Amazon CloudFront is here….now what?

By Kevin Derman  Chief Executive Officer @ Kaskade.Cloud

Many clients have mentioned to us that they have heard the news (released June 14th 2018) that Amazon CloudFront is now in South Africa and they want to understand what this means to their businesses.

Firstly, it’s important to understand what CloudFront is and what it’s not. It is not a full AWS datacentre. As an example, it does not have the ability to run EC2 instances (that’s AWS’s compute resources) at the edge. So, what exactly does it do then?

Amazon CloudFront is known as a CDN or Content Delivery Network. It brings the data closer to the consumer to provide a better user experience, through lower latency, increased reliability and availability. It does this by regularly caching the content at the local edge location. The duration that the image or data will remain at the edge is configurable and depends on the nature of the content i.e. is it static or dynamic content.

The typical use case for CloudFront is:

  • Static Websites
  • On demand Video (Training videos are a great example)
  • Live Streaming Videos
  • Running Serverless Code at the edge.

This last use case is important, because while there are no EC2 instances available at the edge, there is the ability to run serverless code and therefore provide actionable responses based on data provided.

Another important aspect that not many people realise, is that the source data need not be on AWS. Yes, that’s correct, your source files could be on an on-premise server, in another local datacentre, or even on Azure. This provides many opportunities for companies not currently using AWS to start experiencing the benefits of AWS without even having to migrate their data.

I encourage companies to evaluate the many use cases provided here and to contact us if they feel they can benefit from their customers having a better user experience. How much better, you may ask? AWS expects that customers who use Amazon CloudFront to reach viewers in South Africa will see performance improvements of as much as 75% from reductions in latency for their content. That’s huge.

In addition to reducing latency, these South African Edge locations also bring the full suite of benefits provided by Amazon CloudFront, such as Lambda@Edge, Field Level Encryption, and Amazon S3 Transfer Acceleration, as well as seamless integration with other AWS services like AWS Certificate Manager (ACM), AWS Shield, AWS WAF, AWS Simple Storage Service (S3), and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

Pricing for CloudFront is based on how much data is transferred out to the internet and the amount of HTTP and HTTPS requests. CloudFront can also be used to transfer data back to the origin server, and here you pay for data out to the origin.

To find out if CloudFront is right for you, why not get in touch for a Proof of Concept (POC). There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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