As more content is delivered from data centers to Web browsers in the new era of mobile apps, IT pros need utilities to make the browser experience as rich as possible.
Content delivery networks (CDNs) allow data from a centralized source to be delivered using compute resources closer to the target-edge device, usually a PC or mobile device with a Web browser. AWS provides a CDN as a service through CloudFront.
The updates to the AWS CloudFront CDN revealed last week include support for additional HTTP headers when files are passed from the data source -- called the origin server -- to CloudFront. This means organizations delivering content to Web browsers can customize more granularly than before. New possible customizations include mobile device detection and the ability to tailor delivered content to a given geographic location.
Kurt LangleyCEO, Ekho
This update to AWS CloudFront will allow Ekho to push more applications to clients' devices from origin servers via CloudFront distributions, which has become a key component of any modern data center, according to Langley.
"The browser is the new server in some ways," Langley said. "[Client devices] will be a core part of the data center of the future -- distributed and decentralized"
Still, AWS users have choices about which CDN they use, and some prefer third-party vendors, such as Akamai Technologies Inc.
"We use Akamai primarily and only a little bit of CloudFront for some internal parts of our application, but have been moving more and more to Akamai," said Jim O'Neill, CIO for HubSpot Inc., a digital marketing software as a service company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"Akamai has a broader feature set, including CDN, but their security products are important to us as we host content on behalf of our customers and need to protect against attacks," O'Neill said. "CDN is just a small part of that."
Other third-party alternatives to CloudFront include CDNetworks, CloudFlare, EdgeCast Networks, and Limelight Networks.