Amazon Gives CloudFront A Boost, Touts Faster And Better Website Performance


Amazon Web Services updated its CloudFront content delivery network service Wednesday with features it claims will speed performance of the websites customers are running on its public cloud.

Since many enterprise technology startups and vendors run their businesses on AWS, the CloudFront improvements could have a far-reaching effect.

AWS is now allowing customers to set up their CloudFront distributions with support for five additional HTTP methods: POST, PUT, DELETE, OPTIONS and PATCH. This has been the No. 1 feature request from CloudFront customers, Jeff Barr, chief evangelist at AWS, said in a blog post.

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"Up until today, you could use CloudFront to efficiently distribute content from the 'center' (the static or dynamic origin) out to the edges, where the customers are located," Barr said in the blog post.

CloudFront will also "accelerate the transfer of information from the end-user back to the origin," Barr said in the blog post.

Previously, AWS customers had to create and manage multiple CloudFront distributions or domain names to accept POST or PUT requests, which are used in HTML forms and to accept data input from users. Now, customers can do this with a single CloudFront distribution, Barr said in the blog post.

Kris Bliesner, CEO at 2nd Watch, a Seattle-based AWS consulting partner, says the new CloudFront features will allow for faster deployments of CDN and edge caching technology for businesses.

"This implementation supports a very seamless addition to existing websites looking for bolt-on speed increases," Bliesner said in an email.

Visitors to AWS customers' websites will also see faster performance when uploading content, according to Barr.

"After you enable the additional HTTP methods for your application's distribution, PUT and POST operations will be sent to the origin (e.g. Amazon S3) via the CloudFront edge location, improving efficiency, reducing latency, and allowing the application to benefit from the monitored, persistent connections that CloudFront maintains from the edge locations to the origin servers," Barr said in the blog post.

AWS has edge cache locations worldwide, with 18 locations in the U.S., 12 in Europe, 11 in Asia and one in South America, and Bliesner said this list has grown over time as AWS has continued to invest in network infrastructure.

"The good news here is that as AWS continues to grow more edge locations, that results in faster access points for businesses hosting websites on AWS," Bliesner told CRN.

CloudFront began as a way to deliver images and other kinds of static files, but over time, it has expanded to include dynamic content as well, such as video streaming. This has helped companies like Netflix build thriving businesses on the AWS cloud, and the latest improvements could be enticing to other content vendors.

PUBLISHED OCT. 17, 2013

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