San Francisco, CA, September 27, 2023 – Cloudflare, Inc. (NYSE: NET), the leading connectivity cloud company, today announced that it is collaborating with Microsoft to make it easier for companies to run AI in the location most suitable for their needs. As inference tasks become more and more distributed, this collaboration will enable businesses to seamlessly deploy AI models across a computing continuum that spans device, network edge, and cloud environments – maximizing the benefits of both centralized and distributed computing models. By leveraging ONNX Runtime across these three tiers, Cloudflare and Microsoft can ensure that AI models can be run wherever processing makes the most sense across this three-tier architecture – from the hyperscale cloud to the hyper-distributed network edge to devices themselves – that best addresses the bandwidth, latency, connectivity, processing, battery/energy, and data sovereignty and localization demands of a given application or service.
AI model training requires significant computational and storage resources in close proximity to one another, making centralized cloud platforms the best environment for the intensive calculations needed in model training. While training will continue to be centralized, inference tasks will be increasingly performed in more distributed locations, specifically on devices themselves and on edge networks. For example, some inference tasks (e.g., an autonomous vehicle braking at the sight of a pedestrian) will run on the physical device for the lowest possible latency. However, to navigate device limitations such as compute, storage, and battery power, more and more tasks will need to run on edge networks. Edge networks – close geographical proximity to end users and devices – will provide an optimal balance of computational resources, speed, and data privacy. Some applications may require moving through three tiers of this computing continuum, with device, edge network, and cloud environments working together to bring the best experience to the end user.
“Together, Cloudflare and Microsoft will build the railroad tracks that AI traffic and tasks will move on, to tailor AI inference to the exact needs and demands of every organization,” said Matthew Prince, CEO and co-founder, Cloudflare. “Whether you’re looking for speed or accuracy, dealing with energy or connectivity bandwidth challenges, or complying with regional localization requirements, Cloudflare and Microsoft can help you find the best location for your AI tasks.”
“As companies explore the best way to harness the power of generative AI in unique ways to meet their needs, the ability to run AI models anywhere is paramount,” said Rashmi Misra, GM of Data, AI, & Emerging Technologies at Microsoft. “With Cloudflare’s global network, combined with Microsoft’s experience in training and deploying the world’s most advanced AI workloads through our Azure cloud, businesses will gain access to a new level of flexibility and performance for AI inference.”
Together, Cloudflare and Microsoft will collaborate to make it easy for companies to run AI in the place most suitable for the workload. There are two pieces to making this happen:
Businesses want to be able to move inference tasks across this continuum of device, edge network, and cloud, depending on the performance, cost, and regulatory requirements they face. Microsoft’s AI capabilities and hyperscale cloud infrastructure combined with Cloudflare’s hyper-distributed edge network will empower businesses to drive innovation and efficiency across the entire AI lifecycle. As a result, businesses will be able to:
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Cloudflare, Inc. (NYSE: NET) is the leading connectivity cloud company. It empowers organizations to make their employees, applications and networks faster and more secure everywhere, while reducing complexity and cost. Cloudflare’s connectivity cloud delivers the most full-featured, unified platform of cloud-native products and developer tools, so any organization can gain the control they need to work, develop, and accelerate their business.
Powered by one of the world’s largest and most interconnected networks, Cloudflare blocks billions of threats online for its customers every day. It is trusted by millions of organizations – from the largest brands to entrepreneurs and small businesses to nonprofits, humanitarian groups, and governments across the globe.
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