All too often we are confronted with the choice to move quickly or act responsibly. Whether the topic is safety, security, or in this case sustainability, we’re asked to make the trade off of halting innovation to protect ourselves, our users, or the planet. But what if that didn’t always need to be the case? At Cloudflare, our goal is to bring sustainable computing to you without the need for any additional time, work, or complexity.
Enter Green Compute on Cloudflare Workers.
Green Compute can be enabled for any Cron triggered Workers. The concept is simple: when turned on, we’ll take your compute workload and run it exclusively on parts of our edge network located in facilities powered by renewable energy. Even though all of Cloudflare’s edge network is powered by renewable energy already, some of our data centers are located in third-party facilities that are not 100% powered by renewable energy. Green Compute takes our commitment to sustainability one step further by ensuring that not only our network equipment but also the building facility as a whole are powered by renewable energy. There are absolutely no code changes needed. Now, whether you need to update a leaderboard every five minutes or do DNA sequencing directly on our edge (yes, that’s a real use case!), you can minimize the impact of any scheduled work, regardless of how complex or energy intensive.
How it works
Cron triggers allow developers to set time-based invocations for their Workers. These Workers happen on a recurring schedule, as opposed to being triggered by application users via HTTP requests. Developers specify a job schedule in familiar cron syntax either through wrangler or within the Workers Dashboard. To set up a scheduled job, first create a Worker that performs a periodic task, then navigate to the ‘Triggers’ tab to define a Cron Trigger.
The great thing about cron triggered Workers is that there is no human on the other side waiting for a response in real time. There is no end user we need to run the job close to. Instead, these Workers are scheduled to run as (often computationally expensive) background jobs making them a no-brainer candidate to run exclusively on sustainable hardware, even when that hardware isn’t the closest to your user base.
Cloudflare’s massive global network is logically one distributed system with all the parts connected, secured, and trusted. Because our network works as a single system, as opposed to a system with logically isolated regions, we have the flexibility to seamlessly move workloads around the world keeping your impact goals in mind without any additional management complexity for you.
When you set up a Cron Trigger with Green Compute enabled, the Cloudflare network will route all scheduled jobs to green energy hardware automatically, without any application changes needed. To turn on Green Compute today, signup for our beta.
Real world use
If you haven’t ever had the pleasure of writing a cron job yourself, you might be wondering — what do you use scheduled compute for anyway?
There are a wide range of periodic maintenance tasks necessary to power any application. In my working life, I’ve built a scheduled job that ran every minute to monitor the availability of the system I was responsible for, texting me if any service was unavailable. In another instance, a job ran every five mins, keeping the core database and search feature in sync by pulling all new application data, transforming it, then inserting into a search database. In yet another example, a periodic job ran every half hour to iterate over all user sessions and cleanup sessions that were no longer active.
Scheduled jobs are the backbone of real world systems. Now, with Green Compute on Cloudflare Workers all these real world systems and their computationally expensive background maintenance tasks, can take advantage of running compute exclusively on machines powered by renewable energy.
The Green Network
Our mission at Cloudflare is to help you tackle your sustainability goals. Today, with the launch of the Carbon Impact Report we gave you visibility into your environmental impact. The collaboration with the Green Web Foundation gave green hosting certification for Cloudflare Pages. And our launch of Green Compute on Cloudflare Workers allows you to exclusively run on hardware powered by renewable energy. And the best part? No additional system complexity is required for any of the above.
Cloudflare is focused on making it easy to hit your ambitious goals. We are just getting started.