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Wendy Komadina: No one excited me more than Cloudflare, so I joined.

Wendy Komadina:
No one excited me more than Cloudflare, so I joined.
Wendy Komadina:
No one excited me more than Cloudflare, so I joined.

I joined Cloudflare in March to lead Partnerships & Alliances for Asia Pacific, Japan, and China (APJC). In the last month I’ve been asked many times: “Why Cloudflare?” I’ll be honest, I’ve had opportunities to join other technology companies, but no other organization excited me more than Cloudflare. So I jumped. And I couldn’t be more thrilled for the opportunity to build a strong partner ecosystem for APJC.

Wendy Komadina:
No one excited me more than Cloudflare, so I joined.

When I considered joining Cloudflare, I recall consistently reading the message around “Helping to Build a Better Internet”. At first those words didn’t connect with me, but they sounded like an important mission.

I did my research and read analyst reports to learn about Cloudflare's market position, and then it dawned on me, Cloudflare is leading a transformation. Taking traditional on-premise networking and security hardware and building a transformational cloud-based solution, so customers don’t need to worry about which company supplied their kit. I was excited to learn that Cloudflare customers can simply access the vast global network that has been designed to make everything that customers connect to on the Internet secure, private, fast, and reliable. So hasn’t this been done before? For compute and storage that transformation is almost Continue reading

Monitoring our monitoring: how we validate our Prometheus alert rules

Monitoring our monitoring: how we validate our Prometheus alert rules

Background

Monitoring our monitoring: how we validate our Prometheus alert rules

We use Prometheus as our core monitoring system. We’ve been heavy Prometheus users since 2017 when we migrated off our previous monitoring system which used a customized Nagios setup. Despite growing our infrastructure a lot, adding tons of new products and learning some hard lessons about operating Prometheus at scale, our original architecture of Prometheus (see Monitoring Cloudflare's Planet-Scale Edge Network with Prometheus for an in depth walk through) remains virtually unchanged, proving that Prometheus is a solid foundation for building observability into your services.

One of the key responsibilities of Prometheus is to alert us when something goes wrong and in this blog post we’ll talk about how we make those alerts more reliable - and we’ll introduce an open source tool we’ve developed to help us with that, and share how you can use it too. If you’re not familiar with Prometheus you might want to start by watching this video to better understand the topic we’ll be covering here.

Prometheus works by collecting metrics from our services and storing those metrics inside its database, called TSDB. We can then query these metrics using Prometheus query language called PromQL using ad-hoc queries (for example to power Grafana Continue reading

Eurovision 2022, the Internet effect version

Eurovision 2022, the Internet effect version
Eurovision 2022, the Internet effect version

There’s only one song contest that is more than six decades old and not only presents many new songs (ABBA, Celine Dion, Julio Iglesias and Domenico Modugno shined there), but also has a global stage that involves 40 countries — performers represent those countries and the public votes. The 66th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, in Turin, Italy, had two semi-finals (May 10 and 12) and a final (May 14), all of them with highlights, including Ukraine’s victory. The Internet was impacted in more than one way, from whole countries to the fan and official broadcasters sites, but also video platforms.

On our Eurovision dedicated page, it was possible to see the level of Internet traffic in the 40 participant countries, and we tweeted some highlights during the final.

First, some technicalities. The baseline for the values we use in the following charts Continue reading

Internship Experience: Software Development Intern

Internship Experience: Software Development Intern

Before we dive into my experience interning at Cloudflare, let me quickly introduce myself. I am currently a master’s student at the National University of Singapore (NUS) studying Computer Science. I am passionate about building software that improves people’s lives and making the Internet a better place for everyone. Back in December 2021, I joined Cloudflare as a Software Development Intern on the Partnerships team to help improve the experience that Partners have when using the platform. I was extremely excited about this opportunity and jumped at the prospect of working on serverless technology to build viable tools for our partners and customers. In this blog post, I detail my experience working at Cloudflare and the many highlights of my internship.

Interview Experience

The process began for me back when I was taking a software engineering module at NUS where one of my classmates had shared a job post for an internship at Cloudflare. I had known about Cloudflare’s DNS service prior and was really excited to learn more about the internship opportunity because I really resonated with the company's mission to help build a better Internet.

