Cloudflare TV

Yesterday, Today on the Cloudflare Community

Presented by Tim Cloonan
Originally aired on 

A fast paced look at Cloudflare Community activity, a deep dive into the hot issues from yesterday -- and related CommunityTips and tutorials. Featuring an interactive troubleshooting session led by a Community MVP.

Original Airdate: August 14, 2020


Transcript (Beta)

Welcome to Yesterday Today on the Cloudflare community. I'm your host, Tim Cloonan.

If you'd like to know more about the Cloudflare community, join us every Friday for a new edition of Yesterday Today.

Each week, we start by taking a look at the summary of popular topics and site traffic from last week with this community day and the community traffic report at 10am Pacific.

That's followed by a review of top community issues from last week, the ever informative using the community tip, occasional interviews with community MVPs, Cloudflare employees and partners.

And every week we feature in class with Cloudflare where we learn a few things from the community and we put them to good use in a Yesterday Today community tip.

You can access that via the short link that we're going to share in a moment.

Turning to the traffic report. Last week, we saw very subtle shifts in the traffic and that's the first time that we're seeing that on this show.

Overall community traffic was down just slightly versus the prior week, but with new posts up just slightly.

With new topics materially up over the prior week. This means that there were slightly less conversation about a whole lot more things.

The number of new customers joining the community last week was flat week over week, but remains up for the year.

For this community day last week, the top three searches on the community were regarding 1016 errors, followed by searches for subdomain setup and the SSL error no cipher overlap that shows in Mozilla when defects occur with the site certificate.

In another first for the show, the most popular categories for discussion on the community last week did not change over the previous week.

The top category was security, again with questions about the WAF leading the discussion.

Activity in the security category was followed by the second most active category of DNS and network with questions about name servers leading that category.

Next was the performance category again with questions about cache.

And that leads us to our top story today. This morning on yesterday, today on the Cloudflare community, we continue with the theme that we started last week when Ricardo Mendoza from Pantacore was showing the Pantahub One, the open source project with 1.1 and Warp on the Raspberry Pi.

This week, we're going to look at how one company uses the Pi, that company is Cloudflare.

We're going to be joined by Nereo Amuso, who is Cloudflare customer support manager based in Singapore.

Before we dig in, we're going to reference throughout the show, we're going to reference a series of links and other assets.

I want to invite you to join the discussion, either by emailing into the show at livestudio at, or hit the email to the show button on Cloudflare TV, and we'll take your questions live online.

Now, it's on with the show.

I'm joined this week by Nereo Amuso of Cloudflare. Nereo, I know it's early in Singapore and welcome to Yesterday Today.

I really appreciate you taking time out.

Thanks, Sam. Yeah, it's about one o'clock in the morning and I really wouldn't miss a chance to talk about community or participate in this in some way.

The reason is I think it's such an amazing place for people all over the world, thousands and thousands of people to learn new things as well as be creative and help each other.

It's great to have you here and great to be here. Fantastic. Welcome.

I really appreciate it. As we were starting to put together this series around the Raspberry Pi, I think it was actually, there were two driving factors that kicked it off.

One was I had been setting up a number of pies for some personal projects and was quite intrigued and kind of enjoyed, remember how much I had enjoyed working with them in the past.

And so that was my initial interest. And then I remember reading your blog post.

I went back to that Maker Flare post and read it.

And quite frankly, if I were to describe the feeling, it was like I had picked up a lonely planet guide for a place I hadn't been and I wanted to go there.

Tell me what was the impetus for the post? Okay. Yeah, absolutely. So I'll go back.

I actually started off many, many years ago going back to the early nineties and I've always had a knack for tinkering with things, playing with things.

It goes back to high school when an electronics teacher of mine at the time had a huge pile of electronic junk in the back of the room, in the classroom.

And he would make us go there, ask us to find some components that we didn't really know what it was, but we were interested in learning how it worked.

