With new serverless database, Cloudflare gets serious about infrastructure services

When AWS launched its storage offering in 2006, it began a march to offer compute, storage and database services in the cloud. Google, Microsoft, Alibaba and IBM, among others, would follow. One player that might not be top of mind in this market is Cloudflare, but with its announcement today of a new SQL database service, it’s getting more serious about being a cloud infrastructure player.

In a blog post, announcing the new product, the company described the database this way:

D1 is built on SQLite. Not only is SQLite the most ubiquitous database in the world, used by billions of devices a day, it’s also the first ever serverless database. Surprised? SQLite was so ahead of its time, it dubbed itself “serverless” before the term gained connotation with cloud services, and originally meant literally “not involving a server.”

Cloudflare helps companies keep their websites running in a secure and speedy way, and as part of that, they have data centers across the world. Starting in 2017, when it launched the Cloudflare Workers platform, the company began making compute on their vast network available to developers.

Last year, it announced a new storage product they dubbed R2, which was a little nod/swipe to Amazon’s S3 storage product. As CEO and co-founder Matthew Prince told me at the time of the launch:

“We thought if we can build a storage solution that provides all the functionality that other storage solutions do, that takes advantage of our global network so it’s extremely performant and we can also then price it in a way that is very attractive to customers [we should do it],” he said.

When you put the three pieces together you get a soup-to-nuts compute, storage, database package that provides a way for developers to build complete solutions on top of the vast network of Cloudflare hardware.

The cloud infrastructure market reached $53 billion last quarter, according to Synergy Research. Amazon controls a third of that amount. Microsoft was in second with 22% and Google Cloud third with around 10%. While the Big 3 own 65% of the market, that still leaves billions of dollars left for the companies at the bottom of the market.

With over 200 data centers around the world, Cloudflare may never take on the Big 3, but it can build a substantial business on top of its other services, and that could be good for the company’s growing revenue.

Cloudflare debuted in 2010 at the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield. The company raised over $330 million before going public in 2019. In its most recent earnings report earlier this month, the company reported income of $212.2 million, up 54% from the prior year period.