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Unread 24th February 2011, 02:26 PM   #1
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Default HELP: Advantages and disadvantages for using Amazon S3 verses Amazon CloudFront please

I have videos for a paid-for membership site where members can view online and also download them. They are currently hosted by Amazon S3 but I'm considering using Amazons CloudFront instead. I Googled "advantages and disadvantages to using Amazon S3 CloudFront" but don't really understand some of what they are describing.

By the way, I'm also using EasyVideoPlayer 2.0.

1) Is quick loading videos for faster viewing the main reason for using Amazon CloudFront over Amazon S3?

2) Since my videos are to be viewed by paid members only, will my videos using Amazons CloudFront be secure or can the links be passed around and viewed by anyone?

3) Do you know of any disadvantages to using CloudFront over S3?

4) Can you recommend any non-nerdy super simple instructions for setting up Amazons CloudFront with EVP 2.0?

4) I used Screenflow to create my desktop videos and also used it as my video editor (Screenflow is like Camtasia). I'm wondering if this information here about enabling your Screenflow created videos to load faster for viewing would make it so I don't even need to use CloudFront and can continue to use S3? http://blogs.telestream.net/screenfl...net-streaming/

Thanks again.
Steve
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Unread 24th February 2011, 04:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: HELP: Advantages and disadvantages for using Amazon S3 verses Amazon CloudFront please

The main reason for using the Amazon Cloudfront network is speed and performance. The Cloudfront Network uses a global network of edge locations. These locations are currently:

United States
Ashburn, VA
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
Jacksonville, FL
Los Angeles, CA
Miami, FL
New York, NY
Newark, NJ
Palo Alto, CA
Seattle, WA
St. Louis, MO

Europe
Amsterdam
Dublin
Frankfurt
London
Paris

Asia
Hong Kong
Tokyo
Singapore

When a user downloads or streams a file from your site, the request is routed to the edge location closest to them. This ensures the content is delivered to the end user with the best possible speed and performance.

You will need to secure your links if you are planning on using Amazon S3 or the Cloudfront network for your member content. There are a few ways to do this and it really depends on the type of membership site you are running. You can use the S3FlowShield Wordpress plugin if you are running a Wordpress members area. For static pages there is very simple php code you can use to protect all your file and download links. That code and instructions can be found in this webinar: Amazon S3 Security - S3 Webinar Recording

The one slight disadvantage of Cloudfront, but I wouldn't really call it a disadvantage as such, is that any changes you make to your current files on the Cloudfront network do take some time to show up and propogate across the whole network. What this means is, if you are linking to a video on the Cloudfront network and you decide to make some changes to that video and upload the new file, the old file will keep showing for anywhere from 12-24hrs as the new file propogates across the system. This can be very confusing for new users. The simple way around this is to give your new file a new name, then it is accessible instantly. The lag time occurs only when uploading a new file using the same name as a file already on the Cloudfront network.

If you can setup Amazon S3 then you can setup Amazon Cloudfront. It is very simple. There are a lot of tutorials available online but this one that came up in Google seems to be as good as any:

How to Setup Amazon S3 with CloudFront

Once you have setup your bucket you will then just upload all your EVP files and video files as you normally would to any other server. I highly recommend you download the free program called CloudBerry S3 Explorer. This program makes managing all your S3 files a piece of cake. It works much the same way as a regular FTP program.

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Unread 24th February 2011, 04:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: HELP: Advantages and disadvantages for using Amazon S3 verses Amazon CloudFront please

That was awesome of you to take the time to post all the great information.

I'm using Digital Access Pass (DAP) for the membership plugin and Easy Video Player 2.0.

1) Do you have any experience with DAP and/or EasyVideoPlayer 2 when using Amazon CloudFront?

2) If I start using Amazons CloudFront, is there any reason to keep my existing Amazon S3 account?

3) Are the fee's for CloudFront similar to S3?

4) Does using CloudFront make it any easier for my members to download my videos over using S3? Or is CloudFronts main advantage for those that watch the videos online?

Thanks again!

Steve
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Unread 24th February 2011, 04:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: HELP: Advantages and disadvantages for using Amazon S3 verses Amazon CloudFront please

S3 is perfect for typical video delivery, we use it and it copes
with simultaenous loads far exceeding most people's requirements.

By that I mean 1000+ users on the same video at the same time.

Cloudfront is ideal when you're unsure of load or when loads vary
dramatically, for example a launch.

Let's you automatically turn new servers on / off with the flick of
a key to cope with demand (annoying it wasn't automatic ).

We found Rackspaces Cloud solution a little more usable, mainly because
with Amazons, you lost all FTP and had to deal with root.

The main advantage of cloud isn't location proximity really but
very cheap scalability.

