Amazon CloudFront

update : October 18th, 2011
Amazon CloudFront is a web service for content delivery. It integrates with other Amazon Web Services (mainly Amazon S3) to give developers and businesses an easy way to distribute content to end users with low latency, high data transfer speeds, and no commitments.

Amazon CloudFront delivers the content using a global network of edge locations. Requests for  objects are automatically routed to the nearest edge location, so content is delivered with the best possible performance. Amazon CloudFront works seamlessly with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) which durably stores the original, definitive versions of the files.

In Amazon CloudFront, objects are organized into distributions. A distribution specifies the location of the original version of the objects. A distribution has a unique domain name  that  can be used to reference an objects through the network of edge locations. It’s also possible to map an own domain name to a distribution.

Amazon CloudFront is

  • fast
  • simple
  • cost-effective
  • elastic
  • reliable
  • global
  • designed for use with other Amazon Web Services

The price depends on the edge location and the volume transferred. The mean price per GB for low volumes is about 0,2$, for high volumes about 0,1$. A simple monthly AWS bill calculator is provided by Amazon. Normal fees will apply for Amazon S3 usage, including “origin fetches” – data transferred from Amazon S3 to edge locations.

The edge locations in Europe are:

  • Amsterdam
  • Dublin
  • Frankfurt
  • London

Amazon CloudFront is designed for delivery of objects that are frequently accessed – “popular” objects. Objects that aren’t accessed frequently are less likely to remain in CloudFront’s edge locations’ caches. Thus, for less popular objects, delivery out of Amazon S3 (rather than from CloudFront) is the better choice. Amazon S3 will provide strong distribution performance for these objects, and serving them directly from Amazon S3 saves the cost of continually copying less popular objects from Amazon S3 to the edge locations in CloudFront.

I activated my Cloudfront account on November 1st, 2010.

A recent tutorial how to install Amazon CloudFront has been posted by Michael Tieso on the website “Art of Travel Blogging”.