Today, we are excited to announce that Cloudflare customers can choose Microsoft Azure with a lower cost data transfer solution via the Microsoft Routing Preference service. Mutual customers can benefit from lower cost and predictable performance across our interconnected networks. Microsoft Azure has developed a seamless process to allow customers to choose this cost optimized routing solution. We have customers using this new integration today and are excited to make this generally available to all our customers and prospects.
The power of interconnected networks
So how are we able to enable this great solution for our customers? The answer lies in our globally interconnected network.
Cloudflare is one of the most interconnected networks in the world, peering with over 9,500 networks globally, including major ISPs, cloud providers, and enterprises. We currently interconnect with Azure through private or public peering across all major regions — including private interconnections at key locations (see below).
Private Network Interconnects typically occur within the same facility through a fiber optic cable between routers for the two networks; peered connections occur at Internet exchanges offering high performance and availability. We are actively working on expanding on this interconnectivity between Azure and Cloudflare for our customers.
In addition to the private interconnections, we also have five Internet exchanges with private peering, and over 108 public peering links with Azure
Wondering what this really means? Let’s look at an example. Say an Internet visitor is in Sydney and requests content from an origin that's hosted in an Azure location in Chicago. When the visitor makes a request, Cloudflare automatically carries it to the Cloudflare data center in Sydney. The traffic is then routed over Cloudflare’s network all the way to Chicago where the origin is hosted on Azure. The request is then handed over to an Azure data center over our private interconnections.
On the way back (egress path), the request is handed over from Azure network to Cloudflare at the origin in Chicago via our private interconnection (without involving any ISP). Then it’s carried entirely over the Cloudflare network to Sydney and back to the visitor.
Why does the Internet need this?
Customer choice. That’s an important ingredient to help build a better Internet for our customers — free of vendor lock-in, and with open Internet standards. We’ve worked with the Azure team to enable this interconnectivity, giving the customers the flexibility to choose multiple best-of-breed products without having to worry about high data transfer costs.
What is even more exciting is working with Microsoft, a company that shares our philosophy of promoting customer flexibility and helping customers resist vendor lock-in:
“Microsoft Azure is committed to offering services that make it easy to use offerings from industry leaders like Cloudflare - enabling choice to address customer’s business need."
- Jeff Cohen, Partner Group Program Manager for Azure Networking.
Easy for customers to get started
Cloudflare customers now have the option to leverage Azure routing preference and as a result use both platforms for their respective features and services offering the most secure and performant solution.
Most importantly customers can avail of this lower cost solution with just three simple steps.
Step 1: Choose Internet routing on your Azure dashboard for origin in Azure storage:
Step 2: Enable Internet routing on your Firewall and virtual network tab:
Step 3: Enter your updated endpoint urls from Azure into your Cloudflare dashboard:
Once enabled, the discounting is automatic and ongoing from the next monthly bill. Further details on the discounted rates can be found in Azure’s Bandwidth pricing.
A number of customers are already enjoying these benefits:
“Enabling cost-optimized egress by Cloudflare and Azure via Routing Preference from the Azure dashboard has been very smooth for us with minimal effort. Cloudflare was proactive in reaching out with its customer-centric approach."
- Joakim Jamte, Engineering Manager, Bannerflow
"Before taking advantage of the Routing Preference by Azure via Cloudflare, Egress fees were one of the key reasons that restricted us from having more multi-cloud solutions since it can be high and unpredictable at times as the traffic scales. Enabling Routing Preference on the Azure dashboard was quick and easy. It was a one-and-done effort and we get discounted Egress rates on every Azure bill.”
- Darin MacRae, Chief Architect / Cloud Computing, MyRadar.com
"Along with Cloudflare's excellent security features and high performing CDN, the data transfer rates from Azure's Routing Preference enabled by Cloudflare make the offer very compelling. Enabling and receiving the discount was very easy and helped us optimize our investment without any effort.”
- Arthur Roodenburg, CIO, Act-3D B.V.
We’re pleased today to offer this benefit to all Cloudflare customers. If you are interested in taking advantage of Routing Preference please reach out.