Amazon Web Services Launches CloudFront

Amazon continues to expand its offerings in the cloud, releasing CloudFront, a hosted service designed to rapidly deliver a wide range of regularly requested online media content., Inc. subsidiary Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the launch of Amazon CloudFront, a self-service distribution system for content delivery. CloudFront allows SMBs and developers to distribute content through a worldwide network of edge locations at low latency and high data transfer speeds. AWS is positioning the service without requirements for up-front commitments or long-term contracts.

"Our customers asked us for a way to globally distribute their most frequently accessed content with all the benefits that Amazon Web Services provides," AWS vice president of product management and developer relations Adam Selipsky said in a prepared statement. "Amazon CloudFront provides low latency, inexpensive content delivery without complex sales negotiations or up-front commitments."
CloudFront will feature pay-as-you-go pricing, a common feature on all AWS' offerings.

Amazon said CloudFront offers several businesses opportunities to improve media distribution, such as video distribution, software downloads, music downloads, and rapid delivery of frequently accessed online images and objects. The service is designed to integrate with Amazon S3, an online storage web service. From here, users can store the original versions of objects delivered through CloudFront.

"Compared to hosting files yourself, Amazon CloudFront spares you from the expense and complexity of operating a network of cache servers in multiple sites across the internet and eliminates the need to over-provision capacity in order to serve potential spikes in traffic," says CloudFront general manager Tal Saraf. "Many customers of AWS currently use Amazon S3 for content delivery of files that get downloaded frequently. They asked us for a service that complemented Amazon S3's storage with even higher performance delivery. We built this service to address that customer request."

Amazon points to Woot, an online store that offers customers a new product each day, as an example of how the technology can be used to bring information to customers. Woot is using CloudFront to deliver photos of its daily product offerings to its online shoppers. "I deeply resent every second of my life I waste by thinking about image hosting," Woot's retail IT director Luke Duff said in a prepared statement. "All I ask is that our images be served with low latency and high reliability and without a lot of hassle for me to deal with."

Amazon also highlighted social game company Playfish as an example of CloudFront's distribution technology. Playfish CTO Sami Lababidi said the service allows the company to distribute games more efficiently to its more than 25 million registered players. "CloudFront has reduced the time it takes for any customer, wherever they are, to access our games through CloudFront's fast download speeds," Lanabidi said in a prepared statement. "AWS also allows us to stay flexible as we grow and only pay for what we actually use."

CloudFront allows developers and businesses to deliver HTTP content through a global network of edge locations. The service caches copies of content close to end users for low latency delivery with rapid and sustained data transfer rate. Amazon also offers CloudFront users who sign up for AWS Premium Support 24-hour technical assistance. Amazon claims 440,000 developers have already registered to use AWS.