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What is AWS: Introduction to Amazon Web Services

What is AWS: Introduction to Amazon Web Services

In this blog, we’ll cover the basics of AWS and cloud computing, compare AWS to other platforms, explain its architecture and services, highlight its advantages and practical uses, discuss pricing, find out how companies are using AWS, and explore certification and job opportunities in this excAWS Trainingiting field.

Some of the topics that we will discuss are mentioned below in AWS overview:

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Introduction to Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the technology that powers almost all of our digital world. It allows you to store and access data and software over the internet, instead of on your local computer which reduces the. This technology has revolutionized the way businesses and individuals use and manage their digital resources, offering flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency. In this section, we’ll break down the fundamentals of cloud computing, exploring the cloud’s significance and laying the foundation for our journey into AWS.

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What is AWS?

Amazon Web Services, commonly known as AWS, is a globally recognized and widely used cloud computing platform provided by Amazon. It gives facility to individuals and organizations to access computing resources, data storage, and much more of cloud services over the internet. At its core, it offers a scalable and flexible cloud infrastructure, which allows users to rent computing resources on a pay-as-you-go basis, eliminating the need for costly physical servers and infrastructure management.This on-demand approach, known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), has revolutionized the way businesses operate in the digital age. In other words, we can say that it eliminates maintenance efforts of the physical data centers. AWS operates data centers across the world, ensuring reliable and low-latency access to its services.

Furthermore, AWS is not limited to a particular industry or application. It serves as a versatile platform for various purposes. Whether it’s web hosting, data analytics, machine learning, or building IoT solutions, AWS provides the infrastructure and tools needed to support a wide range of applications. AWS’s rich ecosystem of services, along with its commitment to security and innovation, has strengthened its position as a market leader in cloud computing, shaping the digital landscape for businesses and individuals alike.

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History of AWS

Amazon Web Services (AWS) originated in the early 2000s when Amazon.com, the retail giant, faced IT infrastructure challenges due to rapid growth. What began as an internal project to streamline operations soon evolved into a commercial cloud computing platform.

Between 2006 and 2010, AWS made its debut to the public, offering services like EC2 and SQS. It quickly gained traction, particularly among startups and enterprises seeking scalable, cost-effective solutions. It expanded its service offerings during this period, introducing key features like Amazon S3 and Amazon RDS.

From 2015 to 2018, it solidified its presence in the enterprise sector, attracting organizations from various industries. Advanced services like Amazon Aurora and Snowball were introduced.

Today, it continues to expand its global infrastructure, enhance its services, and focus on sustainability, with a growing emphasis on machine learning and artificial intelligence. It has evolved from an internal solution to a global cloud leader, shaping the digital landscape for businesses worldwide.

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AWS vs Azure vs GCP

Each cloud provider has its strengths and may be more suitable for different use cases and business requirements. Here is a brief comparison between these clouds:

AWS vs Azure vs GCP
FactorsAWSAzureGCP
History and Open SourceFounded in 2006, AWS has a longer history in cloud computing. It has provided and maintained almost all open-source technologies and has strong support for open-source software.Azure has evolved from Microsoft’s previous cloud efforts and has worked on its open-source technologies, offering a variety of open-source solutions but they still need to improve and expand it.Google, known for its contributions to open-source, has a strong open-source presence and supports various open-source projects. 
Service IntegrationAWS provides a comprehensive set of services, with a wide range of integration options within its ecosystem.Azure excels in integrating seamlessly with Microsoft products and services, offering a strong connection to Windows environments.GCP offers services designed for ease of use, with a focus on simplicity and integration across its ecosystem.
Market ShareAWS has maintained a leading position in the cloud market share with approx 33% of the total cloud market, along with a substantial customer base across various industries.Azure has been gaining market share and is the primary competitor to AWS, especially among IT companies.Its market share is around 23%GCP, while growing, has a smaller market share which is around 11%, Compared to AWS and Azure but has a strong presence in data analytics and machine learning.
Managing PackagesAWS provides AWS Systems Manager and AWS OpsWorks for package and configuration management.Azure offers Azure Automation and Azure Configuration Management for managing packages and configurations.GCP provides Google Cloud Deployment Manager and Configuration Management for package management and configuration automation.

