What is CloudFlare and why is it worth the combined interest of Microsoft, Google, Qualcomm and Baidu? On its own, Cloudflare is a U.S. based content delivery network that acts a reverse proxy for websites. Chiefly specializing in the protection of websites or mobile applications, Cloudflare also manages to help increase speed, reduce load times and optimize for best performance of content.
“Once your web site is a part of the CloudFlare community, its web traffic is routed through our intelligent global network. We automatically optimize the delivery of your web pages, so your visitors get the fastest page load times and best performance. We also block threats and limit abusive bots and crawlers from wasting your bandwidth and server resources. The result: CloudFlare-powered websites see a significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks.”
However, what makes Cloudflare such a hot commodity these days are the deals, it's landing. According to recent Forbes article, the relatively new startup managed to partner up with Baidu to bring its security and cloud protection services to over 650 million Chinese Internet users.
As far as Microsoft’s involvement, it may have to do with CloudFlare’s already four million customers in 30 various countries. Microsoft may also be very interested in CloudFlare’s ability to process 5% of the world’s Internet request while squashing more than 200 billion cyber attacks monthly. In the enterprise, security perhaps outweighs productivity in many cases. A partnership with a security firm able to be cross platform and multi-national could be a critical investment for Microsoft.
In regards to Google and Qualcomm's contributions, CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince clarifies that the company’s expansion was dependent on four key avenues. Google helps with collaborating with Baidu, Qualcomm addresses mobile; Baidu answers the company’s China strategy while Microsoft supports its enterprise ambitions.
While the company is playing the field as it looks to expand, it is no doubt companies such as Microsoft and Google see the potential of CloudFlare’s 17 data centers in China as future opportunities.
In its latest round of funding, Cloudflare found Microsoft, Google, Qualcomm and Baidu contributing to its $110 million dollar cash pile.