive than Lambda@Edge, it’s to be less expensive than Lambda. Much less expensive.
Ease of use:
Ease also means spending less time on things like technical operations. That’s where serverless platforms have excelled. Being able to simply deploy code and allow the platform to scale up and down with load is magical. We’ve seen this with long-time users of Cloudflare Workers like Discord, which has experienced several thousand percent usage growth over the last three years and the Workers platform has automatically scaled to meet their needs.
Most computing resources that run on cloud computing platforms, including serverless platforms, are created by developers who work at companies where compliance is a foundational requirement. And, up until to now, that’s meant ensuring that platforms follow government regulations like GDPR (European privacy guidelines) or have certifications providing that they follow industry regulations such as PCI DSS (required if you accept credit cards), FedRamp (US government procurement requirements), ISO27001 (security risk management), SOC 1/2/3 (Security, Confidentiality, and Availability controls), and many more.
The Coming Era of Data Sovereignty
But there’s a looming new risk of regulatory requirements that legacy cloud computing solutions are ill-equipped to satisfy. Increasingly, countries are pursuing regulations that ensure that their laws apply to their citizens’ personal data. One way to ensure you’re in compliance with these laws is to store and process data of a country’s citizens entirely within the country’s borders.
Herein lies the killer feature of edge computing. As governments impose new data sovereignty regulations, having a network that, with a single platform, spans every regulated geography will be critical for companies seeking to keep and process locally to comply with these new laws while remaining efficient.
While the regulations are just beginning to emerge, Cloudflare Workers already can run locally in more than 100 countries worldwide (Me here: Cloudflare is not announcing any increase number here, as far as I know). That positions us to help developers meet data sovereignty requirements as they see fit. And we’ll continue to build tools that give developers options for satisfying their compliance obligations, without having to sacrifice the efficiencies the cloud has enabled.
I really like how he describes things in interviews I’ve watched also.