Annika Garbers

Author Archives: Annika Garbers

Magic NAT: everywhere, unbounded, and lower cost

Magic NAT: everywhere, unbounded, and lower cost
Magic NAT: everywhere, unbounded, and lower cost

Network Address Translation (NAT) is one of the most common and versatile network functions, used by everything from your home router to the largest ISPs. Today, we’re delighted to introduce a new approach to NAT that solves the problems of traditional hardware and virtual solutions. Magic NAT is free from capacity constraints, available everywhere through our global Anycast architecture, and operates across any network (physical or cloud). For Internet connectivity providers, Magic NAT for Carriers operates across high volumes of traffic, removing the complexity and cost associated with NATing thousands or millions of connections.

What does NAT do?

The main function of NAT is in its name:  NAT is responsible for translating the network address in the header of an IP packet from one address to another - for example, translating the private IP 192.168.0.1 to the publicly routable IP 192.0.2.1. Organizations use NAT to grant Internet connectivity from private networks, enable routing within private networks with overlapping IP space, and preserve limited IP resources by mapping thousands of connections to a single IP. These use cases are typically accomplished with a hardware appliance within a physical network or a managed service delivered by Continue reading

A bridge to Zero Trust

A bridge to Zero Trust
A bridge to Zero Trust

Cloudflare One enables customers to build their corporate networks on a faster, more secure Internet by connecting any source or destination and configuring routing, security, and performance policies from a single control plane. Today, we’re excited to announce another piece of the puzzle to help organizations on their journey from traditional network architecture to Zero Trust: the ability to route traffic from user devices with our lightweight roaming agent (WARP) installed to any network connected with our Magic IP-layer tunnels (Anycast GRE, IPsec, or CNI). From there, users can upgrade to Zero Trust over time, providing an easy path from traditional castle and moat to next-generation architecture.

The future of corporate networks

Customers we talk to describe three distinct phases of architecture for their corporate networks that mirror the shifts we’ve seen with storage and compute, just with a 10 to 20 year delay. Traditional networks (“Generation 1”) existed within the walls of a datacenter or headquarters, with business applications hosted on company-owned servers and access granted via private LAN or WAN through perimeter security appliances. As applications shifted to the cloud and users left the office, companies have adopted “Generation 2” technologies like SD-WAN Continue reading

Protect all network traffic with Cloudflare

Protect all network traffic with Cloudflare
Protect all network traffic with Cloudflare

Magic Transit protects customers' entire networks—any port/protocol—from DDoS attacks and provides built-in performance and reliability. Today, we’re excited to extend the capabilities of Magic Transit to customers with any size network, from home networks to offices to large cloud properties, by offering Cloudflare-maintained and Magic Transit-protected IP space as a service.

What is Magic Transit?

Magic Transit extends the power of Cloudflare’s global network to customers, absorbing all traffic destined for your network at the location closest to its source. Once traffic lands at the closest Cloudflare location, it flows through a stack of security protections including industry-leading DDoS mitigation and cloud firewall. Detailed Network Analytics, alerts, and reporting give you deep visibility into all your traffic and attack patterns. Clean traffic is forwarded to your network using Anycast GRE or IPsec tunnels or Cloudflare Network Interconnect. Magic Transit includes load balancing and automatic failover across tunnels to steer traffic across the healthiest path possible, from everywhere in the world.

Protect all network traffic with Cloudflare
Magic Transit architecture: Internet BGP advertisement attracts traffic to Cloudflare’s network, where attack mitigation and security policies are applied before clean traffic is forwarded back to customer networks with an Anycast GRE tunnel or Cloudflare Network Interconnect.

The “Magic” Continue reading

Packet captures at the edge

Packet captures at the edge
Packet captures at the edge

Packet captures are a critical tool used by network and security engineers every day. As more network functions migrate from legacy on-prem hardware to cloud-native services, teams risk losing the visibility they used to get by capturing 100% of traffic funneled through a single device in a datacenter rack. We know having easy access to packet captures across all your network traffic is important for troubleshooting problems and deeply understanding traffic patterns, so today, we’re excited to announce the general availability of on-demand packet captures from Cloudflare’s global network.

What are packet captures and how are they used?

