With this move, the company is seeking to become an even bigger part of internet infrastructure — moving beyond delivering content to actually running customers’ code. Users will also reap the benefits of Cloudflare’s massive global datacenter network, which can provide low-latency responses to requests from just about anywhere.
That geographic reach and low latency is especially important for internet of things (IoT) applications that require customers to manage hardware fleets around the globe. Workers has been in beta since September of last year, and customers have used the service for a wide variety of tasks, including optimizing advertisements, redirecting customers to language-specific websites, and optimizing images delivered to commerce customers based on which devices they’re using.
Workers has already picked up a number of high-profile customers, including delivery service Postmates and open source package manager NPM.
Companies shouldn’t expect to replace all of their applications with code running with Workers. While Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince was surprised by how complex customers’ workloads have been, the service doesn’t offer persistent virtual machines like the infrastructure-as-a-service offerings from major cloud providers. It runs in a “serverless” manner, meaning that customers don’t have to worry about provisioning the appropriate computing infrastructure for their Workers tasks — Cloudflare’s platform handles that automatically.
Cloudflare’s architecture for Workers also allows customers to push updates to their code that will execute globally. That way, they don’t have to update the code running on devices that connect to Workers or handle the patching of a bunch of servers. That may actually be a downside for some companies that want to limit which servers their code is deployed on, as Cloudflare doesn’t offer a choice of particular infrastructure.
This new service is based on the Sandstorm team joining Cloudflare last year.
Correction March 14: This story originally said Workers was based on Cloudflare’s acquisition of Eager. It was instead based on the Sandstorm team joining the company last year.