If you are into business, you have heard of AWS (Amazon Web Services), as thanks to it, managing a business has become easier than ever. Especially when it comes to lowering other businesses’ overhead for server costs, as instead of building the infrastructure themselves, companies can now essentially rent the infrastructure from AWS, thus reducing the barrier to entry for innovators and entrepreneurs.
This article will introduce you to AWS and its most essential offerings that will help you understand this popular cloud platform.
What is Cloud Computing?
To understand Amazon Web Services, you must first understand what cloud computing is? So, here’s a bit basic definition:
“The practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.”
What are Amazon Web Services?
Amazon Web Services is a comprehensive, easy-to-use cloud computing platform offered by Amazon. The highly profitable Amazon division provides servers, storage, networking, remote computing, email, mobile development, and security. AWS is so large and present in the computing world that it has captured almost half (47.8%) of the total market share, significantly ahead of its nearest competitor. It hosts popular websites like Netflix Inc and Pinterest.
Also, it’s a pay-per-use model, meaning users only pay for the services which they wish to use, making this platform very cost-effective, since the less you use, the less you’ll pay, and the more you use, the less you’ll pay per unit.
That’s not all. The applications that you provision in AWS have other benefits, such as:
- They are very reliable since they run on a precious and safe infrastructure.
- They have very high-performance scalability since they run on an on-demand infrastructure.
- They are very flexible due to the designs and the design options available on the cloud.
Before we get down to its services, let’s first take a brief look at the history of Amazon Web Services.
A Brief History of Amazon Web Services
Back in the old days, companies were utterly dependent on purchased servers; they had to buy the servers and needed a data center, a place to host the servers, and an IT team to run everything. Redundant power, backups, and temperature control (to keep machines cool) were additional requirements. The more the business grew, the more resources, time, and effort were needed to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Although big-scale organizations could still afford to build this entire infrastructure despite the costs and risks attached, the same was impossible for small-scale companies and entrepreneurs & innovators.
Amazon was one of the first to get its hand into the e-commerce pie. AWS was not something they planned; instead, it grew out of their need to build that infrastructure for themselves. Jeff (Amazon’s CEO) made it a compulsion for every department of his company to act as its mini-company; if they needed something from another department such as data or resources, they had to build an enterprise-grade interface to retrieve it. They took this idea (with a lot of dough and resources) to build data centers with everything from hardware to IT teams and made them available to other companies.
AWS was launched in 2002. However, it was officially launched in 2006 as a cloud storage system and captured the markets by expanding into the cloud computing platform; today, it provides servers, storage, networking, remote computing, email, mobile development, and security. The highly profitable Amazon division can be divided into two major components EC2, S3, and Amazon storage system. It has extended its boundaries across 20 global regions and hosts popular websites like Netflix Inc and Pinterest.
It’s a more prosperous and more viable cloud computing platform that makes it easy for large-scale organizations to get a foothold in the technology space and enables small-scale companies and entrepreneurs & innovators to get into the game.
The continuous innovations and launching of new services and products is another reason why it’s so successful. Some of its new business solutions and services include Amazon Aurora, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Lambda, Amazon Lightsail, Amazon SageMaker, and so forth.
AWS has now captured almost half (47.8%) of the total market share, significantly ahead of its nearest competitor.
- 2002: AWS was launched since Amazon wanted to sell its remaining unused infrastructure as a service or offering to customers.
- 2006: After the excellent reception of AWS, Amazon went ahead and launched its first AWS product, four years after the idea was first floated.
- 2012: Amazon held its first customer event aimed at collecting customer input about AWS.
- 2015: Amazon revealed that AWS pulled in $4.6B in revenue.
- 2016: AWS surpassed the $10B revenue target.
- 2019: Today, AWS offers customers more than 100 products and services.
Services That AWS Offers
An essential cloud computing technology, AWS provides dozens of business purpose global cloud-based services, ranging from standard servers that host websites to databases storing persistent data, all the way to robotics, game development, and Augmented Reality. Some of AWS’s most essential offerings are:
It provides a fast and reliable way to store things and is the cheapest storage option available in the object storage category. These “things” can be anything you want; videos, images, documents, and so forth; also, you can retrieve them from the internet whenever you want.
