Is Cloudflare revolutionising cloudcomputing?

  • Shaibana Sherafudheen
  • Published: DECEMBER 02, 2018
Is Cloudflare revolutionising cloudcomputing?

Cloud computing has been the most dominating technologies in the tech world for more than a decade now. Two cornerstones of the cloud infrastructure ‘Containers’ and ‘Virtual Machines’ allow users to create a separate environment on the same machine. Cloudflare one of the largest cloud platforms used in the world has claimed that this technology may not be needed in the future. Cloudflare has developed a  cloud computing platform called Workers. Like the other cloud computing platforms, it doesn’t make use of containers or virtual machines instead it uses V8: Isolates. Cloudflare calls this as “the future of serverless and cloud computing”.

What are V8: isolates

Isolates is a technology based on google chrome’s V8 Javascript engine that enables users to run processes simultaneously and also run codes with little overheads.  The transparent switching used between the various processes in place of context switching based on an isolate based system saves time by running all the code in a single process. The overhead of the Javascript only needs to be paid once and with that, almost all the CPUs power is then used in running the code. It makes this isolate based system more efficient over other serverless providers.

How does Cloudflare use V8?
Cloudflare developed Workers when they were faced with a problem. As Cloudflare had limitations in their internal features and options, they wanted their customers to be able to write code and build applications themselves. They wanted to find a solution that allowed customers to write code on its servers deployed worldwide.

It also had to run fast with millions of requests to be processed in seconds. Finally, Cloudflare settled on V8 Isolates, which are built to begin processes in no time. Just a single process can run large numbers of Isolates enabling seamless switching between them. This means that the code from many different customers can be run in the same operating system process. They consume far less memory than other similar systems and they don’t use a virtual machine or a container, which means that you are running much closer to the metal than most other forms of cloud computing. Besides Workers doesn’t require to start up a new process each time as Isolates begin in 5 milliseconds.

Security Concerns

There are chances of security threats with multiple codes running in the same process. However, this doesn't need to be a concern while using this process because Chrome’s V8 Javascript is highly secure and tops in ensuring security for its systems. Besides the company has also added its own security measure to safely implement the technology. Cloudflare also says that using isolates have made it three times cheaper than other services, which makes it one of the best options available.

Although using isolates saves both time and money, right now this system can only accept code written in JavaScript which means that the users must recompile their codes in order to run them. Fortunately, this is not a limitation that cannot be overcome. There is intensive research being conducted on cloud technology and soon, researchers will find an innovative solution.

Shaibana Sherafudheen Research Analyst
  • Last updated: Dec 4, 2018 16:05 IST
  • TOPICS: Around The World   Future   Technology  

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