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CloudFront CDN - What is Amazon CloudFront?

 
Amazon CloudFront is a web service for content delivery . It makes it easier to distribute content to end users quickly, with low latency and high data transfer speeds. Amazon CloudFront delivers your content through a worldwide network of edge locations. End users are routed to the nearest edge location, so content is delivered with the best possible performance. Amazon CloudFront works seamlessly with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), which durably stores the original, definitive versions of your files.

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Basic of Amazon CloudFront

Objects : Objects are files (for example web pages, images, and digital media files) same as S3, which can be anything that can be served over HTTP. The files must be publicly readable.

Origin Server : An origin server is the location where you store the original, definitive version of your objects. With Amazon CloudFront, your origin server is an Amazon S3 bucket that you own. Using an existing Amazon S3 bucket as your Amazon CloudFront, origin server doesn't fundamentally change that bucket in any way; you can still use it as you normally would to store and access Amazon S3 objects (at the normal Amazon S3 prices ).

Distributions : How do you get Amazon CloudFront to recognize them?
For this, you have to create a distribution , which is a link between an Amazon S3 bucket (the origin server) and a domain name (assign by Amazon CloudFront). You use this new domain name in place of the standard Amazon S3 references. For example, http://mybucketexplorer.s3.amazonaws.com/image.jpg would instead be http://somedomainname.cloudfront.amazonaws.com/image.jpg.

Note : You can have up to 100 distributions in the Amazon CloudFront system.

Edge Locations : One of the sites that Amazon CloudFront uses to cache copies of your content for faster delivery to end users. Amazon CloudFront uses edge locations (United States, Europe, and Asia). When a user requests one of your objects, Amazon CloudFront decides which edge location is best able to serve the request. If the edge location doesn't have a copy, Amazon CloudFront goes to the origin server and puts a copy of the object in the edge location.

Time to Live (TTL) : An object's time to live is the length of time the object can stay in an edge location before it expires. Once the object expires, Amazon CloudFront no longer serves that particular object and need to get a new copy of that object from the origin server to serve to end users.

**Eventual Consistency : When you successfully create, modify, or delete a distribution using Amazon CloudFront control API, it takes time for your changes to propagate throughout the Amazon CloudFront system. The information about the distribution will eventually be consistent, but an immediate request to the control API to get that distribution's information might not show the change. Consistency is usually reached within minutes, but a high system load or network partition might increase this time. The control API lets you determine when your changeswill be fully deployed.

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Features of Amazon CloudFront

Fast : With a network of edge locations around the world, Amazon CloudFront caches copies of your content close to end users, lowering latency for delivery. The service also effectively gives you a high, sustained data transfer rates needed to deliver large popular objects to end users at high scale.

Simple : A single API call specifies that Amazon S3 bucket is your origin server and lets you get started in distributing content through Amazon CloudFront network.

Designed for Use with Other AWS Services : Amazon CloudFront is tightly integrated with Amazon S3 and works well with other AWS services like the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).

Inexpensive : Amazon CloudFront passes on the benefits of Amazon’s scale to you. You pay only for the content that you deliver through the network, without minimum commitments or up-front fees. Because there’s no need to negotiate a contract with a sales person, you can get started in just minutes.

Elastic : With Amazon CloudFront, you don’t need to worry about maintaining expensive web server capacity to meet the demand of potential traffic spikes for popular content. The service automatically responds as the demand increases or decreases, without any actions needed from you.

Reliable : Amazon CloudFront is built on Amazon’s highly reliable infrastructure. The distributed nature of the edge locations enables Amazon CloudFront to automatically re-route end users to the next closest location as required by network conditions.

Global : Amazon CloudFront uses a global network of edge locations, located near your end user in United States, Europe and Asia.

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How Amazon CloudFront Delivers Content?

How does Amazon CloudFront delivers your content? See the following steps:

  1. Place the object in the bucket (make it publicly readable.)
  2. Create a distribution and get the domain name (auto generated by Amazon CloudFront).
  3. Create object links using the domain name.
  4. An end user requests the object and Amazon CloudFront chooses the appropriate edge location.
  5. Amazon CloudFront goes to the origin server of the object if necessary.
  6. The edge location serves the object.
  7. Later, the object expires (TTL).
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Part of Basic Distribution

Origin Server Bucket : When you create the distribution, you specify the origin server bucket's name using this format: <bucket name>.s3.amazonaws.com. Do not use the Amazon S3 path style for specifying the bucket, which is s3.amazonaws.com/<bucket name>.

Caller Reference : The caller reference is a unique value that you provide and Amazon CloudFront uses to prevent accidental replays of your request. Once you create a distribution, you can't change its caller reference.

Enabled or Disabled : When you create a distribution, you need to tell Amazon CloudFront whether you want the distribution to be enabled or disabled once it's created. Enabled means that as soon as the distribution is fully deployed

CNAME Aliases : You can optionally associate one or more CNAME aliases with a distribution so that you can use a domain name of your choice to link to your objects instead of the domain name that Amazon CloudFront assigns. You need to be the owner of any domain name that you specify as an alias of your distribution's domain name. You can have up to 10 CNAME aliases per distribution. You can associate a particular CNAME alias with only one distribution.

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Comments

When you create a distribution, you can provide optional comments about the distribution. You can update those comments at any time. The maximum allowed length is 128 characters.

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