Friday, February 28, 2014

Amazon CloudFront

Amazon's CloudFront brought CDN to the casual coder about five years ago. When Amazon announced CloudFront it had much of the same basic functionality as Akamai. But, the problem with CloudFront was many features were only accessible through APIs, not the AWS dashboard (management console). One of the key features missing from the dashboard was the ability to invalidate an object in the CDN. For me, this was a showstopper.

When caching an object (file) on an edge server, the CloudFront default setting stores it for 24 hours. To clear out a file before it expires requires an API call to invalidate it and fetch a new copy from the source. This setting was not originally available to the casual CloudFront user via the AWS dashboard. The API functionality was there, but, unlike Akamai's dashboard, it required a coder to put it in place.

I recently began using CloudFront, again. I'm happy to see the AWS dashboard can now invalidate objects with a simple click. Or, even better, the invalidation of a subset of objects is possible by specifying paths or patterns.

AWS just keeps getting better while dropping their prices. What could be better?

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