I knew right away that this would be a great opportunity and submitted Continue reading

Integrating Network Analytics Logs with your SIEM dashboard

Integrating Network Analytics Logs with your SIEM dashboard
Integrating Network Analytics Logs with your SIEM dashboard

We’re excited to announce the availability of Network Analytics Logs. Magic Transit, Magic Firewall, Magic WAN, and Spectrum customers on the Enterprise plan can feed packet samples directly into storage services, network monitoring tools such as Kentik, or their Security Information Event Management (SIEM) systems such as Splunk to gain near real-time visibility into network traffic and DDoS attacks.

What’s included in the logs

By creating a Network Analytics Logs job, Cloudflare will continuously push logs of packet samples directly to the HTTP endpoint of your choice, including Websockets. The logs arrive in JSON format which makes them easy to parse, transform, and aggregate. The logs include packet samples of traffic dropped and passed by the following systems:

  1. Network-layer DDoS Protection Ruleset
  2. Advanced TCP Protection
  3. Magic Firewall

Note that not all mitigation systems are applicable to all Cloudflare services. Below is a table describing which mitigation service is applicable to which Cloudflare service:


Mitigation System
Cloudflare Service
Magic Transit Magic WAN Spectrum
Network-layer DDoS Protection Ruleset
Advanced TCP Protection
Magic Firewall Continue reading

Debugging Hardware Performance on Gen X Servers

Debugging Hardware Performance on Gen X Servers
Debugging Hardware Performance on Gen X Servers

In Cloudflare’s global network, every server runs the whole software stack. Therefore, it's critical that every server performs to its maximum potential capacity. In order to provide us better flexibility from a supply chain perspective, we buy server hardware from multiple vendors with the exact same configuration. However, after the deployment of our Gen X AMD EPYC Zen 2 (Rome) servers, we noticed that servers from one vendor (which we’ll call SKU-B) were consistently performing 5-10% worse than servers from second vendor (which we'll call SKU-A).

The graph below shows the performance discrepancy between the two SKUs in terms of percentage difference. The performance is gauged on the metric of requests per second, and this data is an average of observations captured over 24 hours.

Debugging Hardware Performance on Gen X Servers
Machines before implementing performance improvements. The average RPS for SKU-B is approximately 10% below SKU-A.

Compute performance via DGEMM

The initial debugging efforts centered around the compute performance. We ran AMD’s DGEMM high performance computing tool to determine if CPU performance was the cause. DGEMM is designed to measure the sustained floating-point computation rate of a single server. Specifically, the code measures the floating point rate of execution of a real matrix–matrix multiplication with double Continue reading

Announcing our Spring Developer Challenge

Announcing our Spring Developer Challenge
Announcing our Spring Developer Challenge

After many announcements from Platform Week, we’re thrilled to make one more: our Spring Developer Challenge!

The theme for this challenge is building real-time, collaborative applications — one of the most exciting use-cases emerging in the Cloudflare ecosystem. This is an opportunity for developers to merge their ideas with our newly released features, earn recognition on our blog, and take home our best swag yet.

Here’s a list of our tools that will get you started:

  • Workers can either be powerful middleware connecting your app to different APIs and an origin — or it can be the entire application itself. We recommend using Worktop, a popular framework for Workers, if you need TypeScript support, routing, and well-organized submodules. Worktop can also complement your existing app even if it already uses a framework,  such as Svelte.
  • Cloudflare Pages makes it incredibly easy to deploy sites, which you can make into truly dynamic apps by putting a Worker in front or using the Pages Functions (beta).
  • Durable Objects are great for collaborative apps because you can use websockets while coordinating state at the edge, seen in this chat demo. To help scale any load, we also recommend Durable Object Groups.
  • Workers Continue reading

Network performance update: Platform Week

Network performance update: Platform Week
Network performance update: Platform Week

In September 2021, we shared extensive benchmarking results of 1,000 networks all around the world. The results showed that on a range of tests (TCP connection time, time to first byte, time to last byte), and on different measures (p95, mean), Cloudflare was the fastest provider in 49% of networks around the world. Since then, we’ve worked to continuously improve performance, with the ultimate goal of being the fastest everywhere and an intermediate goal to grow the number of networks where we’re the fastest by at least 10% every Innovation Week. We met that goal during Security Week (March 2022), and we’re carrying the work over to Platform Week (May 2022).

We’re excited to update you on the latest results, but before we do: after running with this benchmark for nine months, we've also been looking for ways to improve the benchmark itself — to make it even more representative of speeds in the real world. To that end, we're expanding our measured networks from 1,000 to 3,000, to give an even more accurate sense of real world performance across the globe.