And we'd carefully unsolder it and bring it back and then look into it through a magnifying glass and then call the number, call the manufacturer on a pay phone, call the 800 number on a pay phone in the front of school and ask for schematics and a catalog.

And two weeks later that would show up and we would get a chance to build stuff with these components and put them together and build something useful.

And fast forward now to about a year ago and I just left my previous place of employment after 15 years and I had a chance to join Cloudflare.

And I knew about the technology, I knew about Cloudflare, but I didn't have a chance to get dirty and hands-on with things.

And of course I could just spin up a VM on my laptop and then start building things.

But I thought maybe there's a better way and maybe it goes back to my childhood, I guess, and tinkering.

And so that's where I picked up one of these Raspberry Pis.

Actually, it was this one. And I have a little Cloudflare sticker on it as well.

And I started learning how to use all their products and I learned two cool things.

And the first thing is it got me back into tinkering with things.

And the second thing is that it made me realize that even with something so small, with Cloudflare behind it and helping, you can stand up something really robust and really powerful and it fits in your hand basically.

And so I built it up and as I was learning about all the various Cloudflare features such as Argo Tunnel, Access, Load Balancing, I started writing about it and documenting everything that I learned.

And I thought that would be a great thing to put online and have available for anybody who's interested in Cloudflare products and learning about Cloudflare to go through as a record.

So yeah, that's where it all began.

Well, that's fantastic. So it really is. I mean, it is the guidebook, which I think is fantastic.

So where did this take us to today?

I mean, how are you using Pis today? We have Cloudflare stickers that are on the Pi.

Is that for show? What are we doing? There's quite a lot actually. So I do use it personally to do a lot of prototyping if there's an idea that I have that I want to see in terms of gathering metrics and then manipulating them to give me usable data or visualize data and things like that.

Of course, we have our own internal systems, but it's sometimes easier and it frees you to play around beyond the constraints of a production system.

So I would offload the data onto the Pi and play around and visualize and build things, basically prototyping.

And another thing we do quite a bit is that we ship these little Pis around to sometimes somebody's parents' home in a different country on a different network.

And we use them then to test connectivity to Cloudflare POPs to troubleshoot things because I'm part of support.

And so it's useful to have these devices around to test stuff all over.

Oh, that's fantastic. I know that you had mentioned about using the Pi as a bootcamp or a training ground for new folks joining the company.

And this is a topic that's near and dear to our heart as Cloudflare grows, bringing in the talent that we have.

How is this complementing that effort? Yeah, absolutely.

So yes, of course, you can easily spin up a virtual machine and do all your learning that way.

However, I do like to get each new starter one of these and just to spark their creativity and spark their curiosity into saying, oh, let me see what I can do with this.

And I think having something in your hands, something tactile goes much further than just clicking a button and spinning up a VM.

So we do give Pis to new hires. We also allow them to do whatever they want with it.

And it's part of their onboarding. And in some instances, Maker Flare has been used in the past, and it's still being used to help onboard people to help them learn and go through their course material before they join us.

For example, there's people in Brazil who are not able to join us because of the COVID situation.

So while they're waiting, they get a chance to go through the blog and try their own version of Maker Flare and build something from scratch as well as learn our products.

So we do have a lot of Pis floating around here and a lot of it used for learning and onboarding.

That is fantastic. I'm intrigued by the hardware -software combination.

And when I had introduced this series, I had said, we're talking about the Cloudflare network.

It's difficult to conceptualize the power of it.

As soon as you try to begin to understand, it seems like it just keeps on getting more complex.

And when I had introduced it, I was tossing around a Pi and saying, this is something you can actually hold in your hand.

What is it about that physicality of the device and the gadget that starts to unlock things for people?

Yeah, absolutely. Nowadays, I think a lot of people start with the software part.

They start coding in JavaScript, in Python, et cetera, and they work their way up.

But when we were starting out a long time ago, it was more about the hardware part of it and getting the basics for electronics in place first and then building on that with the software.

So it's almost like it's flipped around now.

