Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been much a talk since more than a decade. The credit goes to technology giant Amazon. In 2006, Amazon started offering IT infrastructure services to business as Web-services. Which is commonly referred to as the “Cloud Computing” platform. In the early days of Amazon, they build infrastructure service to support their in-house E-Commerce portal amazon.com.
If you are not familiar with cloud computing then please read my post on “Overview of cloud computing” to get an idea.
Amazon Web Service (AWS) is the game changer for the Cloud Computing world. One of the key benefits of using AWS is the opportunity to replace upfront infrastructure expenses with low variable costs that can scale with your business. Which gave life to start-ups, small and medium-sized business to try out their luck in the world of technology. And without worrying about infra changes in case of the need to respond quickly to changing business requirements.
What is Amazon Web Services (AWS)?
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud computing platform which offers a broad set of cloud-based infrastructure service and products. Including compute power, database, storage, networking, developer tools, management tools, security, IoT, and application service. All of this including much more is available in seconds with a click of a button. AWS does the tedious job of installation, configuration, availability, scalability, and network setup in back.
Amazon Web Service (AWS) also offers pay-as-you-go pricing. You only pay for the service that you use and how much you use. So, you don’t pay extra when your system is idle or not being used.
Amazon has over 140 AWS service available that powers hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide. Amazon Web Service (AWS) are being used and available in 190 countries around the world and growing every day. Today, Amazon Web Service (AWS) is the pioneer of cloud computing without a doubt.
How to create an account?
To get started with Amazon Web Service (AWS), you would need to create an account first.
Here are the simple steps to create and activate an account:
- Go the AWS Home Page and click on Sign Up.
- Enter the requested information and continue.
- Choose type of account i.e. Personal Or Professional.
Note: There is no difference in the functionality of accounts, they are identical.
- Add personal/company information.
- Read the AWS Customer Agreement and check the box.
- Press create account and continue button.
You will receive an confirmation email from AWS that your account has been created. You can login now but you must continue with the activation of your account to use AWS service.
Add a payment method
- You will be requested to add the payment details like Credit card etc.
- Enter a new address or use existing and hit the Secure Submit button.
Verify your phone number
- Enter your phone number and make sure that the phone is reachable to you at the moment with incoming calls.
- Press call me now button and you will receive an automated call.
- Type the provided pin and let the process complete then continue.
Choose a Support plan
- Choose a Support plan from one of the available plans, see AWS Support – Plans.
- You will be confirmed that your account has been activated.
Note: It takes a few minutes to get your account activated but in the worst case, AWS may take up to 24 hours. During this time you can ignore the “Complete Sign Up”.
AWS Free Tier
One of the exciting features for the users is the Amazon Web Service (AWS) free tier. Amazon provides free access of AWS for a year with limited resources which you can use.
If you want to experience cloud computing or just want to play around then choose and use free services. But make sure that you use within the free limit.
Note: AWS Free Tier includes 750 hours of Linux and Windows t2.micro instances each month for one year. To stay within the Free Tier, use only EC2 Micro instances. We will talk about EC2 instances in our next post.
Here are few of many free services:
Tip: If you are using the free tier then always check the service before use. Make sure that you check the billing dashboard regularly daily/weekly.
You can create a free account here at “AWS Free Tier“.
AWS Cost Management
Amazon Web Service (AWS) cost management model is very flexible. You can predict the cost of your deployment before you actually do anything. As I mentioned earlier that AWS offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model so you only pay for the service you use.
Amazon Web Services(AWS) provides tools to help you to access, organize, understand, control, and optimize your AWS costs and usage.
Amazon provides the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator. You can use the TCO calculator to get an idea of the cost of your deployment or services that you are going to use. You can also compare the cost of running your applications in an on-premises or colocation environment to AWS.
Check the total cost of ownership with the TCO calculator.
On AWS billing dashboard you can view spend summary and the status of your month-to-date AWS bill. You can also check the specific service for how much you used and charged.
You will see three things on your spend summary dashboard:
- Last Month – Bill your last month.
- Month-to-date – Current balance as of now but final bill will come on the last day of the month.
- Forecast – Based on your current use and previous months uses AWS forecast the next month bill for you.
On Month-to-date dashboard you will see the list of service order by its usage and cost. This helps you know to manage the usage of your services.
Click to see your Billing dashboard. Note: Please make sure that you have created an account and logged in.
AWS management Console
AWS Management Console is a secured web interface to use the services. You can access and manage Amazon Web Services through its web-based user interface.
What you can do?
- Administer your account
- Find services
- View all available services
- Pin Service for shortcuts
Access to the AWS Management Console requires an existing account. If you have created your account and logged in then Access AWS Console.
Note: If you not able to access the AWS management console then please check the below things:
- You have an existing account
- Account has been activated from AWS
- Check the support browsers and platform.