A packet capture is a file that contains all packets that were seen by a particular network box, usually a firewall or router, during a specific time frame. Packet captures are a powerful and commonly used tool for debugging network issues or getting better visibility into attack traffic to tighten security (e.g. by adding firewall rules to block a specific attack pattern).

A network engineer might use a pcap file in combination with other tools, like mtr, to troubleshoot problems with reachability to their network. For example, if an end user reports intermittent connectivity to a specific application, an engineer Continue reading

Announcing Anycast IPsec: a new on-ramp to Cloudflare One

Announcing Anycast IPsec: a new on-ramp to Cloudflare One
Announcing Anycast IPsec: a new on-ramp to Cloudflare One

Today, we're excited to announce support for IPsec as an on-ramp to Cloudflare One. As a customer, you should be able to use whatever method you want to get your traffic to Cloudflare's network. We've heard from you that IPsec is your method of choice for connecting to us at the network layer, because of its near-universal vendor support and blanket layer of encryption across all traffic. So we built support for it! Read on to learn how our IPsec implementation is faster and easier to use than traditional IPsec connectivity, and how it integrates deeply with our Cloudflare One suite to provide unified security, performance, and reliability across all your traffic.

Using the Internet as your corporate network

With Cloudflare One, customers can connect any traffic source or destination — branch offices, data centers, cloud properties, user devices — to our network. Traffic is routed to the closest Cloudflare location, where security policies are applied before we send it along optimized routes to its destination — whether that’s within your private network or on the Internet. It is good practice to encrypt any traffic that’s sensitive at the application level, but for customers who are transitioning from forms of Continue reading

Welcome to CIO Week and the future of corporate networks

Welcome to CIO Week and the future of corporate networks
Welcome to CIO Week and the future of corporate networks

The world of a Chief Information Officer has changed — today’s corporate networks look nothing like those of even five or ten years ago — and these changes have created gaps in visibility and security, introduced high costs and operational burdens, and made networks fragile and brittle.

We’re optimistic that CIOs have a brighter future to look forward to. The Internet has evolved from a research project into integral infrastructure companies depend on, and we believe a better Internet is the path forward to solving the most challenging problems CIOs face today. Cloudflare is helping build an Internet that’s faster, more secure, more reliable, more private, and programmable, and by doing so, we’re enabling organizations to build their next-generation networks on ours.

This week, we’ll demonstrate how Cloudflare One, our Zero Trust Network-as-a-Service, is helping CIOs transform their corporate networks. We’ll also introduce new functionality that expands the scope of Cloudflare’s platform to address existing and emerging needs for CIOs. But before we jump into the week, we wanted to spend some time on our vision for the corporate network of the future. We hope this explanation will clarify language and acronyms used by vendors and analysts who have realized Continue reading

Magic makes your network faster

Magic makes your network faster
Magic makes your network faster

We launched Magic Transit two years ago, followed more recently by its siblings Magic WAN and Magic Firewall, and have talked at length about how this suite of products helps security teams sleep better at night by protecting entire networks from malicious traffic. Today, as part of Speed Week, we’ll break down the other side of the Magic: how using Cloudflare can automatically make your entire network faster. Our scale and interconnectivity, use of data to make more intelligent routing decisions, and inherent architecture differences versus traditional networks all contribute to performance improvements across all IP traffic.

What is Magic?

Cloudflare’s “Magic” services help customers connect and secure their networks without the cost and complexity of maintaining legacy hardware. Magic Transit provides connectivity and DDoS protection for Internet-facing networks; Magic WAN enables customers to replace legacy WAN architectures by routing private traffic through Cloudflare; and Magic Firewall protects all connected traffic with a built-in firewall-as-a-service. All three share underlying architecture principles that form the basis of the performance improvements we’ll dive deeper into below.

Anycast everything

In contrast to traditional “point-to-point” architecture, Cloudflare uses Anycast GRE or IPsec (coming soon) tunnels to send and receive traffic for customer Continue reading

Introducing Greencloud

Introducing Greencloud
Introducing Greencloud

Over the past few days, as part of Cloudflare’s Impact Week, we’ve written about the work we’re doing to help build a greener Internet. We’re making bold climate commitments for our own network and facilities and introducing new capabilities that help customers understand and reduce their impact. And in addition to organization-level initiatives, we also recognize the importance of individual impact — which is why we’re excited to publicly introduce Greencloud, our sustainability-focused employee working group.

