On Tuesday Amazon (AMZN) announced they had added more functionality to CloudFront in a demand from commerce and retail customers. CloudFront has added support for five additional HTTP methods, including POST, PUT, DELETE, OPTIONS and PATCH. This means customers can not only download content using Amazon CloudFront, they can now also upload content to origin servers via Amazon CloudFront edge locations. This helps customers improve the performance of the dynamic and interactive portions of their websites for things like web forms, comment and login boxes, "add to cart" buttons or other features that upload data from end users. Customers have been asking Amazon for these additional HTTP methods for a variety of reasons:
- To be able to serve their entire website through Amazon CloudFront, including the dynamic and interactive portions of their site (web forms, comments, login boxes, add to cart buttons, etc.) for which they use the GET, HEAD and POST methods.
- Use an Amazon CloudFront edge location to upload/delete files in Amazon S3 (or another origin server) using the PUT and DELETE methods.
- Deliver their API endpoints via Amazon CloudFront for which they use all the methods including PATCH and OPTIONS.
Amazon said they heard from many customers that they don't currently use a CDN for uploads and thus need to manage multiple domain names for their web application plus suffer from slow performance when uploading content. Customers who do use a CDN for content uploads do so at premium dynamic content delivery rates and have to negotiate long-term contracts with other providers. Now with Amazon CloudFront, customers can use a single domain name to accelerate both downloads and uploads and data transfer prices for uploaded content are lower than the price for content downloads (unlike many of the other CDNs that charge premium rates for uploads).
Websites that need this functionality are typically in the shopping, travel, and financial services segments, but also news, media, advertising, gaming, and other customer segments. Over the past few quarters Amazon has been very busy adding a lot of new features and functionality to their CloudFront offering, especially for dynamic content. In addition to this week's announcement, Amazon recently added support for custom error pages, configurable error cache duration, wildcard CNAME support, as well as new edge locations in Seoul, Mumbai and Chennai.
These recent additions, along with the ability to now upload content via CloudFront will help even more customers accelerate their entire website - static, dynamic, and streaming content - using CloudFront. Some in the industry still don't give Amazon enough credit for what they are building with CloudFront as they think the service is only for "developers" or "small" customers. While Amazon does have a lot of those types of customers, it's not the only ones they have. The company has a dedicated sales force targeting large customers for CDN and other AWS services. While other CDNs still have more functionality than CloudFront, every quarter that goes by, Amazon closes that gap by announcing the addition of more features. You can't underestimate the impact Amazon can and does have, on any market they are in, and that's only going to grow as Amazon's CloudFront service continues to expand.