I’ve been looking at Amazon CloudFront today, and it seems to me that Amazon is aggressively going for the CDN market.
This really is a CDN (Content Delivery Network) solution (and it’s cheap). All it is a method of serving up assets (images, documents, html, even Silverlight) with low latency by using a delivery network (so if your user is in hong kong, the asset will be served from the hong kong server).
The good news is that it is ridiculously cheap. 17 cents per GB data transfer, and 1 cent per 10,000 requests.
It also seems to me (although I haven’t tried it yet), that if you wanted to host your Silverlight application within Amazon CloudFront you could do so. You could have an HTML page (hosted in CloudFront), assets (hosted in cloudfront), silverlight XAP file (hosted in CloudFront), and then you could even allow calls to a back end web service (hosted in azure, or your normal boring old web server) via cross domain policies.
UPDATE: This is confirmed as working, be careful with setting your Content Types, see Tim Heur's comments in the comment section of this post. Thanks Tim.
I think once Microsoft have setup their many data centers, I would expect a similar type of offering from Azure also. To be honest I don’t think Azure is too far away from this. All Microsoft need to do is provide multiple datacenters, allow us to control the cache for Blob Storage Services, and use the closest data center to server up public url’s. To offer this a separate offering from Azure’s point of view would be wrong (i think).
I think that the competition between Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud space is going to be really great, and will drive down the cost of hosting / scaling.