What is Greencloud?

Greencloud is a coalition of Cloudflare employees who are passionate about the environment. Initially founded in 2019, we’re a cross-functional, global team with a few areas of focus:

  1. Awareness: Greencloud compiles and shares resources about environmental activism with each other and the broader organization. We believe that collective action — not just conscious consumerism, but also engagement in local policy and community movements — is critical to a more sustainable future, and that the ability to affect change starts with education. We’re also consistently inspired by the great work other folks in tech are doing in this space, and love sharing updates from peers that push us to do better within our own spheres of influence.
  2. Support: Our membership includes Cloudflare Continue reading

Flow-based monitoring for Magic Transit

Flow-based monitoring for Magic Transit
Flow-based monitoring for Magic Transit

Network-layer DDoS attacks are on the rise, prompting security teams to rethink their L3 DDoS mitigation strategies to prevent business impact. Magic Transit protects customers’ entire networks from DDoS attacks by placing our network in front of theirs, either always on or on demand. Today, we’re announcing new functionality to improve the experience for on-demand Magic Transit customers: flow-based monitoring. Flow-based monitoring allows us to detect threats and notify customers when they’re under attack so they can activate Magic Transit for protection.

Magic Transit is Cloudflare’s solution to secure and accelerate your network at the IP layer. With Magic Transit, you get DDoS protection, traffic acceleration, and other network functions delivered as a service from every Cloudflare data center. With Cloudflare’s global network (59 Tbps capacity across 200+ cities) and <3sec time to mitigate at the edge, you’re covered from even the largest and most sophisticated attacks without compromising performance. Learn more about Magic Transit here.

Using Magic Transit on demand

With Magic Transit, Cloudflare advertises customers’ IP prefixes to the Internet with BGP in order to attract traffic to our network for DDoS protection. Customers can choose to use Magic Transit always on or on demand. With always Continue reading

How our network powers Cloudflare One

How our network powers Cloudflare One

Earlier this week, we announced Cloudflare One™, a unified approach to solving problems in enterprise networking and security. With Cloudflare One, your organization’s data centers, offices, and devices can all be protected and managed in a single control plane. Cloudflare’s network is central to the value of all of our products, and today I want to dive deeper into how our network powers Cloudflare One.

Over the past ten years, Cloudflare has encountered the same challenges that face every organization trying to grow and protect a global network: we need to protect our infrastructure and devices from attackers and malicious outsiders, but traditional solutions aren’t built for distributed networks and teams. And we need visibility into the activity across our network and applications, but stitching together logging and analytics tools across multiple solutions is painful and creates information gaps.

How our network powers Cloudflare One

We’ve architected our network to meet these challenges, and with Cloudflare One, we’re extending the advantages of these decisions to your company’s network to help you solve them too.

Distribution

Enterprises and some small organizations alike have team members around the world. Legacy models of networking forced traffic back through central choke points, slowing down users and constraining network scale. Continue reading

Helping sites get back online: the origin monitoring intern project

Helping sites get back online: the origin monitoring intern project
Helping sites get back online: the origin monitoring intern project

The most impactful internship experiences involve building something meaningful from scratch and learning along the way. Those can be tough goals to accomplish during a short summer internship, but our experience with Cloudflare’s 2019 intern program met both of them and more! Over the course of ten weeks, our team of three interns (two engineering, one product management) went from a problem statement to a new feature, which is still working in production for all Cloudflare customers.

The project

Cloudflare sits between customers’ origin servers and end users. This means that all traffic to the origin server runs through Cloudflare, so we know when something goes wrong with a server and sometimes reflect that status back to users. For example, if an origin is refusing connections and there’s no cached version of the site available, Cloudflare will display a 521 error. If customers don’t have monitoring systems configured to detect and notify them when failures like this occur, their websites may go down silently, and they may hear about the issue for the first time from angry users.

Helping sites get back online: the origin monitoring intern project
Helping sites get back online: the origin monitoring intern project
When a customer’s origin server is unreachable, Cloudflare sends a 5xx error back to the visitor.‌‌

This problem became the starting Continue reading