Technology is constantly evolving as the needs and demands of both merchants and consumers change. As a result, anyone doing business online is now facing challenges that most people didn’t even think about a few years ago.
Speed is one issue that’s moved to the forefront as all types of consumers now demand a virtually instantaneous response from websites. At the same time, any business with employees needing instant access from anywhere is always exploring new ways to enhance overall productivity.
That’s where Amazon’s CloudFront comes into play. Amazon CloudFront is a content delivery network designed to provide users with improved performance and convenience. All CDNs provide some level of performance upgrades, but CloudFront includes the added convenience of integrating seamlessly with all AWS features.
For users, that means it’s simple to achieve a variety of operational objectives when using AWS Shield, Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, and even Lambda@Edge. If you’re looking for a strategy that allows ways to set up a content delivery network quickly and efficiently, CloudFront and the other AWS tools currently available are certainly going to be options to consider. Let’s explore some associated benefits of doing so as well as a few techniques to get started.
Benefits You’ll Enjoy Immediately
First, Amazon is currently using 216 points of presence that eliminate the latency issues plaguing many end users. In everyday language, that means information is available to your company’s end users almost immediately by eliminating network hops that slow down normal traffic.
How is that accomplished? It’s not really complicated, but it’s a little difficult to comprehend how large volumes of information can be easily moved anywhere in the world with no real input required by the data source. With servers located around the world, CloudFront moves the information from a source (your company) to an end user without having to pass through multiple network hops.
It’s also important to understand the data being transmitted can be either static or dynamic, which adds another level of flexibility to an organization’s communications with users. Having the ability to transfer dynamic data rapidly is extremely important for many organizations, and that need is likely to grow as technology evolves.
Next, Amazon highlights how programmable CloudFront is. Since every company’s needs will be somewhat different, it pays to work with a system that, by its very nature, makes it easier to customize the ways data is moved. With that highly touted 216 points of presence, choosing the ones closest to your end users is simplified. When you opt to use CloudFront, integrating a variety of tools makes the process easier and faster for everyone.
Security is always an issue, and companies face risks when any type of data is being transferred from one location to another. CloudFront is promoted as being a highly secured content delivery network. A company’s traffic is protected at both network and application levels, which allows all users to rest a little easier. Amazon employs built-in AWS Shield Standard as an integral part of the package.
Amazon CloudFront’s integration with other AWS services can’t be emphasized enough. Since the entire system is designed to function as a whole rather than individual components, users have access to services like Elastic Load Balancing, AWS Elemental Media Services, Amazon S3, and Amazon EC2. Amazon’s management console is used to meld the various components and create a customized experience for users.
So, how is the overall performance of Amazon CloudFront? As noted earlier, website owners are able to send or receive both static and dynamic content, as the service is designed to make sure all types of data are transferred at high speeds. Latency isn’t an issue, as the large network makes moving all types of data efficiently.
Amazon CloudFront supports the WebSocket protocol in addition to HTTP methods like GET, PATCH, HEAD, POST, DELETE, OPTIONS, and PUT. Those measures are important to users with sites using response options like web forms or comment and login boxes. Amazon also provides options for cache retention to store objects, which means users don’t wait as long for responses.
Overall performance isn’t always easy to quantify, as there are several variables to consider when choosing a CDN. Companies report varied results in different parts of the world, and even the number and types of visitors a site receives will impact performance levels. In most instances, it will pay to monitor cost/benefit ratios to determine whether a specific CDN is delivering the performance your end users demand. However, with the number of points of presence available, Amazon CloudFront is bound to be a primary competitor in virtually every region.
Controlling Expenses is Easy
With CloudFront, there is no minimum fee. The basic option provides a pay-as-you-go pricing option, which makes it relatively simple to track expenses and control how your budget is allocated. If you’re planning to use specific amounts of traffic, Amazon also has other pricing options available.
If you’re comparing CloudFront to other providers, keep in mind that one of the advantages of using CloudFront is no-charge data transfer between AWS’s various cloud services. That means you won’t be paying to move data between, for example, CloudFront and Amazon S3 or Elastic Load Balancing. You can easily find more information on this in Amazon’s developer guide.
Using Amazon CloudFront
Many companies are intimidated by setting up CloudFront, but the actual process isn’t that complicated. However, to fine-tune the services will take time. If time is a problem, providers like Business Cloud Deals are available to handle the chores and ensure the various features are efficiently utilized.
If you’re up to a minor challenge, here are the steps needed to get started. While there are only three basic steps, there are other sub-steps needed to successfully activate and use CloudFront.
- First, sign up with Amazon CloudFront. That’s easy and will allow users to experiment with the free tier to determine if the service is the best fit for your organization. While the free tier may not be adequate for your company’s long-term requirements, subscribing makes it easy to see how the platform works. The free tier includes 50GB of transfer out as well as 2,000,000 HTTP and HTTPS requests.
- Second, review the tutorial provided by Amazon to learn how the process works. The information is basic but is sufficient to get you started. Again, if you’ve got questions or don’t understand the requirements, it pays to work with a professional to set up the services.
- Third, once you’ve completed the tutorial, you’ll move to the Getting Started Guide to finish the initial setup process. Here, it’s important to ask questions rather than making fundamental mistakes, but there is nothing included that should be beyond someone with moderate computer skills.
One way to avoid initial setup errors is to review the information at Getting Started With Amazon CloudFront. The instructions clarify many questions and provide great tips for setting up simple CloudFront distribution options.
Explore the Uses of AWS CloudFront for Your Business Model
Remember the way people and organizations use online services is rapidly evolving. One of the benefits of using a CDN is that the services are easily tailored to meet changing needs and demands. However, CloudFront also speeds up communications today, which is a primary concern of all companies doing business online.
As noted earlier, speeding up the transfer of content is crucial, as doing so keeps end users happy and improves overall efficiency for companies. CloudFront helps with that need by dramatically speeding up the delivery of static content that cached.
That means your data is moved seamlessly to end users in just about any part of the world. If you don’t need fast services to specific regions, you can specify which ones will not be needed. That keeps costs down while, at the same time, minimizing latency to regions where your core demographic groups are centered. CloudFront offers numerous regional edge caches that function to reduce that latency and keep end users happy.
Video streaming is a mainstay for most businesses today. Both live and on-demand streaming options are available for CloudFront users, with 4k speeds now the norm. To get the best results from your videos, it pays to review the media streaming tutorials Amazon provides.
If you routinely deliver software updates to clients, CloudFront provides a great way to move software and updates quickly. In the past, end users frequently experienced issues with software and update downloads that didn’t perform properly. Using a CDN like CloudFront speeds up the download process for end users and eliminates many of the glitches experienced in the past.
Get Started Now
Rather than delay your company’s move to a CDN, take the time now to discuss the available options with an expert to determine if CloudFront will, indeed, meet the needs of your company.
Getting your questions answered will make the decision-making process easy, as service providers like Business Cloud Deals have the knowledge and experience to provide the information you need and craft customized solutions designed to boost your organization’s overall productivity and profits.