In terms of results: using the old benchmark of 1,000 networks, we’re the fastest in 69% of them. Continue reading

How Ramadan shows up in Internet trends

How Ramadan shows up in Internet trends
How Ramadan shows up in Internet trends

What happens to the Internet traffic in countries where many observe Ramadan? Depending on the country, there are clear shifts and changing patterns in Internet use, particularly before dawn and after sunset.

This year, Ramadan started on April 2, and it continued until May 1, 2022, (dates vary and are dependent on the appearance of the crescent moon). For Muslims, it is a period of introspection, communal prayer and also of fasting every day from dawn to sunset. That means that people only eat at night (Iftar is the first meal after sunset that breaks the fast and often also a family or community event), and also before sunrise (Suhur).

In some countries, the impact is so big that we can see in our Internet traffic charts when the sun sets. Sunrise is more difficult to check in the charts, but in the countries more impacted, people wake up much earlier than usual and were using the Internet in the early morning because of that.

Cloudflare Radar data shows that Internet traffic was impacted in several countries by Ramadan, with a clear increase in traffic before sunrise, and a bigger than usual decrease after sunset. All times Continue reading

Proof of Stake and our next experiments in web3

Proof of Stake and our next experiments in web3
Proof of Stake and our next experiments in web3

A little under four years ago we announced Cloudflare's first experiments in web3 with our gateway to the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). Three years ago we announced our experimental Ethereum Gateway. At Cloudflare, we often take experimental bets on the future of the Internet to help new technologies gain maturity and stability and for us to gain deep understanding of them.

Four years after our initial experiments in web3, it’s time to launch our next series of experiments to help advance the state of the art. These experiments are focused on finding new ways to help solve the scale and environmental challenges that face blockchain technologies today. Over the last two years there has been a rapid increase in the use of the underlying technologies that power web3. This growth has been a catalyst for a generation of startups; and yet it has also had negative externalities.

At Cloudflare, we are committed to helping to build a better Internet. That commitment balances technology and impact. The impact of certain older blockchain technologies on the environment has been challenging. The Proof of Work (PoW) consensus systems that secure many blockchains were instrumental in the bootstrapping of the web3 ecosystem. However, these Continue reading

Public access for our Ethereum and IPFS gateways now available

Public access for our Ethereum and IPFS gateways now available
Public access for our Ethereum and IPFS gateways now available

Today we are excited to announce that our Ethereum and IPFS gateways are publicly available to all Cloudflare customers for the first time. Since our announcement of our private beta last September the interest in our Eth and IPFS gateways has been overwhelming. We are humbled by the demand for these tools, and we are excited to get them into as many developers' hands as possible. Starting today, any Cloudflare customer can log into the dashboard and configure a zone for Ethereum, IPFS, or both!

Over the last eight months of the private beta, we’ve been busy working to fully operationalize the gateways to ensure they meet the needs of our customers!

First, we have created a new API with end-to-end managed hostname deployment. This ensures the creation and management of gateways as you continue to scale remains extremely quick and easy! It is paramount to give time and focus back to developers to focus on your core product and services and leave the infrastructural components to us!

Second, we’ve added a brand new UI bringing web3 to Cloudflare's zone-level dashboard. Now, regardless of the workflow you are used to, we have parity between our UI and API to ensure Continue reading

Serving Cloudflare Pages sites to the IPFS network

Serving Cloudflare Pages sites to the IPFS network
Serving Cloudflare Pages sites to the IPFS network

Four years ago, Cloudflare went Interplanetary by offering a gateway to the IPFS network. This meant that if you hosted content on IPFS, we offered to make it available to every user of the Internet through HTTPS and with Cloudflare protection. IPFS allows you to choose a storage provider you are comfortable with, while providing a standard interface for Cloudflare to serve this data.

Since then, businesses have new tools to streamline web development. Cloudflare Workers, Pages, and R2 are enabling developers to bring services online in a matter of minutes, with built-in scaling, security, and analytics.

Today, we're announcing we're bridging the two. We will make it possible for our customers to serve their sites on the IPFS network.

In this post, we'll learn how you will be able to build your website with Cloudflare Pages, and leverage the IPFS integration to make your content accessible and available across multiple providers.

