Cloudflare is moving up in the market for CDN and security services. There’s no surer sign of that than a new partnership that has Cloudflare security and CDN services being offered via IBM.
- Cloudflare’s deal with IBM shows the company is serious about continuing to expand in the enterprise market, and IBM is a good path to do that, even if IBM Cloud is smaller than the other players in the space.
- Cloudflare hopes to integrate into other IBM services, including the QRadar security analytics offering, and later the development of applications that leverage Watson for Cyber Security.
- The deal does not portend any significant change in IBM’s relationship with Akamai, but does represent Cloudflare’s increasing incursion on Akamai’s turf.
Cloudflare’s portfolio of services will be offered through IBM Cloud, marketed as Cloud Internet Services. The services will be available via the IBM Cloud dashboard. The services go beyond the CDN services that IBM Cloud as well as other cloud providers have integrated into their IaaS offerings. Cloudflare’s portfolio includes:
|DDoS mitigation||CDN||Load balancing|
|WAF||Smart Routing||Rate Limiting|
|Bot detection/mitigation||Web optimization|
Cloudflare has other services, but the table focuses on those services referenced on Cloudflare’s web page promoting the integration with IBM Cloud.
IBM is officially a Cloudflare reseller, meaning the services can be sold and deployed by IBM in any existing customer environment, including on-premise, hybrid as well as public cloud.
CloudFlare said the deal grew out of having IBM as a customer. IBM had been using Cloudflare for DDOS and WAF security as well as load balancing for the X-force Exchange business. X-force is IBM’s threat intelligence sharing platform.
Cloudflare’s ability to take this initial deal and expand into other parts of IBM sets the stage for other developments, including future integration of Cloudflare’s data set into IBM’s QRadar security analytics offering. Longer term, Cloudflare says it is looking to develop applications that leverage Watson for Cyber Security.
Cloudflare has been growing rapidly for several years, owning largely to its focus on the SMB market and numerous reseller deals with cloud/hosting providers. In 2017, there was a concerted push upmarket into enterprise accounts, and the company has significantly tilted its revenue mix towards that market, and the company reached milestones such as a $150m run rate and topping the 500-employee mark last year.
Akamai is the largest CDN vendor and does a significant amount of business in security services like DDoS and WAF. Akamai is a long-time IBM partner, and just last year announced integration of its CDN offering with IBM Cloud. The deal does not, in our view, portend any significant change in the relationship.
Akamai said IBM is a significant reseller of its entire portfolio of services via the IBM Global Technology Services organization Edge Delivery Services branding. IBM’s Global Security Services organization also sells Akamai’s DDOS services and have integrated their Q-Radar SIEM with Akamai’s Kona security services. Additionally, Akamai was recently named IBM Watson Customer Engagement partner of the year for helping provide secure delivery of the Watson AI service and Watson API.
The Cloudflare deal is not exclusive; indeed, most cloud service providers (other than AWS) offer CDN via multiple vendors. Microsoft Azure offers CDN via both Akamai and Verizon Digital Media Services (EdgeCast). Google Cloud offers CDN Interconnect, which charges an fee based on egress traffic to CDN providers including Akamai, Cloudflare, CenturyLink/Level3, Fastly, Instart Logic, Limelight Networks, and Verizon.
Cloudflare did say there are already joint customers who are using its services, including 23andMe, the genetics testing service.