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Why use AWS?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a leading choice for businesses and organizations for a multitude of reasons. Here’s an explanation of why AWS is so widely used:

  • Scalability: It offers the ability to easily scale resources up or down based on your needs. This scalability is critical for businesses with fluctuating workloads or those experiencing rapid growth.
  • Comprehensive Service Offering: It provides a vast array of cloud services, covering computing, storage, databases, machine learning, and more. These services are continuously evolving, ensuring that you have access to cutting-edge technologies.
  • Global Reach: With data centers located worldwide, AWS ensures low-latency access and data residency compliance in different regions. This global presence is essential for businesses operating internationally.
  • Security: It places a strong emphasis on security, providing tools and features to protect data, applications, and infrastructure. It’s compliant with numerous security standards and certifications.
  • Cost-Effective: It follows a pay-as-you-go pricing model, which means you only pay for the resources you use. This cost-effective approach is especially attractive to startups and small businesses.
  • Flexibility: It allows you to choose from a range of operating systems, programming languages, databases, and frameworks. This flexibility enables you to use the tools you’re most comfortable with.
  • Reliability: Its infrastructure is highly reliable, with multiple levels of redundancy, ensuring that your applications are available when you need them.
  • Innovation: It is at the forefront of cloud computing innovation. It regularly introduces new services and features, enabling you to stay competitive and leverage emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  • Ecosystem: It has a vast partner network, a robust developer community, and a wealth of resources, including extensive documentation and support.
  • Real-World Applications: IT is trusted by numerous companies, from startups to enterprises, in various industries. It has demonstrated its capability to host a wide range of applications, including websites, mobile apps, and complex enterprise solutions.

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AWS Services 

Amazon Web Services offers a wide range of cloud computing services to help organizations meet various IT needs. These are just a few of the many AWS services available. AWS continually adds new services and features to meet the evolving needs of businesses and developers. Each service offers a range of configurations and options, allowing organizations to build and manage applications, data, and infrastructure in a scalable and cost-effective manner. Here’s an overview of some of the key AWS services

AWS Compute Services

Compute services are essential for processing power, running your applications in the AWS Cloud.AWS compute portfolio includes Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), AWS Elastic Beanstalk, AWS Fargate, and AWS Lambda, offering versatile tools to develop, deploy, run, and scale your applications efficiently. These services enable organizations to meet various computing needs, from setting up virtual servers with EC2 to simplifying application deployment using Elastic Beanstalk, running serverless code with Lambda, and optimizing resource usage with Fargate. They play a vital role in driving innovation and flexibility in your operations.Let’s explore each of this in detail:

AWS Compute Services
  • Amazon EC2(Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud)
  • AWS Fargate
  • AWS Lambda

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Amazon Storage Services

Storage forms a fundamental pillar of AWS, crucial for managing data in your applications. These services offer versatile, scalable, and secure storage options, guaranteeing data’s reliability and availability.   

Amazon Storage Services
  • Amazon S3 (Amazon Simple Storage Service)
  • Amazon EBS (Amazon Elastic Block Store)
  • Amazon S3 Glacier

AWS Database Services

AWS offers a comprehensive range of database services to address various data management needs. These database services cater to various data storage, processing, and analysis requirements, allowing businesses to choose the right solution for their specific use cases and scale as needed. Each service offers a range of features, including backup, security, and scalability, to ensure efficient data management in the cloud.Here’s an overview of some key AWS database services: 

AWS Database Services
  • Amazon Relational Database Service
  • Amazon DynamoDB
  • Amazon ElastiCache
  • Amazon Redshift

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AWS Networking & Content Delivery Services

Amazon Web Services covers a range of networking and content delivery services to ensure reliable and efficient data transfer and content distribution. These networking and content delivery services help organizations build secure, scalable, and efficient network infrastructures and deliver content to users across the globe with low latency and high availability. Some of these services include:

AWS Networking & Content Delivery Services
  • Amazon CloudFront
  • Amazon VPC
  • Amazon API Gateway
  • AWS Route 53
  • Amazon ELB

AWS Analytics Services

AWS offers a comprehensive suite of analytics services to help organizations extract valuable insights from their data.These services cover various analytics needs, from big data processing to real-time streaming data analysis and traditional business intelligence, enabling organizations to harness the power of their data for informed decision-making and business growth. Here are some of the key AWS analytics services:

AWS Analytics Services
  • AWS Kinesis
  • AWS Athena

AWS Management Services

AWS provides a range of management services to help users effectively control, govern, and optimize their AWS resources. These services support efficient resource management, security, compliance, and cost optimization, enabling organizations to make the most of their AWS infrastructure. Here are some key AWS management services:

AWS Management Services
  • AWS CloudWatch
  • AWS CloudFormation
  • AWS CloudTrail

AWS Migration Services

AWS has many migration services to assist organizations in moving their applications and data to the AWS cloud. These services help streamline the migration process while minimizing downtime and ensuring a smooth transition. Key AWS migration services include:

AWS Migration Services
  • AWS Database Migration Service
  • AWS Snowball

AWS Security, Identity & Compliance Services

Amazon Web Services provides a comprehensive suite of security, identity, and compliance services to help users secure their AWS environments and meet regulatory requirements. Here are some key AWS security services:

AWS Security, Identity & Compliance Services
  • AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  • Amazon Inspector
  • AWS Shield

AWS Application Integration Services

AWS offers a range of application integration services to help organizations build scalable and resilient applications that connect with various AWS and external services. Here are some key AWS application integration services:

AWS Application Integration Services
  • Amazon SNS (Simple Notification Service)
  • Amazon Simple Queue Service

Applications of AWS

  • Storage and Backup: AWS offers a variety of storage services, including Amazon S3 for object storage, Amazon EBS for block storage, and Amazon Glacier for long-term archiving. These services provide secure, scalable, and cost-effective solutions for businesses to store and back up their data, ensuring data durability and accessibility.
  • Big Data: AWS provides a comprehensive suite of services for big data, such as Amazon EMR for data processing, Amazon Redshift for data warehousing, and AWS Glue for ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tasks. These tools enable organizations to collect, store, process, and analyze large volumes of data, unlocking valuable insights and supporting data-driven decision-making.
  • Enterprise IT: Enterprises use AWS for various IT needs, including hosting websites and applications, managing databases, and deploying virtual machines (EC2 instances). AWS’s reliability, scalability, and cost-efficiency make it an ideal choice for organizations to streamline their IT operations and infrastructure management.
  • Social Networking: Social media platforms like Netflix, Pinterest, and Reddit rely on AWS for their scalability and high availability. AWS provides the infrastructure to handle millions of users, deliver content in real time, and ensure a seamless user experience, even during traffic spikes.
  • Mobile Applications Deployment: AWS offers services like AWS Amplify, AWS Mobile Hub, and Amazon Cognito to support mobile app development. These services help developers with user authentication, data storage, and real-time notifications, simplifying the process of building feature-rich and user-friendly mobile applications.
  • Website Hosting: AWS hosts websites for businesses and individuals, leveraging its global network of data centers to ensure high availability and low-latency access. Services like Amazon CloudFront, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and Amazon RDS make it easy to deploy, manage, and scale web applications and sites.
  • Gaming: Game developers utilize AWS for online game hosting, content delivery, and player analytics. AWS GameLift, Amazon GameLift FleetIQ, and AWS Lambda support the creation and management of online games, ensuring seamless gameplay experiences for players, whether they’re playing on consoles, PCs, or mobile devices.

