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Practically Speaking About Cloud Computing: CDN and Amazon CloudFront

Practically Speaking About Cloud Computing:

CDN and Amazon CloudFront:

High performance websites need efficient content delivery networks. A content delivery network or content distribution network (CDN) is a collection of servers distributed across various geo-graphical locations. The distribution of the web servers in the network makes it accessible from nearest point with lesser hops. The server with quick reach is chosen to deliver the content. Akamai and Limelight are leaders in providing Content Delivery Network services to global high performance rich media content websites. Amazon CloudFront is an innovative offering by Amazon Web Services in this space. Tightly coupled with Amazon S3 service, Amazon CloudFront offers a truly world class web service content delivery that is easy and affordable; not only for large enterprises but also to the SMBs.

Amazon CloudFront Concept:

The concept of CDN, simply explained, is that the original object is distributed through edge servers available in proximity location. The typical object may include web pages, images, videos or anything that can be served through HTTP or if it is video streaming with RTMP – Real Time Messaging Protocol. Object is stored in Origin Server. With Amazon CloudFront this is in S3 Storage bucket. Refer CloudTweaks earlier blog post on S3. Once the object is stored in S3 bucket, we create the distribution with CloudFront service. An edge location is a geographically spread Amazon site nearest to the web user. This edge location catches the object stored in Origin Server and delivers to the user. Amazon CloudFront service manages the distribution efficiently.

How the Above Services Are Priced?

1. Storage: For storing the objects in S3, We pay the normal S3 Storage charges.
2. Data Transfer: Additionally, we get the S3 GET Requests and Data Transfer Out charges.
3. Serving from Edge Location: CloudFront charges for requests and data transfer out.

Video Sharing:

The share of video is ever increasing in the web. In one of the reports presented by Limelight Networks, a leading CDN provider, in this month, the share of video has surpassed 51% of total internet traffic. Among the internet users’ video is becoming the preferred web content. Amazon CloudFront can be used to stream on demand video files. It uses Adobe Flash Media Server 3.5 to steam on demand video content with RTMP Real Time Messaging Protocol. Also, supports, dynamic streaming, with the ability to switch between different quality streams while playback.

Private Content Delivery:

Private content distribution is possible with CloudFront. We can restrict the access to our content to paid users. This distribution can be done in any one of the two ways:
• Securing the object in the S3 bucket itself, so that the end users have access only through CloudFront.
• By giving special URLs to end users. The URLs contain the restriction of private content.

CloudFront Access Logs:

Amazon CloudFront provides with optional log files containing the information about end user usage. This is an option. There is no extra charge for enabling this option of access logging.


It is no secret that cloud based content delivery network goes with an attractive pay as you go option. Even among the cloud CDN services, Amazon works out cheaper because of its integrated service offerings. The Streaming lists Amazon CloudFront as the 2010 Editor’s picks first choice. For those who need a simple and effective content delivery service at affordable cost, Amazon CloudFront stands as one of the best choice

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Glenn Blake

Glenn Blake is a writer for CloudTweaks and has been writing about technology trends for over 25 years.
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