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Amazon Web Services, General

Amazon Steps Up CloudFront, Adds POST Requests – What It Means


Image of Cloud representing a Content Delivery NetworkDevelopers have endured a love/hate relationship with Amazon CloudFront since its inception. If you are interested in mobile content delivery, download distribution, or Netflix then it yielded an extremely low-cost Content Delivery Network (CDN) – for outgoing content distribution only. And even as a web developer for large media-heavy sites you could squeeze some performance benefit from it without writing a giant check to Akamai or other CDN providers. But, it has been a thorn in the side of developers’ wishing to leverage CloudFront on top of a REST API, or as a quick-hit performance fix for slow sites.

Why is this? Many sites simply weren’t designed (I’m not arguing what should be mind you, only what is) so that their media was served from separate sub-domains. More importantly, if your problem was slow server response time from a poorly configured web server then a CDN might appear to be a quick hit performance fix … right up until you realized that Akamai costs an arm and a leg, and Amazon CloudFront couldn’t accept POST requests. That’s right – no forms! With site search, contact forms, event registrations, or Heaven-forbid your entire site is behind a registration or pay-wall, you are stuck either redirecting all of your form actions or disabling them altogether. If you run your own tiny WordPress blog … ehem, cough, cough … then perhaps that isn’t such a big deal but if you run 30 major magazines … ehem, cough, cough … then maybe that wasn’t such a practical solution.

Well I was a few months off of my initial prediction but today I have good news! Amazon CloudFront now supports POST, PUT, DELETE, OPTIONS, and PATCH. This means you can implement your REST APIs with a standard CRUD model behind CloudFront on a single domain, or even use it as a performance stop gap that only takes a few minutes to implement! At 12 cents per GB (pricing based on US regional data transfer for first 10 TB) that’s only $120 per month per TB of data transfer!

Now don’t get overly confident (we call that cocky were I’m from) – this is not a performance solution for your slow web servers but I predict will be a major player in the CDN market moving forward. Keep an eye out on Akamai’s pricing moving forward – I am certain they will respond.

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About christopherjcoleman

Independent IT Consultant. Cloud Expert. United States Navy Veteran. Dedicated. Focused. Driven. I make companies better by developing applications to meet specific business needs on reliable, cost-efficient cloud infrastructure. If the right solution doesn't exist then create it. I have achieved my greatest accomplishments because someone else told me "it's not possible; there is no way to do it" - and now there is.

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  1. Pingback: Four Scalability Obstacles on AWS | Dream. Develop. Direct. - 2013-10-17

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