Acquia Partners with CloudFlare To Boost DDoS Security

Acquia announced today that it’s teaming with CloudFlare to offer its customers CloudFlare Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection, as well as Content Delivery Network (CDN) services. Acquia will sell and service these products.

Acquia wanted a product it could package and service, so the partner needed to be flexible in this regard. It considered building something itself, but quickly rejected that idea, Chris Stone, senior VP of products and development at Acquia explained.

“We went looking for the best solution first, and then an opportunity to work with someone that could be Acquia led and that was key to working with CloudFlare,” he said. It didn’t hurt that some customers were asking for CloudFlare by name.

As for CloudFlare, it gets its products in large enterprises where Acquia typically operates, but it is letting Acquia package CloudFlare services under the Acquia brand.

CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince is careful to point out, even though it’s being offered as part of the Acquia product family, it’s still a CloudFlare log-in, and the product customers interact with is the same CloudFlare product every customer uses.

Acquia is a commercial front-end for the open source Drupal web content management platform. It provides customers with tools to implement and manage Drupal that the open source package doesn’t offer with an emphasis on customizing the customer experience.

Stone says with customers running hundreds or even thousands of sites on the Acquia platform, a DDoS attack (which can take down a site by flooding it with requests) could be devastating. Drupal provides its own security layer, but Stone says Acquia wanted to offer customers another layer of security. That’s what the CloudFlare DDoS product, known as Acquia Edge Protect under the Acquia brand umbrella, offers them.

“This adds an extra layer of security on top of Drupal. We had a very secure platform and now we are adding a layer of protection for DDoS attacks,” Stone explained. In other words, it’s filling in a missing piece in its security with a third-party product.

As for the other piece, Content Delivery Networks or CDNs offer performance improvement by moving content closer to where the demand is to improve delivery speed. Customers don’t want to wait for a video to buffer or a website to load and the CloudFlare CDN product, known as Edge CDN under Acquia gives Acquia customers a CDN option.

CloudFlare claims using this tool, you can dramatically reduce the number of servers, which reduces overall bandwidth requirements, and results in lower operating costs (assuming it works as advertised).

Stone says the idea behind offering these products as Acquia products with his company’s support is the ‘single throat to choke’ theory. The theory goes that customers want best of breed products, but they also want to deal with a single vendor whenever possible. It’s important to note though that CloudFlare will continue to develop these products. Acquia is just acting as a partner.

Acquia CTO Dries Buytaert developed Drupal in his dorm room in the early 2000s and grew the project as open source, which it remains today. He co-founded Acquia as the commercial arm of Drupal in 2007. The company has raised over $118 million.

CloudFlare launched in 2009 and has raised over $71 million.