And I still have these little hardware devices. This is an Arduino here. And to be able to interact with this Arduino with different sensors, like this is a GPS sensor.

This guy is a clock. This guy is a little laser that gets fired out from this chip and returns to measure distance.

This thing is an NFC, like a card reader.

So you can actually – and motors as well, a server motor. You have a camera over here, a small little camera.

And you can interact with all these different sensors on a small device, such as an Arduino, which is very power efficient, all the way to these pins over here on a Raspberry Pi.

And being able to control things in real space with software and one of these devices is quite liberating.

And you can see your code come to life almost, not just on a screen, but with interacting with the real world with sensors like this.

So the Raspberry Pi has a very cool way of doing that.

So now if you were to start plugging stuff in to your laptop or et cetera, essentially you get scared.

It's like, okay, what if something goes wrong?

Or what if I try something, et cetera. You don't have to worry about those things.

And the schematics are very easy to decipher and you can do all sorts of things by connecting different things to these pins.

And then of course you have Linux.

It's just on Linux and you can have Python. You can have anything that runs on Linux practically is available to you.

So it's quite powerful.

Yeah, that's really pretty neat. I mean, we think about just kind of firing up virtual servers or the virtual machines that you had talked about.

And it's interesting, but I do think that the being able to kind of put your hands around it or the touching of it, as you had mentioned, kind of firing up a sensor and seeing a result, all of a sudden it's like, oh, I get that.

Or firing up a sensor, not seeing the result and saying, oh, I've got a problem with my code.

As opposed to trying to look at your code and figure out problems.

It's incredible in terms of the way that it does affect us.

You talked about the sensors. You talked about some different ways that you use Pi.

Tell me about projects that you've done on the Pi.

Yeah. Okay. So there's different stuff. First, any project always starts with an idea and a protoboard like this.

Messy birds nest of wires and all sorts of components and sensors connected to each other.

There's a little screen here. This is the LiDAR chip and this is a microcontroller.

And then it moves on to something that looks like this, which is a bit more stable and it's just a soldering job done on a bunch of protoboards.

I keep these handy everywhere I go. And you can just build your circuit accordingly.

So you can start off building all sorts of cool stuff.

Like this one is a game, a video game. So you write your code for the video game.

This is an accelerometer. So it's like a Wii. It's like a wired Wii that you move around and it controls the cursor or the object or the ball or whatever on your screen.

And you have a little video game system and you can actually plug for this one.

You can unplug it and then you have two of these controllers.

So you can have multiplayer as well. So it's a complete video game built from system built from scratch with gyroscopes and writing my own code for various different games that you can come up with.

And this is something that you can do.

And you can certainly do the same thing with Raspberry Pi as well. And there's other things that we've done here in Cloudflare with different sensors.

Because of Cloudflare, you can actually connect a lot of stuff to Internet of things.

So there's people at work who have all sorts of little devices like humidity sensors, pressure sensors, temperature sensors, et cetera.

And they control everything at home, their entire home, from using these Pis.

And they can monitor things on the Internet on a web portal that's behind Cloudflare.

That's fantastic.

So I mean, the thing that I love about this is that we don't need to have Pis.

On one level, they're fun, which kind of makes us feel guilty for using them because we think that perhaps we're playing instead of working.

But there is that level of understanding that comes in that it doesn't seem that we get when we're firing up things that are virtual.

And it is inexpensive, right? I can create a virtual server, set it up, break it, get rid of it, set up another one.

And it's fairly inexpensive or free or cheap.

And then I have Pis that I can go through and I can set up.

But it seems that level of understanding is much deeper with the Pi. And I do think it's that intersection of physical and software.

And maybe it's just an appreciation.

Is this something that other folks want to follow, right? And they want to read that guidebook.

So it's only for engineers? I mean, I don't have an electronics background.

I work with a bunch of software. But how does that work? Not only for engineers.

Anybody can get started. And I'll give you an example. We had somebody, a young lady who was an art student.