A primer on IPFS

The InterPlanetary FileSystem (IPFS) is a peer-to-peer network for storing content on a distributed file system. It is composed of a set of computers called nodes that store and relay content using a common addressing system. In short, a set of participants Continue reading

Gaining visibility in IPFS systems

Gaining visibility in IPFS systems
Gaining visibility in IPFS systems

We have been operating an IPFS gateway for the last four years. It started as a research experiment in 2018, providing end-to-end integrity with IPFS. A year later, we made IPFS content faster to fetch. Last year, we announced we were committed to making IPFS gateway part of our product offering. Through this process, we needed to inform our design decisions to know how our setup performed.

To this end, we've developed the IPFS Gateway monitor, an observability tool that runs various IPFS scenarios on a given gateway endpoint. In this post, you'll learn how we use this tool and go over discoveries we made along the way.

Refresher on IPFS

IPFS is a distributed system for storing and accessing files, websites, applications, and data. It's different from a traditional centralized file system in that IPFS is completely distributed. Any participant can join and leave at any time without the loss of overall performance.

However, in order to access any file in IPFS, users cannot just use web browsers. They need to run an IPFS node to access the file from IPFS using its own protocol. IPFS Gateways play the role of enabling users to do this using only Continue reading

Part 1: Rethinking Cache Purge, Fast and Scalable Global Cache Invalidation

Part 1: Rethinking Cache Purge, Fast and Scalable Global Cache Invalidation
Part 1: Rethinking Cache Purge, Fast and Scalable Global Cache Invalidation

There is a famous quote attributed to a Netscape engineer: “There are only two difficult problems in computer science: cache invalidation and naming things.” While naming things does oddly take up an inordinate amount of time, cache invalidation shouldn’t.

In the past we’ve written about Cloudflare’s incredibly fast response times, whether content is cached on our global network or not. If content is cached, it can be served from a Cloudflare cache server, which are distributed across the globe and are generally a lot closer in physical proximity to the visitor. This saves the visitor’s request from needing to go all the way back to an origin server for a response. But what happens when a webmaster updates something on their origin and would like these caches to be updated as well? This is where cache “purging” (also known as “invalidation”) comes in.

Customers thinking about setting up a CDN and caching infrastructure consider questions like:

  • How do different caching invalidation/purge mechanisms compare?
  • How many times a day/hour/minute do I expect to purge content?
  • How quickly can the cache be purged when needed?

This blog will discuss why invalidating cached assets is hard, what Cloudflare has done to make Continue reading

Announcing the Cloudflare Images Sourcing Kit

Announcing the Cloudflare Images Sourcing Kit
Announcing the Cloudflare Images Sourcing Kit

When we announced Cloudflare Images to the world, we introduced a way to store images within the product and help customers move away from the egress fees met when using remote sources for their deliveries via Cloudflare.

To store the images in Cloudflare, customers can upload them via UI with a simple drag and drop, or via API for scenarios with a high number of objects for which scripting their way through the upload process makes more sense.

To create flexibility on how to import the images, we’ve recently also included the ability to upload via URL or define custom names and paths for your images to allow a simple mapping between customer repositories and the objects in Cloudflare. It's also possible to serve from a custom hostname to create flexibility on how your end-users see the path, to improve the delivery performance by removing the need to do TLS negotiations or to improve your brand recognition through URL consistency.

Still, there was no simple way to tell our product: “Tens of millions of images are in this repository URL. Go and grab them all from me”.  

In some scenarios, our customers have buckets with millions of images Continue reading

Send email using Workers with MailChannels

Send email using Workers with MailChannels
Send email using Workers with MailChannels

Here at Cloudflare we often talk about HTTP and related protocols as we work to help build a better Internet. However, the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) — used to send emails — is still a massive part of the Internet too.

Even though SMTP is turning 40 years old this year, most businesses still rely on email to validate user accounts, send notifications, announce new features, and more.

Sending an email is simple from a technical standpoint, but getting an email actually delivered to an inbox can be extremely tricky. Because of the enormous amount of spam that is sent every single day, all major email providers are very wary of things like new domains and IP addresses that start sending emails.

That is why we are delighted to announce a partnership with MailChannels. MailChannels has created an email sending service specifically for Cloudflare Workers that removes all the friction associated with sending emails. To use their service, you do not need to validate a domain or create a separate account. MailChannels filters spam before sending out an email, so you can feel safe putting user-submitted content in an email and be confident that it won’t ruin your domain Continue reading

Route to Workers, automate your email processing

Route to Workers, automate your email processing
Route to Workers, automate your email processing

Cloudflare Email Routing has quickly grown to a few hundred thousand users, and we’re incredibly excited with the number of feature requests that reach our product team every week. We hear you, we love the feedback, and we want to give you all that you’ve been asking for. What we don’t like is making you wait, or making you feel like your needs are too unique to be addressed.

