Blog / A guide to understanding the differences between AWS CloudFront, AWS Global Accelerator, and Chinafy on the AWS Marketplace

A guide to understanding the differences between AWS CloudFront, AWS Global Accelerator, and Chinafy on the AWS Marketplace

TLDR; AWS CloudFront is primarily used for content delivery and streaming, AGA is focused on improving network performance, and AWS Marketplace offers a range of AWS verified, pre-built solutions, including Chinafy (specialized in China web performance), that help businesses quickly, easily deploy and manage their applications.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a leading cloud computing platform that offers a wide range of services for businesses and individuals to manage and deploy their applications and infrastructure. It’s likely that whether you’re a marketer or solutions architect, you would have worked with AWS to some degree. As you explore China web performance, you’re bound to come across their products including - AWS CloudFront, Amazon Global Accelerator (AGA), and Chinafy via AWS Marketplace.

Source: AWS

Although they share some similarities, such as the ability to improve application performance and scalability, each of these services serves a different purpose and is designed for specific use cases. In this article, we will explore the differences between AWS CloudFront, AGA, and Chinafy, and provide real-world examples of their use cases.

What is AWS CloudFront?

AWS CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) service that allows businesses to securely deliver data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally with low latency and high transfer speeds. CloudFront caches content at edge locations located around the world, enabling faster delivery to end-users. This service is designed to improve the performance of websites and applications by reducing latency and improving the overall user experience.

AWS CloudFront CDN: How it works (Source: AWS)

Some specific use cases for AWS Cloudfront are as follows.

Content Delivery: AWS CloudFront is primarily used for delivering static and dynamic web content to users. This includes web pages, images, videos, and other media files. CloudFront helps to accelerate the delivery of this content by caching it in edge locations around the world, reducing latency and improving the user experience.

Streaming Video: AWS CloudFront also supports streaming video delivery for live and on-demand video content. It can be used to deliver video content to a wide range of devices, including desktops, smartphones, tablets, and connected TVs. CloudFront supports adaptive bitrate streaming to ensure that users receive the best possible quality based on their network conditions.

APIs: AWS CloudFront can be used as an API gateway to deliver APIs at scale. It supports RESTful APIs and WebSocket APIs, and can be used to deliver APIs securely and reliably to users around the world. This can be especially useful for applications that require low latency and high availability, such as mobile and IoT applications.

Software Distribution: AWS CloudFront can be used for software distribution, enabling software developers to distribute their applications to users around the world. CloudFront supports the delivery of software files, updates, and patches, and can be used to reduce the load on origin servers and improve download speeds.

Dynamic Content: AWS CloudFront supports the delivery of dynamic content, such as personalized content or content that changes frequently. It can be used to cache dynamic content in edge locations, reducing the load on origin servers and improving the performance of applications that rely on dynamic content.

What is AWS Global Accelerator (GA)?

AWS Global Accelerator (GA) is a networking service that improves the availability and performance of applications that are hosted in AWS or on-premises. It is another service offered by Amazon and can also be accessed through the AWS console or API.

AWS Global Accelerator: How it works (Source: AWS)

AWS Global Accelerator offers various benefits for businesses that require high scalability, low latency, disaster recovery, application protection, and improved performance for VoIP or online gaming applications. Some of the key benefits of using Global Accelerator include:

Scaling for increased application utilization: Global Accelerator enables businesses to scale their network up or down, associate regional resources, add or remove endpoints, run blue/green deployment, and do A/B testing without having to update the IP addresses in client applications. This is especially useful for IoT, retail, media, automotive, and healthcare use cases where updating client applications frequently is difficult.

Acceleration for latency-sensitive applications: Global Accelerator routes user traffic to the application endpoint that is nearest to the client, using Anycast to reduce internet latency and jitter, and routes it to the closest regional endpoint over the AWS global network. This is especially beneficial for applications such as gaming, media, mobile apps, ad-tech, and financials that require very low latency for a great user experience.

Disaster recovery and multi-region resiliency: Global Accelerator detects failing endpoints and re-routes traffic to the next available, closest AWS region to offer disaster recovery and multi-region resiliency. Businesses can run their application across multiple AWS Regions to support disaster recovery, higher availability, lower latency, or compliance.

Application protection: Global Accelerator decreases the risk of malicious attacks by masking the origin behind two static entry points protected from DDoS attacks with AWS Shield. It also creates a peering connection with Amazon Virtual Private Cloud using private IP addresses, keeping connections to internal Application Load Balancers or private EC2 instances off the public internet.

Improved performance for VoIP or online gaming applications: Using a custom routing accelerator, businesses can leverage the performance benefits of Global Accelerator for their VoIP or gaming applications. They can reduce latency and jitter globally for applications that require custom logic to map users to specific endpoints, such as multiplayer games or VoIP calls. They can use a single accelerator to connect clients to thousands of Amazon EC2 instances running in a single or multiple AWS Regions, while retaining full control over which client is directed to which EC2 instance and port.

What is Chinafy?

Chinafy is a platform-based solution that helps websites and web applications load fast, fully, and securely for visitors in China.

Chinafy is based on several key technologies and strategies to optimize website performance in China. These include:

China Website Compatibility: Chinafy is the only platform that identifies and resolves issues stemming from third-party resources on a website, when accessed from China.

Content delivery network (CDN): Chinafy leverages both onshore* or fast near-China CDNs for additional acceleration of website content delivery, ensuring faster load times and better website performance for Chinese users. Users have the option to use their own CDN, select from Chinafy’s partners or have Chinafy entirely manage the process and select whichever CDN is performing best at a given time. Learn more about Chinafy vs. CDNs.

Web performance optimization (WPO): Chinafy employs a range of techniques and tools to optimize website performance, including compressing images and other files, and improving caching.

Localization & Marketing: Chinafy offers localization and marketing services to help businesses translate and adapt their website content to better resonate with Chinese audiences via their growing ecosystem of verified expert partners whose services include Baidu Paid Ads, WeChat development, and more.

*Onshore CDNs are only available to companies that fulfill the local requirements, including an ICP license.

How Chinafy works with the AWS Technology stack

By combining Chinafy with the AWS tools above, enterprise not only can access the trusted, specialized solutions across primary resource optimisation (via CloudFront), network optimisation (via AGA as needed) but also benefit from a platform that allows them to achieve improved China web performance without changing that technical stack, or building a new website from scratch without their favorite tools or libraries.

Curious whether your AWS technical stack is a good fit for Chinafy or vice versa?

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