Amazon testing content delivery Web service

Service to give application developers a vehicle for distributing public Web content with low latency and high data transfer rates.

Amazon plans to expand its roster of hosted computing services for developers with a content delivery network.

The goal of the still-unnamed service is to give application developers a vehicle for distributing public Web content with low latency and high data transfer rates, Amazon announced Thursday on its official Amazon Web Services blog.

Now in private beta testing and scheduled for public release before the end of the year, this content delivery service will be the latest cloud-computing offering from Amazon Web Services, which also provides hosted computing capacity, e-commerce and storage services.

Amazon Web Services aims to offer developers a suite of generic computing, payment, billing, fulfillment and Web search services so that they can focus on the work of making their applications.

Amazon Web Services is part of the growing cloud-computing trend, in which IT vendors are hosting software in their own data centers and making it accessible via the Internet so that the clients don't have to install it on their premises. This model, in theory, reduces hardware provisioning costs for clients and saves them the time and effort of installing and maintaining software.

"Amazon Web Services for the past several years has been operating a cloud computing platform that's meant to remove the need for a lot of companies to run their own IT infrastructure," Adam Selipsky, vice president of product management and developer relations for Amazon Web Services, said in an interview. "One of the missing pieces for that has been content delivery for popular content. Our customers have clearly told us that's a capability they'd like to see in the platform."

Tal Saraf, general manager of the new AWS content delivery service, said the customers participating in the beta testing program are using the service for a wide variety of tasks, including distribution of podcasts, progressive download of video clips, delivery of photos and serving up of Web site objects like CSS and Javascript files. "They're using it for a wide spectrum of frequently accessed content that's distributed around the world," Saraf said.

Following the model of other Amazon Web Services offerings, the content delivery service will be billed based on usage, without requiring upfront usage or flat fee commitments.

Developers will only need to access a single API (application programming interface) to hook their Web applications to the content delivery network. The service has been designed to work "seamlessly" with Amazon's S3 hosted storage service. The content network will deliver content from locations in three continents to reduce latency.

"Using a global network of edge locations this new service can deliver popular data stored in Amazon S3 to customers around the globe through local access," wrote Amazon CTO Werner Vogels in his blog.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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