In order to mirror or replicate a temporary multiserver setup capable
of coping with intermittent traffic spikes from launches etc, it's
very costly.

Amazon (and Rackspace cloud) offer an incredibly cheap way to deal
with temporary load, although it's not without it's drawbacks.
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Unread 24th February 2011, 04:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: HELP: Advantages and disadvantages for using Amazon S3 verses Amazon CloudFront please

Quote:
Originally Posted by magentawave View Post
That was awesome of you to take the time to post all the great information.

I'm using Digital Access Pass (DAP) for the membership plugin and Easy Video Player 2.0.

1) Do you have any experience with DAP and/or EasyVideoPlayer 2 when using Amazon CloudFront?

2) If I start using Amazons CloudFront, is there any reason to keep my existing Amazon S3 account?

3) Are the fee's for CloudFront similar to S3?

4) Does using CloudFront make it any easier for my members to download my videos over using S3? Or is CloudFronts main advantage for those that watch the videos online?

Thanks again!

Steve
1. No, unfortunately I have not used EVP or DAP. I use the EZS3 video player for all my video files.

2. Yes, you just keep your S3 account as you need an S3 account in order to use the Cloudfront network. It does not matter though, you only get charged for data you use so if you are not using anything you won't be charged.

3. The pricing for Cloudfront can be found on their website here:
Amazon CloudFront Pricing

Yes, the pricing for both are very similar. I always use the Cloudfront network for all my images, css, scripts, videos, etc nowadays. It takes a load of unnecessary pressure off your server.

The pricing is a little bit more expensive for locations outside the US however considering majority of your traffic usually comes from the US, it should not be of too much concern. The prices are still very reasonable.

Amazon S3
United States $0.150 / GB
Europe $0.150 / GB
Singapore $0.190 / GB

Amazon CDN
United States $0.150 / GB
Europe $0.150 / GB
Honk Kong $0.190 / GB
Japan $0.201 / GB

4. Yes, as I mentioned in my previous post, the main advantage of Cloudfront is the speed in which your files are delivered. Because the Cloudfront network uses the edge location closest to the end user it means those files, whether being streamed or downloaded, are going to be delivered in the quickest time possible - faster than regular Amazon S3.

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Unread 24th February 2011, 04:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: HELP: Advantages and disadvantages for using Amazon S3 verses Amazon CloudFront please

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonHarrison View Post
The main advantage of cloud isn't location proximity really but very cheap scalability.
We are talking about 2 different things here.

Amazon S3 is the standard scalable storage system offered by Amazon and offers "the same highly scalable, reliable, secure, fast, inexpensive infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. The service aims to maximize benefits of scale and to pass those benefits on to developers."

We are then talking about the Amazon Cloudfront Network. "Amazon CloudFront delivers your static and streaming content using a global network of edge locations. Requests for your objects are automatically routed to the nearest edge location, so content is delivered with the best possible performance. Amazon CloudFront is optimized to work with other Amazon Web Services, like Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)."

So yes, the main advantage here of using the Cloudfront network over the regular S3 network, which was the question the OP was asking, is in the location proximity of those files.

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Unread 24th February 2011, 04:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: HELP: Advantages and disadvantages for using Amazon S3 verses Amazon CloudFront please

1) Does CloudFront have buckets for storing content like S3 does?

2) And if not, does that mean that CloudFront pulls your content from a bucket in your S3 account?

Thanks again.
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Unread 24th February 2011, 04:51 PM   #8
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Default Re: HELP: Advantages and disadvantages for using Amazon S3 verses Amazon CloudFront please

Quote:
Originally Posted by magentawave View Post
1) Does CloudFront have buckets for storing content like S3 does?

2) And if not, does that mean that CloudFront pulls your content from a bucket in your S3 account?

Thanks again.
Steve,

A lot of these questions can be answered just reading one or two online tutorials or even the Amazon Cloudfront homepage. Read through the tutorials I sent you in my previous post as it will answer most, if not all your questions.

You simply setup a new bucket and change the distribution to Cloudfront. You will then end up with urls like this http://xxxxx.cloudfront.net/

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Unread 27th February 2011, 11:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: HELP: Advantages and disadvantages for using Amazon S3 verses Amazon CloudFront please

If you had bought S3Media Stream for wordPress from wp21century.com, they would have helped you setting up your account for CloudFront and so on. Their support is phenomenal and the player is very powerful. They have a Joomla version as well.

Anyway, that is too late now ;-)
Here is a whole range of articles and tutorials on S3 Amazon:
www miracletutorials.com/category/s3-amazon-cloudfront/
The articles are listed with the latest one first, so you best scroll down to start with the introduction.
I hope this is useful to you.
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