In March of 2006, Amazon released a revolutionary cloud computing service under the name Amazon Web Services, or AWS for short. Ever since then, thousands of businesses all across the globe have leveraged AWS’s potential to save on IT infrastructure costs and make the infrastructure itself more scalable, flexible and secure. But what is AWS offering in terms of specific services?
In this article, we’ll be looking into what cloud computing is, what exactly AWS offers, how it works and its main benefits and disadvantages – this is OMI’s ultimate overview of Amazon Web Services.
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is referred to as an offering of IT resource and infrastructure services delivered via the Internet. These services and tools, among other things, include compute services, databases, networking, data storage and analytics. Cloud computing has seen a big rise in popularity amongst businesses in recent years due to its numerous benefits such as cost savings and enhanced productivity, speed, efficiency, performance, and security.
This type of service has earned its name due to its nature of operating – storing the information remotely in the cloud or another virtual environment. This way, user data and applications are accessible from any device that can connect to the Internet, wherever the user may be.
What Is Amazon AWS?
Introduced in 2006 by Amazon, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a well-renowned cloud computing platform that gives organizations access to a variety of resource-centered tools and services. With numerous powerful capabilities, from virtual servers and databases to machine learning techniques and data analytics, AWS pledges to take full advantage of the cloud’s technology and make businesses of every size operate more efficiently.
Since its release, AWS has established itself as a top option for companies looking for adaptable and dependable cloud computing solutions because of its secure global infrastructure and a convenient pay-as-you-go pricing system. Such corporate giants as McDonalds, Facebook and Netflix are known to have used AWS to great effect for a number of years now; and more and more businesses, big or small, are also discovering the possibility of its implementation.
How Does Amazon AWS Work?
At its core, AWS uses a distributed cloud computing approach that makes the system very scalable. AWS is made up of a massive global network of data centers scattered across numerous locations – these data centers include physical servers, storage devices, and networking tools.
One of the most prominent AWS solutions is Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), a service provided that allows customers to set up virtual servers in the cloud. Users can choose the desired configuration, which may include the server’s type and size, its operating system, and other details. Simple Storage Service (S3), another popular AWS service, provides scalable and resilient object storage for data and files. Other than those two, AWS offers dozens more services – we’ll look at them in great detail in the later sections.
In order to start using AWS, you need to sign up for an AWS account and turn to the AWS Management Console to manage your resources and services such as.compute, storage, databases, networking, machine learning, and many others. Some basic capabilities are free of charge, but the vast majority of services are paid – the pricing model is pay-as-you-go.
Users of AWS are also free to select the geographical areas in which they wish their resources to be situated. To safeguard their data and applications, they can also benefit from a variety of security solutions, including network firewalls, encryption, and identity and access management (IAM).
AWS benefits are very many; below we’ve outlined the most important four:
If you use the conventional approach of dealing with data, you must create and maintain your own servers, which takes a significant amount of time and money. On the other hand, there is AWS, where you can set up your infrastructure very quickly and pay much smaller amounts.
AWS provides a pay-as-you-go pricing model, which allows companies to only pay for the services that they really need and use – for instance, only for the units they’ve used, similar to how they would pay their electricity bill. Moreover, AWS is a no-commitment service – it does not demand to be used for a set amount of time once you sign up and can be canceled at any time.
AWS is also well-known for its scalability. That is in many ways thanks to their AWS Auto Scaling service, which is able to continuously raise the capacity of resources in accordance with the needs of specific applications. Essentially, AWS makes it possible for you to start using more servers, if needed, in a matter of minutes.
AWS also works well with resource downsizing, not just upsizing. It can easily decrease the resource usage to match your needs if at some point you stop needing some of them. Additionally, AWS makes sure to always communicate to you how many resources you are currently utilizing, so you will never lose track of your usage.
Flexibility is another one of AWS’s strongest points – it enables you to choose and use specifically those web application platforms, programming languages, and operating systems that you are most familiar with. You can easily create your personalized virtual computing environment with the help of one of the AWS services like AWS EC2 through configuring your preferred operating systems and applications. On top of that, AWS is good at enabling quick and easy migration, so you start using your solutions in a brand new setting as quickly as possible.
Any organization that heavily relies on data will have security as its top priority, and AWS is aware of that. AWS offers a very secure architecture with several levels of data surveillance, including data security, data compliance, identification and access control, threat detection, and infrastructure protection. It enables companies to concentrate on business development without having to worry about maintaining their data privacy.
Disadvantages Of AWS
Despite being a hugely successful and highly reputable service, AWS does come with a number of downsides. Here are some of the most notable disadvantages of AWS:
Common Cloud Computing Issues
To start with, AWS sometimes can suffer from issues that are universal to all cloud computing services. Those are typically backup protection concerns, data leaking possibilities, privacy concerns, security risks, downtime, and a lack of direct control over the servers.
At the same time, AWS does its best to minimize these issues as much as possible – as stated above, the platform provides a great deal of flexibility, scalability and security to enable the best user experience possible.
AWS is a pay-as-you-go service, which is one of its strengths; however, the calculations for the fees that the platform uses may be overwhelming, especially for a small business owner who is not tech-savvy. Sometimes, to eliminate this issue, businesses are advised to work with AWS via a reseller.
However, with enough time dedicated to learning how the pricing model works and with the help of AWS’s special fee calculator, you can make sure billing doesn’t raise questions. What also helps is that Amazon is very open about their invoices – they’re known to be quite detailed and helpful for finding out what costs what.
