Cloudflare Long Thesis (NYSE: NET)

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Welcome to another Monday! We’re looking at a company that we’re very excited about - Cloudflare. There’s almost too much to discuss about Cloudflare, they’re almost three or four companies rolled into one with the breadth of services they offer.

As always, we’ve released two podcasts this week:

In today’s newsletter:

  1. Overview of Cloudflare
  2. Cloud Edge
  3. Our Hot Take on Cloudflare
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Overview of Cloudflare

If you run a website, there’s a few key things that you generally need to do in order to create a great user experience for your visitors:

  • Make sure the load time required for your website is low
  • Make sure your website is always up
  • Make sure your website is secure and protected from malicious actors

Trying to do all three of these things is actually quite difficult and resource intensive for many companies. It requires a wealth of cyber security experts, engineers and infrastructure in order to do this. Cloudflare is a performance security solution that provides this service for companies and websites. The genius of Cloudflare is that they do this through no extra code, no extra software or hardware, just a small change to the domain name.

This works in a relatively simple fashion. If you’re a customer using Cloudflare, they will install a ‘layer’ on top of your website. This ‘layer’ provides security, reliability and performance to a website to ensure to ensure website up-time and blocks any malicious actors (such as bots or hackers).

This is somewhat of a simplification of the service that Cloudflare provide but outlines the broad principle of how their external facing security solutions work. In addition, Cloudflare also provide:

  • Internal facing security solutions - this includes identity management for companies, access to private networks and traffic control
  • Developer tools - Including serverless technology which enables developers to build and deploy applications without managing servers, reducing friction in the application development lifecycle
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Cloud Edge and Cloudflare

Traditionally a cyber security company, Cloudflare has recently started to invest in a platform called Cloudflare Workers and shifting away from its cyber security foundations. Cloudflare Workers is a serverless platform that enables developers to write code and deploy it on the edge, without having to worry about the server and scaffold for that code. Not following? The two key elements here are:

  • The platform is serverless which means a developer can focus on writing code and not have to write code with requires them to build a foundation tied to a server and how that code will be hosted, they can focus on just writing it. Cloudflare Workers will then take care of the hosting and the server infrastructure for that code, reducing effort and removing friction
  • Cloudflare Workers is on the edge which means the code will automatically get deployed and hosted to a data centre that is geographically close to your location. Having the code located in a data centre close to your customers means they can access your applications faster as there’s less latency. Usually, developers have to choose a data centre or spin up a completely new centre when they add a geography. But now, they don’t need to worry about this, they can deploy straight to the Workers Platform and Cloudflare will do the rest

Why is this so great? There’s a number of benefits of this approach including reduced costs for developers as they’re only paying for data centres they need, it’s highly scalable as they can continuously deploy without the need for setting up data centres and the code can run much faster, decreasing latency.


Our take?

The world is moving to ‘the edge’. Cloud Edge and Edge Computing are two of the biggest problems that technology companies are solving for right now. For the vast majority of technology companies, owning their own data centres makes no sense due to the vast cost required in upkeep, which is why they default to AWS, Azure, Google Cloud or Alibaba Cloud.

More and more companies are moving to the cloud, there’s no doubt about this. If we go back to our three key principles:

  • Make sure the load time required for your website is low
  • Make sure your website is always up
  • Make sure your website is secure and protected from malicious actors

Cloudflare’s serverless edge platform enables all three things but now they’ve moved on from websites and are focused on code. They’ve built a platform that ensures the speed, reliability and security of any applications written and deployed in their cloud edge platform, and they’re leveraging their existing data centres to ensure they can do this at scale.

In this move, Cloudflare has increased its addressable market and is paving its path to becoming the next technology giant. It’s ready to compete with Amazon’s AWS and Lambda and we’re looking forward to see this battle.

🎙️ Want more detail on Cloudflare, its portfolio of products and it’s competitors? Listen to this week’s podcast here!

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