Amazon Web Services (AWS) has added some support that will make it a bit easier for developers to better track visitor traffic to their apps when an IP address is served and connected through the AWS Elastic Load Balancer (ELB).
The cloud service has added support for what is known as “Proxy Protocol Version 1,” which is used to safely send data over TCP without getting lost in transit.
Requests, such as client connection information, IP address and port information are usually lost when processed through ELB, which is used to distribute traffic across AWS clusters. As AWS states, when requests are sent, the load balancer appears as though it is the requesting client and the originating IP address is not recognized. With the new proxy protocol, the IP address can be tracked. That means a developer can get connection statistics, analyze traffic logs, or manage white lists of IP addresses that they normally could not access.
The advantage of Proxy Protocol is that it can be used with any protocol layer above TCP, since it has no knowledge of the higher-level protocol that is used on top of the connection. Proxy Protocol is useful when you are serving non-HTTP traffic. Alternatively, you can use it if you are sending HTTPS requests and do not want to terminate the SSL connection on the load balancer.
See the AWS blog post for more about how to take advantage of the new service.
The news is a reminder that AWS is a feature-adding machine. No other cloud service adds features at the pace that AWS does. Windows Azure is getting close as is Google. But still, they will have to outpace AWS and create their own specific niches to succeed. For Azure that means an enterprise focus. With Google, the difference is in its compute and analytics capabilities.