August 17, 2023

AWS CloudFront: Unlocking the Power of Content Delivery

The best time to establish protocols with your clients is when you onboard them.


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Introduction to AWS CloudFront:

AWS CloudFront is a service provided for fast, programmable and secure Content Delivery Network (CDN). One of the major advantages of CloudFront is its integration with other AWS services like S3, EC2 and AWS Lambda. These integrations enables an efficient, automated content delivery and also providing flexibility in managing and also with updating your content over the network. This article will cover all the underlying basic concepts of the Content Delivery Network along with how the AWS CloudFront actually works internally.

What is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a global cache that stores copies of your data on many location also known as Edge Locations, which are positioned worldwide close to internet users across the globe. One of the better ways to solve the web latency issues of your application delivery for very remote servers in the Internet can be solved by having a CDN. It helps to deliver the content to your users by using caches of the application that are stored in the Edge Locations.

What is an Edge Location?

Edge Location is an actual place in a particular region where your application/content is cached. As for 2023 CloudFront uses a global network of 450+ Points of Presence and 13 regional edge caches in 90+ cities across 49 countries to make sure the content is delivered as quick as possible. The Regional Edge Cache is a larger version of an Edge location, which sits between the origin and an Edge location primarily to improve the performance of delivering your application/content.

Credits: Amazon website

Components which impact CloudFront:

Major components of CloudFront are:

  1. Edge Locations — Local locations which will hold your content’s cache.
  2. Regional Edge Caches — A larger version of an Edge location, which sits between the origin and an Edge location which holds your content cache.
  3. CloudFront Origin — The source/origin location of your content.
  4. CloudFront Distribution — Unit of the CloudFront which can be configured to tell CloudFront where you want content to be delivered from, and the details about how to track and manage content delivery.

CloudFront’s Internal Architecture:

Credits: Amazon website

The above image gives you a clear understanding on how the CDN works internally. Let’s discuss this elaborately:

  1. When your customers/users tries to use your content link to access your content. The request is first forwarded to the closest available Edge location cache.
  2. If the content is found in the edge location cache then it will be delivered to the user directly. This scenario is also called as a cache hit.
  3. But there is also a case where your content is expired/not available in that edge location cache. In this case the request will be again forwarded to the closest Regional Edge Cache. If the content is present it will deliver it to the customer/user and also store it in the nearest Edge Location to the place where it got the request from.
  4. There is also another scenario where the content is not present in the Regional Edge Cache. In this case the request will be passed to the actual content origin and the content will obtained and delivered to the customer/user. Then the content is stored it in both the Edge Location and Regional Edge Cache. This scenario is also called as a cache miss.

In conclusion, AWS CloudFront is a reliable Content Delivery Network solution, which empowers your business to deliver your content globally with a enhanced speed, security and scalability. Its ability to integrate with other AWS services and monitor the performance makes it a really valuable service for organizations seeking to optimize their content’s delivery and also provide an exceptional user experience.

August 17, 2023
min read
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