And she wrote into Qualifier and asked if she could do some kind of an internship or a visitorship, where she would come in and watch us because she was interested in transitioning from art into engineering, but didn't know quite what it meant to be an engineer.

And for me, engineering, a lot about building things, not just software, but also hardware as well.

And so I agreed to have a part of my team. And the first day she came in before she walked in, she just found one of these, actually just a bear, not even the case, on her desk.

And I said, okay, now go to, because I had written up the blog by then, and do it, build it, follow it, and learn about how to connect one of these to the Internet and create a blog that you are going to write every day on what further you've learned.

And so she did that. Two days later, she said, oh, I'm done.

I'm like, oh, great. I thought this was going to take you a couple of weeks, but you've done it two days.

And then I said, okay, then the next day I put a different component, one of these things, like something like this, on her desk.

I said, okay, figure out what this is, write some code, make it do things.

And as slowly as each week went by, she picked up not only Linux skills, not only Cloudflare skills, but interacting different components, connecting different components with each other, and creating stuff and writing about it.

So she practiced her writing skills as well, and created a blog. And by the time she was done, she was ready.

And she was really, really interested in transitioning and becoming an engineer.

And a few months later, she wrote to me saying that she got into Imperial College London for engineering, computer engineering.

And that was really, that made me feel very happy to see somebody who came in completely new.

And by the time, just by playing with these recipes and different things, and writing about it, learning how to code, she changed her life.

And so if, you know, anybody can do it. And just have that curiosity, and creativity, and perseverance as well.

I think the, I think that curiosity piece is the, it seems to be the key, right?

Because that'll, that will feed the perseverance.

And it, we talked about this on the show last week, when Ricardo was here from Panticore, we had talked about supporting the efforts.

And the comment that he had made was, he said, you know, there's such a wealth of resources that are available on all aspects of this, that support really comes.

And we didn't draw it to the curiosity.

But, you know, the notion was that the support resources are there.

But it really does seem to be that curiosity, the stick-to-it-ness to go through and find those answers.

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you can, anybody can start off just by browsing sites like Adafruit, or SparkFun, or Seed Studio, or any, any one of those hardware manufacturers, or sell, vendors that sell these components.

And you can just go and just browse through these components, see, see what you're curious about, see, and then start designing something in your head around these things.

And then just pick one of, a Pi Up or a small Arduino, if you're low power, just pick one of these up and learn, and learn how to code, learn how to do electronics and build useful things.

That is, that is incredibly interesting.

How, how else are we using it internally? Where does this go? And I mean, where do we, where do we see this progressing within Cloudflare?

I think, again, it's certainly a tool that actually non-technical people, like even the sales teams, the other teams in Cloudflare that are not, are not purely technical, they can learn a lot about what our technology is by tinkering themselves and, and, and getting a Pi.

A lot of them have come to me and asked me, can I have one? I said, yeah, of course you can have it.

I have a whole stash of them at the office that I just give away, and just, you know, play with it and go, go to, go to the blog and start learning what our products do.

And I think what I can see the light bulb turn on for a lot of people when, when, when they realize that with Cloudflare's help and with something so small, so I think it's our, who sell our products, who use our products to make them aware of what they can do with it.

That's, that's a very, very good use case for, for these things all over Cloudflare.

Yeah, that is, it is a, it's a rather intriguing use of it.

And something I think that probably folks wouldn't expect when they think about Cloudflare.

I mean, if they think about the Cloudflare network, or if they know this episode that was just before our show was talking about workers and the capability of workers is just, I mean, it's astounding, right?

I mean, to get that kind of power at the edge, it doesn't seem like you put workers and pies into the same classification.

They even exist in the same universe is odd.

But yet they're actually complementary pieces of technology. Of course.

And there's, there's lots of use cases for using workers at the end, as well as talking back to a pie to do stuff.

Like with, with sensors, visualizing different graphs for temperature, humidity, etc.

And all that can be offloaded to the edge as well as Yeah, it's just the possibilities are totally limitless, really, with with Cloudflare and these little things.

