Cloudflare, which has a network of data centers in 250 locations around the world, today announced its first alliance with infrastructure services, an upcoming cloud storage offering called R2.
Company co-founder and CEO Matthew Prince said the idea to move to storage as a service came from the same place as other ideas the company turned into products. It was something they needed internally and led them to build it for themselves, before bringing it to customers as well.
“When we build products, the reason we end up building them is usually because we need them ourselves,” Prince told me. He said the storage component arose out of the need to store components of objects such as images on the corporate network. Once they built it and looked at the cloud storage landscape, they decided it would make sense to offer it as a product to customers as well.
“We thought that if we could create a storage solution that provides all the functionality of other storage solutions, that takes advantage of our global network, then it is extremely efficient and we can also price it in a very attractive way. customers [we should do it],” he said.
The name R2 is a twist on Amazon’s S3 storage product and obviously a play on the name. The difference, according to Prince, is that they’ve found a way to cut storage costs by up to 10% by eliminating exit fees. Cloudflare plans to price storage at $ 0.015 per GB of data stored per month. This compares to S3 pricing which starts at $ 0.023 per GB for the first 50 TB per month.
“In terms of data transfer costs, if you look at one of the cloud providers, it’s free to put your data there, but it costs you something to remove that data,” Prince told me. He said one of the goals of the service was to eliminate the costs associated with moving data, and the plan was not to charge for what the company called “infrequent access.”
Prince sees this in a context where the price of bandwidth has come down over the years, but the price of storage on Amazon and other cloud services has remained high. In his view, they can pass some of those savings on to customers. He says he’s not trying to compete directly with startups like Backblaze and Wasabi, which he says are partners, but that they both try to compete with Amazon and other big cloud providers on the cloud storage market.
The product is still in development, and the company has set up a waiting list for customers interested in participating in a beta when it is ready for testing in the coming months.
Prince says Cloudflare plans to build other services beyond storage, and he sees his business end up competing with the Big Three cloud providers – AWS, Google and Microsoft. “I think we really think we’re on our way to becoming the fourth major public cloud. And, I think our approach is actually a lot more differentiated than the other three, and so yes, we’ll keep building things, ”he said.