Building on top of its recently launched serverless application platform Workers and the R2 object storage service, CloudFlare is releasing a new serverless database, dubbed D1, to take on databases from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Oracle.
The vendor claims that the D1 distributed database, which will reside in its 250-plus global locations — CloudFlare's edge — will reduce latency and data transfer fees for developers compared to other databases.
The reduction in latency, according to the company, can be achieved by storing data in locations close to the user of the database or where a specific application is running.
"This approach of building a serverless database is in stark contrast with that of AWS Lambda where data travels back to the function," said Holger Mueller, principal analyst at Constellation Research. "There are currently no services in the market that can be compared to D1 and we expect the other cloud services to react to this launch in their own ways."
Another advantage or possible reason for quick adoption could be CloudFlare D1's SQLite API integration, which is compatible with Oracle's MySQL database management system (DBMS).
"Since the database supports SQLite, developers will be able to build applications without any training, positioning it for quick adoption," Mueller said.
Some of the other features of D1 include the ability to move data from other database providers and the integration of the Workers platform, which the company claims will make building full-stack applications easier.
The company has also said that it will not charge data transfer fees. This means that developers will be able to move data between services, Mueller said.
CloudFlare reaches beyond security, CDN
The D1 announcement is the latest in what can only be called as a slow but sure strategy to expand CloudFlare's identity beyond a content delivery network (CDN) and DDoS mitigation company, analysts say.
"D1 can be chalked up to the company's strategy to increase its overall total addressable market by expanding to adjacent markets beyond CDN," said Ghassan Abdo, research vice president for IDC's worldwide telecom, virtualisation CDN practice.
According to Constellation's Mueller, the CloudFlare's end-goal is to become an apps platform with a full suite of services including network and storage.
"They want to not only be in the network and security corner, but become a platform that leverages their network, effectively offering an alternate approach to build modern enterprise apps," Mueller said.
CloudFlare has been steadily expanding beyond CDN — a big step was the launch of its Workers Platform in 2017. It has more recently added developer tools, including the R2 object storage service which competes directly with Amazon S3 but doesn't charge for data egress.