Regional And Artificial Limitations
One of the biggest annoyances that companies may have with AWS is that it limits the amount of resources you have access to depending on what region you are in. AWS also will stop you from overusing resources and overspending as a new user, which may be a good or a bad thing. The upside is more protection for users, but If you want to start using and spending big from the get-go, you might find it difficult to do that.
For a better understanding of what exactly AWS is capable of providing, we’ve highlighted the following key services:
AWS provides a number of compute services as its core offering, the most well-known of which is Amazon EC2. Users can set up virtual servers in the cloud using EC2, which offers adaptable computing capacity for numerous running apps and services. For greater flexibility, users can select from a variety of operating systems, configurations and instance types; moreover, the platform supports easy scaling to accommodate changing workload requirements. Some other compute services include AWS Lambda for serverless computing, AWS Elastic Beanstalk for application deployment and management, and AWS Batch for batch processing operations.
AWS puts a lot of emphasis on security – on their website, AWS lists a total of 32 security services broken into 6 major categories: identity and access management, threat detection, data protection, network and application protection, compliance and incident response.
Some of the selected security services are:
- AWS IAM Identity Center for managing employee access to multiple AWS accounts and applications;
- Amazon Inspector for vulnerability analysis;
- AWS Shield for DDoS protection;
- Amazon Macie for sensitive data protection;
- Amazon Detective for visualizing and investigating security issues;
- AWS Artifact for on-demand access to AWS’ compliance reports.
Migration And Hybrid Cloud
AWS offers services like AWS Snowball and AWS Database Migration Service to make it easier to move your existing infrastructure, databases and applications to the cloud. Additionally, AWS provides hybrid cloud environment solutions that enable smooth integration of on-premises infrastructure with AWS. This is made possible through a service called AWS Outposts, while AWS Direct Connect also helps by creating dedicated network connections for dependable hybrid access.
Some of the core storage services are Amazon Elastic Block Store that offers block-level storage volumes for EC2 instances, Amazon S3 with its highly scalable object storage for retrieving data and Amazon Glacier that serves as a safe and dependable alternative for long-term data archiving. Other services include AWS Storage Gateway for integrating hybrid storage, Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) for scalable file storage, and Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive for cost-effective long-term storage.
AWS has created different offerings for managing different databases. For instance, Amazon RDS supports such well-known database engines like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle, while Amazon DynamoDB serves the NoSQL database. AWS also boasts Amazon Redshift, which is a fully managed data warehousing solution, and Amazon Aurora, a highly scalable and resilient relational database.
AWS users can build virtual private networks with precise control over IP addressing and routing using a service like Amazon VPC. There are also services that are meant to enable increased scalability and fault tolerance like Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) – it does its job by dividing incoming traffic among several instances. Lastly, the afore-mentioned AWS Direct Connect helps with linking on-premises settings to AWS.
AWS is also well-renowned for its tools for helping programmers create and deploy applications. Services like AWS CodePipeline automate the continuous integration and delivery process, while AWS CodeCommit enables fully managed source control. Other services such as AWS CodeBuild and AWS CodeDeploy are also great for application building and application deployment to EC2 instances.
A service like Amazon CloudWatch is great for management as it helps monitor resource usage, application performance, and operational health. Elsewhere, AWS Cloud Formation streamlines resource provisioning and management, while AWS Systems Manager powers . such operations as patch management and configuration management. Lastly, focusing more on recommending instead of doing, AWS Trusted Advisor gives valuable advice for reducing expenses, increasing security, and improving performance.
As one example of an analytics-focused service, Amazon EMR powers big data processing with the help of frameworks like Apache Spark and Hadoop. The afore-mentioned Amazon Redshift, on top of being a capable data warehousing solution, also provides potent analytics capabilities. Amazon QuickSight provides visualization and business intelligence, while AWS Glue makes it easier to integrate data from multiple sources for analytics purposes
Developers can create applications with features like facial recognition, object detection, and sentiment analysis using Amazon Rekognition’s image and video analysis services. Similarly, Amazon Lex enables the creation of conversational interfaces with the help of automatic speech recognition and natural language understanding. Also speech-related are services like Amazon Comprehend that enables natural language processing to get insights from unstructured text and Amazon Polly that offers text-to-speech capabilities.
Amazon AWS Pricing
So how much does AWS cost? The vast majority of AWS cloud services are offered to customers under a pay-as-you-go pricing structure. The massive amount of AWS services and the relatively complicated calculation models that Amazon uses for each service makes it impossible to provide a comprehensive list of AWS prices.
However, the good news is that Amazon has created a special AWS Pricing Calculator that will be of great assistance when trying to understand how much which service is going to cost. It also must be mentioned that AWS doesn’t demand lengthy contracts or burden with complicated licensing requirements. It’s a no-commitment service, meaning that you just pay for the services you really use, there are no additional costs or hidden fees, and the service can be canceled at any given time.
Companies Using AWS
AWS is, hands down, an industry leader. According to Statista, AWS accounts for 33% of the entire global cloud infrastructure market – more than anyone else (Microsoft has 22%, while Google has 10%).
That’s why it’s no surprise that AWS has been trusted with many big names, including but not limited to:
- General Electric
OMI Cloud Computing Services
The amount of AWS services covered in this article along with their functionality and benefits can be quite overwhelming, and it’s only natural. Our team at OMI understands the challenges that AWS migration can bring and are ready to assist you if you feel that you aren’t able to tackle all the intricacies on your own.
We can provide you with an audit of what AWS services your company can benefit from, and help you with their integration into your business processes, so that they’re all streamlined and contributing to your best performance and higher revenue streams.