First things first

There was a lot of interesting news already this week, so you'll want to at least skim through this whole issue and check out the headlines. But here are a few things that really stood out to me:

Cloudflare looks like it could challenge cloud providers on the edge

Here are the two stories, and a Hacker News discussion, that cover what I'm suggesting in more detail:

The long and short of the Cloudflare edge computing service, called Workers and originally announced in September, is that developers can write JavaScript that runs on Cloudflare's infrastructure. That code can do whatever developers can make it do, although a lot early suggestions have to do with fronting Cloudflare-powered websites and apps with new capabilities that run outside the browser and close to users. Workers is similar in nature to the AWS Lambda@Edge service, but much less flexible and heavy-duty (e.g., no sustained database connection) than the flagship AWS Lambda service.

Because of how much web traffic now touches Cloudflare servers, the Workers service would be interesting enough without the details on the company's expanding data center footprint and rush toward ARM-powered servers. But when a company is planning to grow from a 125-city data center footprint to a 200-plus-city data center footprint by the end of the year, and is betting on a new low-power, many-core chip architecture from Qualcomm, people might starting wondering what it's up to.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Cloudflare continue rolling out new features to its edge-computing service, to the point where it eventually looks like a full-stack platform for powering IoT applications as well as websites. God knows connected devices need to improve upon security, performance and latency, and at least for startups or smaller companies, Cloudflare is arguably in as good a position as anybody to deliver those capabilities. It can't build out massive-scale data centers or develop new database systems on par with Google or AWS, but there's a lot it can do with smart planning and a wide net of small facilities.

Salesforce is making some decent investments in Dropbox and MongoDB

See the two stories below, neither of which mention Salesforce in their headlines But it's buying $100 million in Dropbox stock, and purchased 45,000 shares of MongoDB stock:

It's very possible Salesforce just believes these are good investments, but it's also possible the company realizes it needs to modernize its platform/products and is investing in companies it thinks can help it do so. (It did also announce a partnership with Dropbox.) As innovative as Salesforce has been over the years, it also came up during an age before open source was the default setting for infrastructure, and before cloud-native and Slack even were things. Its revenue has shareholders happy now, but 5 years from now -- in the face of growing ambitions by Google, AWS, Microsoft, Oracle, Slack, Box and any number of startups -- who really knows.

Best to starting planning for the future now.

Google is open sourcing a Kubernetes-powered gaming server

This is a smart move from Google Cloud, which I would argue needs to get more competitive with AWS on some of these application-specific offerings. AWS has been targeting game developers with dedicated service for a while. I admittedly do not know a lot about the gaming industry, but I have to imagine an open source platform could be pretty appealing to a lot of developers while also, of course, driving additional demand for Google Kubernetes Engine.


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