What is AWS CloudFront

Content Delivery Network is one of those important features that customer-facing industries are always looking for. When it comes to Content Delivery the first name that any company trusts is Amazon and hence they rely on Amazon CloudFront.

What is Amazon CloudFront

Amazon CloudFront is a web service provided by Amazon Web Services. CloudFront is an extremely popular CDN or Content Delivery Network often chosen for secure and rapid transfer of different types of content, which includes: Software Development Kits, software, and videos.

CloudFront is widely accepted because of its lightning speed, developer ease and incredible performance. If you wish to deliver content to any part of the globe that can happen through a regional centre located in some business hub.

The service can do wonders for organisations that require high response time and huge files to be transferred. So, CloudFront enables this by storing the data in a server, just once, and after that, the data is simply sent to different CloudFront servers as requested.

What exactly happens is, once the data is stored in an origin server like Amazon EC2 Instance (Elastic Compute Cloud) or Amazon S3 Bucket (Simple Storage Service), it is then pushed to several CloudFront servers whenever there is a request for content.

Now, when you know the basics of Amazon CloudFront, let’s have a look at the features of AmazonCloudFront.

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Features of AWS CloudFront

Fast and Available

The global distribution of Amazon CloudFront CDN enables it to be extremely fast. It has a vast network of over 300 edge locations in 47 countries enabling it to have a top-notch performance with extraordinary availability for its end users.

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Secure

CloudFront provides protection on both application and network-level making its Content Delivery Network remarkably secure. Other than that, it provides protection services like Amazon Shield Standard for further strengthening the security and that too free of cost. 

Deeply Integrated

The integrations in Amazon CloudFront are so well managed that it can be integrated with several AWS services such as Amazon EC2 Instance (Elastic Compute Cloud), Amazon S3 Bucket (Simple Storage Service), and Elastic Load Balancing. Also, there are no charges when the data is transferred between the above AWS Services and CloudFront.

Cost-Effective

The cherry on the cake with Amazon CloudFront is that you have to pay for the content that is delivered through the network. There are no extra or hidden charges that you have to pay before or after the service.

After knowing the features of Amazon CloudFront, let’s have a look at the Process of Content Delivery with AWS CloudFront.

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Process of Content Delivery with AWS CloudFront

There are majorly four steps in the Content Delivery process with AWS CloudFront:

Step 1

First, the users check the website and once they like something, they request for downloading that object in an image format.

Step 2

Once you have requested, the request is routed to the nearest CloudFront edge location by the DNS, so that request can be completed.

Step 3

When the request comes to the edge location, the first thing that CloudFront does is check if the requested object is in the cache. If the file requested is in the cache it delivers it to users, else the following steps are followed:

  • CloudFront transfers the request to the applicable server, after checking the specifications of the requested object. 
  • Then the file or object is sent back to the CloudFront location by the origin servers.
  • Once the above process is complete and CloudFront receives the first byte of the object it begins to transfer it to the user. Not just that, it also stores the object file in the cache, so whenever a similar request comes to the server, it can be completed easily.

Step 4

Now when the object is in cache for a specific duration as provided in the file headers or for a period of 24 hours, there are several things that the AWS CloudFront does:

  • The next request for the object is forwarded to the user to check the updation status of the edge location version. 
  • If the status of the edge location version is successfully updated, it is delivered to the user by CloudFront. 
  • But, if the status is not updated, then the latest version is sent to AWS CloudFront. Also, while the file is delivered to the user, its latest version is now stored at the edge location in the cache.

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Case Studies

To understand Amazon CloudFront’s applicability and credibility even better, let’s have a look at some legit Case Studies.

There are several big names across diverse industry segments that use Amazon CloudFront Content Delivery Network (CDN). Some of those giants with their respective industry segments are:

Media and Entertainment

Prime Video

18 million football fanatics are able to have an excellent streaming experience of Amazon Prime Video because of CloudFront.

Hulu

Hulu is an in-demand American subscription streaming service powered by Amazon CloudFront to deliver Video on Demand services.

Dow Jones

Dow Jones is one of the most popular global news channels that utilises CloudFront to keep improving their readers’ experience.

Discovery Communications

Who doesn’t know the name of Discovery, the giant utilises Amazon CloudFront for its API delivery.

Travel Industry

Htrip

Htrip is a tourism company popular for providing data services for hotels. The platform uses CloudFront to provide a great multimedia transmission experience to its users. Not only has the company improved the experience of its guests but also significantly reduced its original cost.

Enterprise

Canon

In Canon, Amazon CloudFront is used by the Office Imaging Products division that uses the CDN for enhancing user experience.

Gaming

King Digital Entertainment PLC

King.com Limited is a massive video game developer company that has several popular games under its name like Candy Crush Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga, etc. The gaming company uses Amazon CloudFront to deliver smooth gaming content to its huge customer base.

Rovio

Rovio is another gaming giant that owns several popular games like Angry Birds Journey, Angry Birds 2 etc. The company uses several AWS Services like Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, and many more including Amazon CloudFront for its global distribution. CloudFront enables the company to provide an extraordinary user experience while playing games and watching other video content, no matter what the geographic location is.

Supercell

Supercell is a mobile game development company based in Finland that is known for several games like Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, etc. The gaming company uses Amazon ElastiCache, API Gateway, AWS Lambda, and CloudFront for delivering web content across the globe, with the help of edge locations.

Social Media

Slack

Slack is one of those programs that are widely used in workplaces to message or communicate among peers. The platform keeps improving its API security along with its response time with Amazon CloudFront.

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Conclusion

By now you would be well versed with everything you need to know about Amazon CloudFront. In the beginning, we learnt the basics of Amazon CloudFront and continued with the exemplary features of the Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Moving forth, you saw the process of Content Delivery with AWS CloudFront. In that, you learnt about four major steps that are needed for successful content delivery to the end-user from the servers. Finally, to understand the overall Amazon CloudFront even better you saw some industry giants that use CloudFront to provide exemplary Content Delivery.

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Ishan Gaba
Ishan Gaba
Research Analyst
Ishan is an IT graduate who has always been passionate about writing and storytelling. He is a tech-savvy and literary fanatic since his college days. Proficient in Data Science, Cloud Computing, and DevOps he is looking forward to spreading his words to the maximum audience to make them feel the adrenaline he feels when he pens down about the technological advancements. Apart from being tech-savvy and writing technical blogs, he is an entertainment writer, a blogger, and a traveler.