That's neat. So where, where do we go?

What's next? Where do we where do we take this? Again, I've always thought of these things as being prototype devices to quickly spin up ideas.

And Cloudflare is very big on innovation, and very big on creativity and coming up with really cool stuff that really hasn't been done before building something on top of something better on top of something that already exists.

And we're really good at that.

And I think all that comes from spark and the more sparks that we have within Cloudflare.

And the more inspiration that we have because of these, this curiosity, this creativity, the better it is for all of us working here.

And I think that's that is the future is that for people to unbound themselves from what their daily duties are and try to figure out how to get thinking and ideas and spark little things that that people can do with these things.

It seems like it fuels other aspects, right?

I mean, I think the first notion that you think of is, oh, it's a you have your day job, and then we have pies, and we're playing with those pies.

And certainly, most of my work around the pie is on the weekends, and it's probably on personal projects that are played, that it informs my understanding of that device is good.

Even more so it makes it for me, it makes me curious to, oh, I want to build access and gateway on a pie.

And I want my own little tiny network running pies and pies running gateway and access.

And I want to be able to show and see these in that machine or in that set of machines.

That doesn't seem that doesn't seem odd.

I mean, that seems like it's a natural extension of where I was.

Yeah, I mean, I'll give you a quick example. Just a few weeks ago, we were building a new product, a prototype product.

And I wanted some way to generate like a YML file with all the parameters and all the syntax correctly.

So instead of having people write their own YML file, I just wanted to enter a bunch of parameters and click generate, and it would create the file for you without any errors.

And then you can just put that in a pull request and have it pushed out published in production.

And so we quickly did that. So we wrote something up, we created Docker image, and it's running on a pie somewhere.

And internally, and people who want to who need to create those YML files can just go to an internal website and type in their parameters and generate the files and makes things easier, life easier for everyone.

So it's just, like I said, the possibilities are just limitless what you can do with it internally within the company, also to spark creativity and learning, etc.

I'm fascinated by it. It's one that I'm delighted to see.

I mean, just the novel approach of taking something that is, you know, I mean, today is thought of as a child's toy, right?

Or something for STEM projects to get kids interested.

But it seems like it's for kids of all ages.

It's like, we can all still benefit from this. Yeah, absolutely. I have right here, my little toy box full of components and things that I used to build, whatever I want to build, be it something that interacts with the sensor or all the way to using Docker to spin up images of Linux stuff, and various web servers, databases, scraping things to scrape data from other data sources.

And you can do, you can play, you can work, you can learn everything with these things.

Fantastic. So talk to me for just a second about MakerFlare. Because now we've set the stage, we've seen some commercial products built on a Pi with Cloudflare IP.

We talked about how we're using it internally. Next week, we're going to take a look at gateway running on Pis.

So talk to me about MakerFlare. Now folks want to get started.

Where do they go? Yeah, so you go to MakerFlare, it's actually running on a four node Pi cluster behind using Argo tunnel, using access, using load balancers, of course, a firewall as well.

And you can go to start all the way from part one, there's 12 parts, I believe, part one, all the way to 12.

And as you go through, each post will be about a specific Cloudflare product and technology.

And there's videos, there's exact commands that you need to run in Linux to make things working.

And each post builds on each other. And so towards the end of it, you actually touch on most of our products and also get a chance to create something and yeah, just use Cloudflare to its full potential.

So it is the Lonely Planet guide.

Nereo, thank you. You need to keep coming back on the show. We need to keep learning and follow the progress on this as well.

And unfortunately, that's all we have time for this morning.

But thank you. I really appreciate it.

Thanks for having me on, Tim. Thank you. Alrighty. So that concludes another episode of Yesterday Today on the Cloudflare community.

I'm your host, Tim Clunan.

If you'd like to know more about the Cloudflare community, we encourage you to stop in and visit us at

We'll see you next week at 10am.

And until then, we'll see you on the community. Thank you.