This is especially true for all kinds of media services, where low latency and high data transfer speeds are crucial. This is where Cloudfront comes into play.

Think of a postman, who happens to live in a country with only one, central post office. Every morning he goes to that office, picks up the mail, and delivers it to the recipients. The next day he goes to post office, picks up the mail, delivers it, and so on.

Even if there were 100 000 postmen and they all would be super quick, there would probably be a lot of delays, since there is only the central post office where all the mail needs to be picked up from.

..Not to mention, how bad that would be for traffic overall. Imagine driving there.

What if instead of a centralized post office, there were post offices in each city around the country for daily deliveries, and only the packages so big which need to be delivered in a truck would be delivered from the central office?

Much faster deliveries and less traffic on roads.

 

This is a simplified model of how Amazon Cloudfront works. It is a Content Delivery Network (CDN) based on a network of so-called edge locations. Edge locations are worldwide-spread access points (data centers) for end users in AWS network, and are specifically used by Amazon Web Services to deliver content to end users with low latency. Edge locations can be found in most major cities around the world – at the moment there are 54 of them, and new ones are being built all the time.

More static content is usually stored in so-called origin servers, often in Amazon S3 buckets. For example, your static images & videos (since they don’t change that often) can be stored in origin servers, while streaming media & constantly updating content can be stored in Cloudfront.

If you’re operating globally, or just need content distributed quickly in high speed and low latency – such as streaming videos or basically media in any format, it is a good idea to consider putting Cloudfront into use. If you are an existing AWS user, Amazon Cloudfront will certainly simplify the management of your content distribution and most likely lower your costs.