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We have an EC2 instance in the Ireland datacenter. Running off this is a website that permits the download of several files whose size ranges from 10MB to 200MB. The site stores the files on EBS.

The site itself is fine- quick and responsive. However, we have had reports that people downloading the files from Asia suffer from very slow download speeds.

I have assumed that this is a distance problem (downloading a file hosted in Ireland from Asia), and so have made some changes. The site now uses a CloudFront distribution with an S3 bucket as the origin server.

What I would like to know is:

  • Is this the solution you would recommend?
  • Is there a way to "pre-cache" the files? That is, push to the cloudfront servers from the origin server.
  • Is there an inherent issue with downloading large files from an EBS?

Any help would be great.


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There should be no inherent issue with downloading large files from EBS.

The host machine that runs your EC2 instance (and your neighbour's) has a gigabit ethernet port. It has to use this network to run all the network activity for all the instances that runs on it, including talking to the network disk.

If you want to test the difference on your specific instance, move a file to your instance disk, or ensure it is in the file cache, and thus you can remove EBS as the potential bottleneck.

Would I recommend CloudFront with S3? Absolutely, that's what it's there for.

Here's a script that will let you warm your CloudFront cache.

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