Today, CDNs enjoy a whopping USD 19.6 billion and will reach USD 84.1 billion by 2030. It means more organizations will look for CDN solutions to transfer data, apps, and archives to the cloud while retrieving info at reasonable rates.
Speaking of which, the two most important and solid players in the arena, Amazon and Azure, will be up for a battle yet again. When switching or adopting CDNs, AWS CloudFront and Azure CDN are always the preferred solutions for most companies. But one question remains: what to pick: Amazon or Azure? Also, as a tech professional, which one will land you a better scope to elevate your career?
So, this blog will decode everything you need to know about AWS CloudFront vs. Azure CDN: what they are, their features, benefits, differences, and what shall be the parameters while choosing between the two. Time to dig in!
AWS CloudFront is a CDN that makes it faster for users to access your static and dynamic content, including HTML, CSS, JS, and picture files. CloudFront uses edge locations, a global network of data centers, to deliver your content. To serve content with optimal performance, CloudFront routes the user’s request to the edge location with the lowest latency (time delay). You will find two types of scenarios here:
- CloudFront serves content in a few seconds if it already exists at the edge location with the lowest latency.
- If the content is not present at that edge location, CloudFront will retrieve it from a predetermined origin. It can be an S3 bucket, MediaPackage channels, or HTTP servers, whichever you have designated as the source for the final version of your data.
Additionally, AWS CloudFront helps you pace up content distribution by routing user requests from the AWS backbone network to edge locations serving best. Usually, the CloudFront edge servers ensure the fastest delivery to viewers.
How does AWS CloudFront work?
Once you finish setting up CDN, CloudFront will work with your website or app and pace up the content delivery. The entire process somewhat looks like this:
- Users will send a request for objects when accessing your website or app. It can be an image file or an HTML file.
- DNS directs the request to that CloudFront POP (edge location) which will help best handle the request. These locations are generally the nearest CloudFront POP with the lowest latency.
- Then, the CloudFront cache will verify the requested object and will return it to the user if present. If the object is not in the cache, here’s what CloudFront does:
– After comparing the request with the requirements in your distribution, CloudFront sends the request to the origin server for the relevant object, such as your HTTP server or Amazon S3 bucket.
– The origin server will return the object to the edge location.
– CloudFront will then start forwarding the object to the user on receiving the first byte from the origin. Additionally, CloudFront will put the item in the cache in preparation for future requests.
Features of AWS CloudFront
Amazon CloudFront comes with numerous features. Some of them are
- It reduces latency. CloudFront uses over 450 globally dispersed POPs (Points of Presence) to deliver data and leverage automated network mapping and smart routing.
- It ensures improved security along with traffic encryption and access controls. It uses the AWS shield standard to battle DDoS threats.
- CloudFront enables consolidated requests, flexible pricing choices, and no fees for data export from AWS origins, saving money.
- CloudFront utilizes serverless computing tools to tailor the code you run at the edge of the AWS CDN to strike a balance between cost, efficiency, and security.
Use Cases of Amazon CloudFront
Publish quick, safe websites.
With built-in data compression, edge computing capabilities, and field-level encryption, you can instantly reach viewers anywhere in the world.
Accelerate APIs and dynamic content delivery.
With the purpose-built AWS global network ecosystem supporting edge termination and WebSockets, you can optimize the delivery of dynamic online content.
Live streaming and video-on-demand
With the connection of AWS Media Service and Elemental; you can stream and play rapidly and consistently. You also deliver high-quality video to any device.
Disseminate updates and patches.
Scale automatically to provide over-the-air (OTA) software updates, game fixes, and IoT upgrades at scale and high transfer rates.
By caching their material at carefully chosen physical nodes around the globe, Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) provides developers with a global solution for quickly delivering high-quality content to users. By utilizing multiple network improvements with CDN POPs, Azure CDN can also expedite dynamic material, which cannot be cached. Route optimization, for instance, to avoid Border Gateway Protocol (BGP).
By delivering web assets, including Azure CDN, you ensure:
- Better user experience and speed for end users, particularly when utilizing applications where loading material requires numerous round-trips
- Large scaling to best manage sudden high loads, such as the beginning of an event for a product launch.
- Distributing user requests and directly serving content from edge servers to reduce traffic going to the origin server.
How does Azure CDN?
When a user, Alice, wants to access a file, also known as an asset, they use a URL with a special domain name such as <endpoint name>.azureedge.net. This domain name can either be an endpoint hostname or a custom domain. Azure CDN then routes the request to the geographical location with the best performance.
If the file isn’t available in the cache of any edge server in the POP, the POP requests the file from the origin server. The origin server can be an Azure Web App, Azure Cloud Service, Azure Storage account, or any other publicly accessible web server.
Once the origin server has received the request, it sends the file to an edge server in the POP. The edge server then caches the file and sends it to Alice. The cached file will remain in the POP’s edge server until its time-to-live (TTL), specified by HTTP headers, expires. If the TTL was not specified, the default is seven days.
Subsequently, CDN will direct the request to the same POP when other users request the same file using the same URL. If the TTL for the file hasn’t yet passed, the POP’s edge server can retrieve the file directly from the cache, resulting in a faster and smoother user experience.
