CloudFlare announced Tuesday that it raised $110 million from Fidelity, Google, Microsoft, Baidu, Qualcomm, and its existing investors. With that kind of cash and those names as investors, it’s fair to ask: What does the five-year-old startup do that’s so valuable?
According to its corporate blog, CloudFlare “is pioneering a shift at the network edge” for all traffic directed to the layers below. “It’s time to say farewell to hardware appliances,” the blog reads.
Traditionally, appliances such as load balancers, DDoS mitigation gear, WAN optimizers, malware scanners, firewalls, and authentication devices ensured that traffic reached its destination securely. CloudFlare’s claim to fame is that it can enable all of these functions by turning all this hardware into cloud services.
But CloudFlare’s CEO Matthew Prince told FastCompany that it is setting its sights on competing with Amazon Web Services in the future. That might explain some of the interest from Google and Microsoft.