Supported browsers and platforms
Below is the list of supported browsers and platforms to access the AWS management console.
What services AWS offers?
Amazon Web Service(AWS) offers more than 140 services. We will talk about a few frequently used of them. In a common application use case, you usually need the Compute power, database, storage, developer tools and networking service to connect services to each other. Further, you may need analytics, monitor etc. to know the health of your system.
AWS offers a wide range of computing services. We will only talk about a few of many which are highly used services:
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It’s secure and high on-demand scalability.
EC2 comes with many purchasing options like – 1) On-demand Instances 2) Reserved Instances 3) Spot Instances. You pay a very low rate for compute capacity you actually consume.
AWS lambda is a serverless deployment model. It lets you run your code in the required environment without provisioning the server. Lambda is one of the very famous compute service on AWS. Because you don’t need to take care of the infrastructure service and you pay only when your lambda function is running.
Lambda is so smart that you can trigger this in the response of some events from the other services. For Ex: Image uploaded in S3.
Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR) is a Docker container registry. It provides an easy way to manage, store and deploy Docker (Docker Images).
AWS Fargate allows you to manage your Docker containers without managing the servers and clusters.
AWS offers several scalable database services in the cloud. One of its very famous database services is RDS, you may have heard the name of this.
Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) is reliable, resizable and cost-efficient relational database service. RDS makes the database very easy to set up, manage and scale in the cloud.
RDS comes with familiar database engines – MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle Server, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, and it’s own Amazon Aurora.
Amazon Aurora is a relational database engine. It is compatible with MySQL and PostgreSQL relational databases. What makes it different from a traditional database engine is its speed.
As per AWS, Amazon Aurora is five times faster than MySQL and three times faster than the PostgreSQL. In addition to this Aurora provides automated database setup, patching, and backups.
Amazon Elasticache web-service provide in-memory cache in the cloud. It supports two well known open source caching engines:
Both of the above are highly used caching engines and has a large community base.
Storage service is one of the basic services of cloud computing. AWS offers a wide range of service like EBS, S3, EFS, and FSx for windows. These services are designed to provide you with 99.9999% durability. As most of the Amazon Web Services, the storage service is also scalable.
Amazon elastic block storage (EBS) provides persistent block storage to be used with Amazon EC2 instances. EBS provides low latency and consistent performance.
To protect from the component failure, Amazon EBS comes with auto replication of the volume in the availability zone.
Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is an object storage service. It can store any amount of data and protect. S3 fits well in a wide range of use case such as backups, website data, images, files, enterprise applications, IoT devices etc.
You can organize your data into buckets as per your need. Amazon S3 is being used by millions of users worldwide.
Amazon FSx for windows
Amazon FSx for windows file server provides a native Microsoft Windows file system. It’s built on the windows server and fully managed to provide shared file storage. Amazon FSx provides features and compatibility that your windows based system can rely on.
Content Delivery & Networking
It’s a very advanced service which requires expertise in networking to understand. The good thing is that AWS provides the user interface to do the setup which is very abstract and easy to use. If you have an elementary knowledge of networking then you can use these services.
Amazon CloudFront is a Content Delivery Network (CDN) service. It can deliver content with very low latency and high transfer speed.
Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) gives you the flexibility to provision logically isolated section of the AWS cloud. You can configure and launch your AWS resources within the virtual network you define.
You can create your own IP address ranges, subnets (public and private), route table, and network gateways etc. You have complete control over your virtual networking environment.
Amazon Router53 is a Domain Name Service (DNS) which is highly available and scalable. You can register a domain and manage them, it will automatically configure the DNS settings.
It’s also being highly used by the other Amazon services to connect the infrastructure running on AWS – like Elastic Load Balancing load balancers, Amazon S3 buckets, or EC2 instances.
Amazon API Gateway
With the Amazon API gateway, you can create API with few clicks in Amazon Management console and make then available for the outside world.
Amazon API gateway makes it very easy to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs at any scale. You can do almost all tasks that you do with traditional API gateways like authorization, authentication, request throttling, monitor, filtering and version management.
Amazon Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) manages and distribute the incoming traffic amongst multiple targets in AWS. It is auto-scaled, highly available and robust to make your application fault tolerant.
Amazon provides are three types of Elastic Load Balancer:
- Application Load Balancer
- Network Load Balancer
- Classic Load Balancer
Competitors of AWS
As I use to say that AWS made Cloud Computing so popular among the providers that most of the technology companies in America seems to be selling cloud computing.
Cloud Computing is one of the fastest growing business in the world of Internet technologies. There are several cloud computing platforms available but Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the most used cloud platform.
Here is the list of top five competitors of AWS (the list is based on the provider reputation, # of users and popularity over the internet: