Home Cloud Amazon Web Services AWS CloudFront: Whether you should use it or not?

AWS CloudFront: Whether you should use it or not?

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Amazon CloudFront is a Content Delivery Network (CDN) offered by leading cloud service provider AWS to deliver data, videos, applications from providers to consumers as quickly as possible. It is an easy and cost-effective way to distribute content with high data transfer speed. Before moving further on CloudFront, first we have to understand What CDN is and what is its role.

So CDN, Content delivery network is a geographically distributed group of servers and their data centres with aim to provide speedy delivery of content. Contents which are to be delivered can be of any type like texts, graphics, scripts, media files, software, documents, and applications. Servers and data centres are globally distributed to reduce distance between users and website resources. CDN lets user connect to data centres which is geographically closer to them, it means lesser the distance faster the service.

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Features of CloudFront –

1. Complete security to the content

Amazon CloudFront is highly secured Content Delivery Network which provides network and application-level protection. The infrastructure and processes are designed to meet the standards and rules of HIPPA, DSS, and PCI to confirm secure delivery of your most sensitive information. A variety of built-in applications such as AWS shield Standard that assist to defend your content from a lot of refined threats.

2. Highly Programmable And DevOps friendly

It is a highly programmable CDN. With Lambda@Edge, users can simply run the code across global AWS edge locations, allowing the user to move even complex application logic closer to end-users to improve responsiveness. CDN also supports automation interfaces for today’s DevOps and CI/CD environment.

3. Geographically located

It is a massively scaled and globally distributed CDN. With 216 points of presence, CloudFront offers highly resilient Amazon network backbone for superior performance and availability for your end-users.

4. Economical

With CloudFront, Users can distribute content in a cost-effective way. There is a pay-per-use type policy and requiring no long-term commitment or minimum fees.

5. Deep integration with other AWS services

Amazon CloudFront is deeply integrated with key AWS services like Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, Amazon Elastic load balancing to assist speed up DNS resolution of the application delivered by CloudFront. Integration with Amazon API gateway helps user to additionally accelerate the delivery of APIs.

Working Of Amazon CloudFront

As we know that CloudFront is a CDN so its working is same as other CDN available in market. Servers nearest to website respond visitors. The CloudFront copies the page of websites to a network of servers that are deployed globally at different locations, caching the content of the page. When a user requests a webpage, the CloudFront redirects the request from originating sites server to server in CloudFront that is closest to the user and delivers the cached content. For files that were not cached at edge locations, CloudFront keeps communicating to your origin servers so that those files can be fetched from origin servers as quickly as possible.

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CloudFront Use Cases

Using CloudFront, you can get a variety of things. Some of the benefits of using CloudFront are as follow-

  • Accelerate website content delivery CloudFront helps to speed-up the delivery of web content across the globe. By taking advantage of AWS network backbone and CloudFront Edge server while using CloudFront, you can give your viewers safe, fast and reliable experience.
  • Serve on-demand or Live streaming video CloudFront offers option for streaming your media both pre-recorded and live events to global viewers.
  • Serve private content By using Lambda@Edge, you can configure your CloudFront distribution to serve private content from your own custom origin.
  • Customize at the Edge Running serverless code at the edge opens-up doors of possibilities for customizing the content. Using Lambda@Edge with CloudFront enables a number of ways to customize the content that CloudFront delivers.
  • API Acceleration Amazon CloudFront is helpful to secure and accelerate API calls. CloudFront supports proxy ways like POST PUT, OPTIONS, DELETE and PATCH and already integrate with Amazon API entranceway by default.
  • Software Distribution You can make your software available right at edge where your users are via CloudFront. Its high data transfer rate accelerates the deliveries of your binaries.

Alternatives of AWS CloudFront

CDN is a service provided by many cloud service providers. As AWS is trusted cloud service provider but it is not only one who provides such service. One of its competitors, Microsoft Azure is also in market with such service. For differences, you can go through following table-

Services Amazon CloudFront Azure CDN
Provider Amazon Microsoft
No. of PoP 216 130
Pricing Pay per use Pay per use
Pre-Requisite Sign Up or Create Free account Azure subscription is needed
Customers Spotify, Pinterest, Netflix, Airbnb, WIX NORAD, Agreeya Mobility, Adobe, MAERSK
Geo access control Yes Yes
HTTP/2 support Yes Yes
HTTP support Yes Yes
Integration Can be integrated with key AWS services without any additional cost Integrated with azure services including web apps, Media services, storage.
Large file optimization Yes Yes
Video streaming optimization Yes Yes
Management Of CDN Manage via AWS Management console Management via REST, API, .NET, Node.js and PowerShell
Field-level encryption Yes Yes
SSL/TLS encryption support Yes Yes
Multiple CDNs No Yes

Conclusion

So, you can get started with the content delivery model in minutes by using the same AWS tools which you are already familiar with such as API, AWS management console, CLIs, & SDKs. Amazon’s CDN offers a simple and pay as you go pricing with no upfront fees or no
long-term contracts, and support for CDN is included in your existing AWS
support subscription.

Cloud Evangelist
Cloud Evangelist
Cloud Evangelists are CMI's in house ambassadors for the entire Cloud ecosystem. They are responsible for propagating the doctrine of cloud computing and help community members make informed decisions.

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