AWS Data Transfer Products
AWS Data Transfer Products are migration and data collection & transfer products that help users collect data seamlessly. They also enable users to monitor and analyze data in real-time.
Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud)
Cloud computing is not new. In the old times, whenever you wanted to host something, let’s say an application or a database, you’ll have to do it on actual hardware of some sort. Depending on your needs, this setup could come with a pretty high cost or risk. Now, what Amazon EC2 does is that it allows you to rent resizable computing capacity based on your needs or forecast so that you can avoid the risk and cost mentioned above. The primary purpose of this service is to make web-scale cloud computing more accessible.
Amazon SNS (Simple Notification Services)
This is a notification service tool that enables users to send messages (through email or SMS) to many subscribers. You can send service notifications, alarms, and other messages through the SNS service.
Amazon KMS (Key Management System)
This is a security tool that makes it easy for you to create and manage keys and control the use of encryption across a wide range of AWS services and in your applications. AWS KMS is a secure and resilient service that uses hardware security modules that have been validated under FIPS 140-2, or are in the process of being validated, to protect your keys.
With this service, you are not required to pay for the infrastructure; the cost is based on usage time, meaning you pay only for the time it takes to execute your code. This tool is a big cost-saver that can save you a lot of money compared with other services that charge hourly.
This is a DNS service in the cloud that doesn’t require you to maintain a separate DNS account. This service provides businesses with a reliable and cost-effective method to route users to internet applications.
Benefit of AWS
On the Go Pricing
AWS was the first to introduce pay as you go cloud computing model, meaning that you pay only for the services you wish to use; you need not sign up for expensive contracts. Making this platform very cost-effective, since the less you use, the less you’ll pay, and the more you use, the less you’ll pay per unit.
Traditional hardware, for the most part, goes unutilized for 90% of its lifecycle. AWS helps deal with this problem by keeping it cheap during the slow times.
The Free Tier
The free tier allows people who are leery of using the AWS suite due to the cost associated with “playing around” to figure it out, to have a go at it without paying any money, and see if it fulfills their needs.
The AWS Free Tier allows customers to explore and try out AWS services free of charge up to specified limits for each service. The Free Tier comprises three different types of offerings, a 12-month Free Tier, an Always Free offer, and short-term trials.
Scalable and Adaptable
Since AWS’s cost is modified based on the customers’ usage, hence, as mentioned before, it enables small-scale companies, and entrepreneurs & innovators to get into the game too. AWS is perfect for building a business from scratch as it provides all the tools necessary for companies to start up with the cloud. It offers low-cost migration services for existing companies so that their current infrastructure can be seamlessly migrated to AWS.
As a business grows, AWS provides all the necessary resources to aid in expansion. As the business model allows for flexible usage, customers will never need to think about whether or not they need to reexamine their computing usage.
AWS is undeniably the most trusted and secure cloud computing service provider. AWS has a global presence; its data centers are spread across continents and are fully secured & free from intrusions. The diversification of the data centers ensures that a disaster striking one region doesn’t cause a permanent data loss worldwide.
Security remains its uncompromised aspect which is very stringently monitored and maintained; any sign of threat is quickly identified and resolved at the earliest; however, the same can’t be said for a small company whose computing is handled by a single IT guy working out of a large office.
If you’ve ever had to provision a hosted web service, you know this pain very well. Traditional providers take anywhere from 48-96 hours to provision a server. AWS shrinks that deployment time to minutes. Then you have to spend a few hours tweaking it and getting everything tested.
The services mentioned above are not all; the list is too long. I just said the essential ones. Trust me; Amazon Web Services has solutions for all sorts of scenarios and allows users to choose accordingly. And that’s why it’s popular; with a presence in over one-hundred-and-ninety countries and over a million active customers, AWS is the number-one choice in cloud computing services for businesses across the globe. Also, since more and more companies are moving to AWS, it’s creating tremendous employment opportunities for developers, so if you are a developer, I’ll advise you to get yourself into the world of AWS cloud computing as soon as you can.