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Cloudflare pushes Workers out the door – without layoffs

Runs JavaScript on the edge, rather than make users schlep all the way to your server

Cloudflare has launched a service that lets its customers run JavaScript at the edge of its cloud.

Built on Google's V8 JavaScript engine, "Cloudflare Workers" is pitched as a kind of halfway house between central cloud processing and local execution: in beta since September 2017, it integrated the company's Service Worker API with JavaScript. At that time, the company envisaged web site operators using the service for code that was only needed in some locations.

Cloudflare explained in this announcement that Workers' ability to run code at the edge was previously only available to its own staff.

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In this blog post, tech lead Kenton Varda offered a bit more detail about what users can do with Cloudflare Workers.

The company's big pitch is that with 127 data centres worldwide, most users are only a handful of milliseconds away from where their code can execute.

When users deploy a Worker, Varda explained in the blog post, it will make its way through Cloudflare's edge network in “less than 30 seconds”.

“Each request for your domain will be handled by your Worker at a Cloudflare location close to the end user”, Varda continued – but a customer's sysadmins don't have to do the hard work building that kind of distributed network.

Apart from executing the JavaScript code, the Workers have various HTTP handling capabilities (including forwarding to third-party servers), and they can interact with other workers to respond to requests.

Multiple requests can be handled in serial or parallel, an asynchronous request feature helps with logging and analytics, and Workers can “control other Cloudflare features, such as caching behaviour”, the blog post continued.

Workers cost US$0.50 per million requests with a minimum of $5 a month that bundles the first ten million requests. ®

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