AWS Pricing Model

The AWS pricing model is designed to offer flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness for businesses and developers using cloud services. The AWS pricing model empowers businesses to align costs with their actual resource usage, scale resources up or down as needed, and optimize spending for their specific workloads and applications. It’s designed to provide cost transparency and control, making cloud computing accessible and affordable for a wide range of users. Here are the key components of AWS pricing model:

  • On-Demand: This is a pay-as-you-go model where you pay for compute capacity by the hour or second, with no upfront costs or long-term commitments. It’s ideal for workloads with variable demand, as you can start and stop instances as needed.
  • Reserved Instances: Reserved Instances (RIs) allow you to reserve compute capacity for a fixed term (1 or 3 years) in exchange for a lower hourly rate compared to On-Demand pricing. RIs are best suited for predictable workloads, providing significant cost savings.
  • Spot Instances: Spot Instances enable you to bid on spare Amazon EC2 instances, offering substantial cost savings compared to On-Demand pricing. They are well-suited for workloads with flexible resource requirements that can handle interruptions.
  • Free Tier: AWS offers a limited amount of free usage each month for a variety of services. This allows users to explore and test AWS without incurring costs, making it an excellent choice for those getting started.
  • Pay-as-You-Go: Many AWS services, including storage, databases, and analytics, follow a pay-as-you-go model. You are billed only for the resources you consume, giving you precise control over costs.
  • Per-Second Billing: AWS EC2 instances are billed per second, offering precise cost control for workloads with varying resource needs. You pay only for the compute capacity you use.
  • Cost Explorer: AWS provides tools like AWS Cost Explorer to monitor and analyze spending. This helps users understand their usage patterns, identify cost optimization opportunities, and manage expenses more effectively.
  • Budgets: Users can create budgets in AWS to set spending limits and receive alerts when costs approach predefined thresholds. This helps organizations stay within budget and avoid unexpected expenses.

Companies Using AWS

Here are the top 5 companies that extensively use AWS and the primary AWS services they rely on:

  • Netflix: Netflix is one of the most prominent AWS customers. They use a wide range of AWS services, including Amazon EC2 for content delivery and video streaming, Amazon S3 for data storage, and AWS Lambda for serverless computing. Netflix’s architecture is known for its reliance on microservices, making extensive use of Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon RDS, and Amazon Redshift for data management and analysis.
  • Amazon.com (Amazon Retail): Even Amazon’s own e-commerce platform relies on AWS. They use Amazon EC2 for web hosting and scaling, Amazon S3 for data storage, Amazon DynamoDB for database services, and Amazon RDS for managing relational databases. Amazon also uses AWS for machine learning and analytics through services like Amazon SageMaker and Amazon Redshift.
  • Airbnb: Airbnb uses AWS for hosting its website and managing its database. They leverage Amazon EC2 for web hosting and scaling, Amazon RDS for database management, and Amazon S3 for storing images and user-generated content. Additionally, Airbnb utilizes Amazon CloudFront for content delivery and Amazon Redshift for data analysis.
  • Slack: Slack, the popular collaboration platform, relies on AWS for hosting and scaling its services. Amazon EC2 is used for web hosting, while Amazon S3 is employed for data storage. They also make use of Amazon RDS for database management and AWS Lambda for serverless computing.
  • Lyft: Lyft, a ride-sharing platform, utilizes AWS to manage its backend infrastructure. They use Amazon EC2 for hosting and scaling services, Amazon RDS for database management, and Amazon S3 for data storage. Additionally, Lyft leverages Amazon Redshift for data analysis and Amazon Route 53 for DNS and domain management.

Conclusion

In summary, AWS is a cloud platform that’s changing the way we do things. It offers a bunch of services that help businesses run better and cheaper. From small startups to big companies, AWS is there to make things work in the digital world. It’s all about using the cloud to get things done. Whether you’re a big shot or just starting out, AWS has what you need to keep up with the digital age.

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About the Author

Application Architect

Rupinder is a certified IT expert in AWS and Azure, working as a DevOps Architect and specializing in cloud and infrastructure. He designs and builds entire IT setups for important apps in banking, insurance, and finance.