Amazon's CloudFront has long let users host and distribute the static content elements for websites. Now the service can play host to dynamic content as well, adding support for the full scope of a dynamic, content-rich site or service with access to EC2 applications.

Dynamic Cloud Effects

Launched in 2008 to compete with Akamai and other content delivery services, CloudFront has just made itself a whole lot more useful with the addition of support for dynamic content on AWS. Amazon Web Services has just announced that it has added the feature, giving new and existing customers a cost-effective way to improve performance, availability and reliability of a site with complete content delivery.

Amazon CloudFront can also work with dynamic applications running in Amazon EC2, without any custom coding or proprietary configurations, making the service simple to deploy and manage. Billing rates remain the same for dynamic or static content, so there will be no shock charges, over and above the extra data and storage used.

Amazon, in its post about the launch, claims to have removed a lot of the complexity from the process users had to go through to add dynamic content. Now, developers running web applications with both dynamic and static content can accelerate their entire website in minutes using just the AWS Management Console.

Behind the Clouds

CloudFront has implemented several performance optimizations such as maintaining persistent connections with origin web servers and other network path tweaks to speed up delivery of dynamic content. When dynamic content delivery is used with origin web servers running in Amazon EC2, customers get further benefit as AWS monitors and streamlines the network paths from each Amazon CloudFront edge location to the various AWS Regions for improved latency and reliability.

In 2010, Amazon added streaming support, and last year, AWS added support for live events on the service. This latest step brings it more in line with CDN rivals, offering as-a-service management of dynamic content with simple billing. Amazon has already been trying the dynamic service with partners like Earth Network's weather service and the bulk of TwitPic's five billion requests and 250TB of bandwidth per month. If it works for them, it can probably work for you.