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S3 Now Supports CORS – Does The Separation Of DAM Client And Server Applications Start Here?

by Naresh Sarwan on September 3, 2012

Last week, Amazon announced they were adding support for the CORS specification (Cross Origin Resource Sharing) to the S3 storage API.  This technical update may have some very wide ranging business implications (especially if other Cloud hosting platforms follow suit with their own storage capabilities).  At present, if you want to access objects on other servers, you can’t normally do it without running into a whole series of security challenges.  There are workarounds like setting up proxy servers, but they are complicated and you need to plan for them in advance.  CORS support allows distributed web applications hosted on other sites/server to gain access to files directly without a proxy required – this reduces the complexity of integrating multiple applications.  This is from the AWS blog:

You can use CORS support to build web applications that use JavaScript and HTML5 to interact directly with resources in Amazon S3 without the need for a proxy server.  You can implement HTML5 drag and drop uploads to Amazon S3, show upload progress, or update content directly from your web applications. External web pages, style sheets, and HTML5 applications hosted in different domains can now reference assets such as web fonts and images stored in an S3 bucket, enabling you to share these assets across multiple web sites.” [Read More]

The impact of this is wider than might be obvious to anyone without a technical background.  What it means is that multiple hosted front-ends can now work on the same asset file.  Therefore, it is feasible for a separate class of ‘client side application’ to be mixed and matched with other products.  In short, given a few years, it might be possible to stitch together your own custom DAM system from a patchwork of various client-side applications that can all interact with a central asset file stored with one or more Cloud storage providers.  Obviously there will be various compatibility challenges to contend with but over time these seem likely to diminish also as I can’t foresee a lack of market demand for it.

I have discussed a few times before how I think the back and front-end elements of Digital Asset Management systems will pull away from each other as vendors enter into a variety of promiscuous relationships with multiple partners to avoid the need to develop products themselves and leverage someone else’s superior expertise to reduce their own cost base and increase the sophistication of the systems they can offer.  It’s perhaps no coincidence that one of the primary use cases that Amazon describe are clearly the type of task you might carry out with a DAM system.

Encouraging a proliferation of vendors and multiple participants who will fight it out like cats and dogs is, of course, great new for Amazon AWS as their ‘channel partners’ will encourage end users to ship more data across their Cloud and rack up transfer and storage fees as a result.

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