Amazon CloudFront Integration

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This announcement has been archived.

Originally posted February 25, 2013.

 

This content is relevant to Absorb 4 only.

 

As part of our upcoming 4.8.6 release we will be integrating Amazon Web Services's(AWS) CloudFront technology into the newest version* of our LMS interface.

 

What is CloudFront and what does it do for me?

 

CloudFront is a content distribution network (CDN) provided by AWS. CDNs store copies of your site content at various locations around the world allowing your users to connect to and download from the location that will provide the best speed. If you have learners that are distributed globally or who are in locations other than EU or NA they should notice a significant improvement in latency. We have attached two excel files providing examples of the speed increases when accessing the LMS from different locations. If you are hosted on our NA instance please use the CloudFront_US file, while EU clients should use the CloudFront_EU file. In the files the left section shows how long it takes to communicate with our current server while the right column shows how long it will take with CloudFront enabled. While almost all locations have seen a decrease in latency, locations that are further away from our AWS servers will see the greatest improvement.

 

The servers represent our AWS server locations while the point represent the CloudFront locations.

 

What kinds of content will be affected?

 

Initially, we will be using the CDN to deliver static resources such as:

 

  • Images/ UI Elements
  • Back end website code
  • MP4 videos
  • Resources (PDFs, documents, etc.)

 

We would like to use the CDN to deliver SCORM lessons as well but it's not currently supported by CloudFront. AWS is working on adding support for these types of files and once they have we will investigate enabling the CDN for them too.

 

What do you need to do to prepare?

 

First, it's important to note that CloudFront will only be enabled for those clients using our latest, HTML5 enabled, interface. However, if you are planning on upgrading in the near future you may want to prepare as well.

 

CloudFront will be delivering the content to your learners using a different URL then is being used currently. If your learners access the LMS from a corporate environment that blocks unknown sites you may need to have their IT department add the following domains to their firewall white-list:

 

  • US Clients: d1ir3r2m0t9lz5.cloudfront.net and d2f9u4sx0x7ry0.cloudfront.net
  • EU Clients: d1ijddpy8g94uj.cloudfront.net

Otherwise, there will be no changes necessary to prepare for the implementation of CloudFront.

 

I'm already using Edgecast. How does this affect me?

 

CloudFront is an alternative to Edgecast but as it does not yet support SCORM content, it's probably not advisable to move away from Edgecast at this time. Depending on the primary type of course content you deliver you may want to perform some testing after the release with and without Edgecast to determine whether it is still necessary. After CloudFront adds support for SCORM content we will notify those clients who are still using Edgecast so that they can test again to see if it's still necessary. As CloudFront is being delivered free of charge we expect most clients will switch at that point, but anyone who wishes to continue using Edgecast may do so.

 

* If you would like to inquire about upgrading to our new version 3 interface please contact your sales representative.

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