Features of Azure CDN
Azure CDN has innumerable features under its fold. Some of them are:
- By using Dynamic Site Acceleration (DSA) to enable Azure CDN, you can enhance web performance while allowing dynamic content.
- You can control caching behavior via Azure CDN caching behavior. You can either add custom conditions by modifying URLs or files or adjust query strings to treat caching for Azure CDN.
- You can configure HTTPS on Azure CDN domains. By default, Azure CDN supports HTTPS on a CDN endpoint hostname. For instance, HTTPS is enabled by default if you construct a CDN endpoint.
- You can allow for diagnostic logs. You can see core analytics using Azure diagnostic logs and save them to one or more locations, such as:
- Azure Storage workspace for Log Analytics
- Microsoft Event Hubs
Use case for Azure CDN
Improved user experience
By dispersing user requests and directly serving content from edge servers, the Azure CDN minimizes latency and enhances performance for high-bandwidth content. This provides users with better online experiences by bringing the material closer to them and sending less traffic to the origin location.
Global coverage and stark scalability
Azure CDN can handle abrupt traffic spikes and large loads thanks to its distributed global presence without incurring additional infrastructure expenditures or capacity issues. Globally dispersed points of presence (PoPs) guarantee quick content delivery while shielding the origins from excessive load.
Security at edges
Azure CDN enhances security with tools like DDoS mitigation and HTTPS for bespoke domains. It enables edge servers to serve as the first line of defense against assaults and safeguard the origin server.
Leverage DevOps to automate procedures and workflows.
You can quickly construct and automate apps thanks to the performance, dependability, and security provided by Azure APIs and developer tools. You can deploy CDN endpoints from different providers and manage them seamlessly via uniform API.
Amazon CloudFront vs. Azure CDN: What’s the difference anyway?
To make it easier for you, let’s break it down based on a few parameters:
|Parameter||Feature||AWS CloudFront||Azure CDN|
|Security Features||CDN logging||Yes||Yes|
|API Quote management||No||No|
|API rate limit||Yes||WAF works better than API|
|Security Add-on services||Managed security services||External services like F5 silverline||No|
|Bot protection||Yes||Protects some of them|
|Anti-DDoS||Yes: uses AWS shield||Yes: uses Azure Basic DDoS|
|Web app firewall||Yes||Yes|
|Pricing and Clients||Free tier||No||No|
|Client||AirBnB, Spotify, Pinterest, Slack, etc.||77 energy, Volvo cars, Pixar, eBay, etc.|
Which one is the best: Amazon CloudFront vs. Azure CDN?
Both the CDN platforms come with distinct sets of features and use cases. However, the fundamental functions and approaches of streaming content and providing on-demand content remain the same. To help you better analyze the differences between AWS CloudFront and Azure CDN, let’s take a sneak peek at the real-world avenues and see how they would differ.
Setup and deployment
Setting up both CDN solutions are straightforward. Although they are not as effortless as Google Cloud CDN or Cloudflare, their user-friendly interface makes navigation easy. There are ample videos and tutorials available to guide you through the setup process, even for those with limited technical knowledge.
Additionally, both solutions have support teams available for any questions or issues. Azure CDN provides support through Twitter, community, or email, though response times may be longer. Cloudfront also has a responsive support team. However, accessing them via email or phone incurs additional costs.
AWS Vs Azure: Which Cloud Platform You Can Choose In 2023?
Flexibility and scalability
Both solutions offer limitless scalability, though it is vital to keep in mind that your budget should also have the flexibility to accommodate this.
AWS CloudFront has a slight edge over Azure CDN in terms of speed. CloudFront boasts 225 points of presence (PoPs) across 30 countries, while Azure CDN only has 118 PoPs.
Apart from this, it is vital to note that the security measures within CDN solutions can be inadequate. To ensure more security, consider using additional security services offered by Microsoft Azure or AWS Web Services.
Neither CDN has a fixed pricing plan and operates on a pay-as-you-go model. However, CloudFront has a slight advantage, offering a 12-month free trial for users to determine if the solution works for them. However, it is crucial to note that the free trial has limitations and may not be suitable for large enterprises.
AWS CloudFront, as part of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) portfolio, is a well-established and widely used service, and careers in AWS are in high demand. Companies like Airbnb, Spotify, Pinterest, Slack, etc. are using AWS CloudFront, which means opportunities for this domain are going to rise in the near term.
Similarly, Azure CDN is a component of Microsoft Azure, which is also a popular cloud platform. Microsoft Azure has a large customer base and a growing community of developers, making careers in Azure a promising option.
Hope this blog helps you get a clear picture of Amazon CloudFront vs Azure CDN. Both are widely used cloud-based content delivery networks. The demand for professionals with skills in these areas is growing due to the increasing popularity of cloud-based services and the growing importance of fast and reliable delivery of web content.
Are you looking to enhance your website experience, or do you wish to know which one is the right platform for you? Or want your team to master these CDN platforms? Whizlabs has all the right resources for you. Check out our training programs, practice papers, materials, video lectures, hands-on labs, and sandboxes. Reach out to us today!
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