That’s why we’re taking a different approach - we’re giving you the power tools that you need to implement any logic you can dream of to process your emails in the fastest, most scalable way possible.

Today we’re announcing Route to Workers, for which we’ll start a closed beta soon. You can join the waitlist today.

How this works

When using Route to Workers your Email Routing rules can have a Worker process the messages reaching any of your custom Email addresses.

Route to Workers, automate your email processing

Even if you haven’t used Cloudflare Workers before, we are making onboarding as easy as can be. You can start creating Workers straight from the Email Routing dashboard, with just one click.

Route to Workers, automate your email processing

After clicking Create, you will be able to choose a starter that allows you to get Continue reading

Closed Caption support coming to Stream Live

Closed Caption support coming to Stream Live
Closed Caption support coming to Stream Live

Building inclusive technology is core to the Cloudflare mission. Cloudflare Stream has supported captions for on-demand videos for several years. Soon, Stream will auto-detect embedded captions and include it in the live stream delivered to your viewers.

Thousands of Cloudflare customers use the Stream product to build video functionality into their apps. With live caption support, Stream customers can better serve their users with a more comprehensive viewing experience.

Enabling Closed Captions in Stream Live

Stream Live scans for CEA-608 and CEA-708 captions in incoming live streams ingested via SRT and RTMPS.  Assuming the live streams you are pushing to Cloudflare Stream contain captions, you don’t have to do anything further: the captions will simply get included in the manifest file.

Closed Caption support coming to Stream Live

If you are using the Stream Player, these captions will be rendered by the Stream Player. If you are using your own player, you simply have to configure your player to display captions.  

Closed Caption support coming to Stream Live

Currently, Stream Live supports captions for a single language during the live event. While the support for captions is limited to one language during the live stream, you can upload captions for multiple languages once the event completes and the live event becomes an on-demand Continue reading

Stream with sub-second latency is like a magical HDMI cable to the cloud

Stream with sub-second latency is like a magical HDMI cable to the cloud
Stream with sub-second latency is like a magical HDMI cable to the cloud

Starting today, in open beta, Cloudflare Stream supports video playback with sub-second latency over SRT or RTMPS at scale. Just like HLS and DASH formats, playback over RTMPS and SRT costs $1 per 1,000 minutes delivered regardless of video encoding settings used.

Stream is like a magic HDMI cable to the cloud. You can easily connect a video stream and display it from as many screens as you want wherever you want around the world.

What do we mean by sub-second?

Video latency is the time it takes from when a camera sees something happen live to when viewers of a broadcast see the same thing happen via their screen. Although we like to think what’s on TV is happening simultaneously in the studio and your living room at the same time, this is not the case. Often, cable TV takes five seconds to reach your home.

On the Internet, the range of latencies across different services varies widely from multiple minutes down to a few seconds or less. Live streaming technologies like HLS and DASH, used on by the most common video streaming websites typically offer 10 to 30 seconds of latency, and this is what you can achieve Continue reading

Bring your own ingest domain to Stream Live

Bring your own ingest domain to Stream Live
Bring your own ingest domain to Stream Live

The last two years have given rise to hundreds of live streaming platforms. Most live streaming platforms enable their creators to go live by providing them with a server and an RTMP/SRT key that they can configure in their broadcasting app.

Until today, even if your live streaming platform was called live-yoga-classes.com, your users would need to push the RTMPS feed to live.cloudflare.com. Starting today, every Stream account can configure its own domain in the Stream dashboard. And your creators can broadcast to a domain such as push.live-yoga-classes.com.

This feature is available to all Stream accounts, including self-serve customers at no additional cost. Every Cloudflare account with a Stream subscription can add up to five ingest domains.

Secure CNAMEing for live video ingestion

Cloudflare Stream only supports encrypted video ingestion using RTMPS and SRT protocols. These are secure protocols and, similar to HTTPS, ensure encryption between the broadcaster and Cloudflare servers. Unlike non-secure protocols like RTMP, secure RTMP (or RTMPS) protects your users from monster-in-the-middle attacks.

In an unsecure world, you could simply CNAME a domain to another domain regardless of whether you own the domain you are sending traffic to. Because Stream Live Continue reading

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