Amazon Web Services Introduction: all you need to know about the world’s largest cloud services provider

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In 1994, Jeff Bezos quit his position as a vice-president of a Wall Street company to develop his own idea. Leaving a well-paying and stable job seemed crazy then, but Jeff was convinced that his idea was worth it. While choosing the name for his project, he was thinking of the Amazon river - the largest river on the planet. His aim was to build the largest online store in the world. So, the name Amazon perfectly matched his newborn company.

Amazon started as a bookstore, and only a few years later one could buy anything on their website – ranging from CDs to furniture or electronics and more.

Around 2000, Amazon decided to convert their experience of running a successful online business in an e-commerce platform for other large retailers. This opened for the company the opportunity to deliver technical services to other businesses. In 2006, the first product of Amazon Web Services (AWS) was launched; the Simple Storage Service (S3) remains one of the most popular storage solutions even 11 years later. The history of AWS began.

Since 2012, Amazon Web Services is a subsidiary of Amazon, offering cloud computing services to small businesses, large enterprises, and governments.

Nowadays, Amazon Web Services is the world’s largest cloud computing service provider. It services 32% of the global cloud infrastructure market. Its nearest competitor is Microsoft with around 14%; IBM and Google follow.

What is the secret of AWS’s popularity? Why is the service ahead of the competition? Why do the world’s leading companies choose Amazon Web Services hosting for their websites and applications?

Let us introduce to you the leader of cloud computing!

What is Amazon Web Services?

As already mentioned, Amazon Web Services is a subsidiary of Amazon, mainly focusing on providing infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). The technology behind AWS provides the users with a virtual cluster of computers which can be accessed from anywhere at any time.

AWS Products and AWS Solutions. What’s the difference?

When visiting the Amazon Web Services website, you’ll definitely notice there are two sections: products and solutions. Though you might be confused at first, the difference between the two types of services is significant.

AWS Products is the list of different services provided by Amazon. They are divided into several domains, including Compute, Storage, Database, Networking & Content Delivery, Developer Tools, Management Tools, etc. Each domain includes multiple products. For example, among Databases you will find RDS, Aurora, DynamoDB, Redshift, ElastiCache, and AWS Database Migration Service. They are all designed to solve different problems and finding the best match for your particular need won’t be an issue.

AWS Solutions are more complex. These are actually sets of products gathered under a single classification to fit certain types of projects. Big Data, Internet of Things, Scientific Computing, E-Commerce and other types of applications can use the ready customized bundles created with the needs of the certain type of the app in mind. Industry sectors like Government, Gaming, Healthcare, and Science can also benefit from product bundles.

Amazon Web Services pricing

The pricing makes Amazon Web Services extremely attractive for individuals and small businesses. The company offers a one-year free tier, which includes a certain amount of services. Some AWS products are free forever. The world’s best cloud infrastructure provider offers, 25 GB storage in DynamoDB, 1 million requests per months in AWS Lambda, and 100 million events per month in Amazon Mobile Analytic at no extra cost forever. You can check out all the free Amazon Web Services products here.

12 months after sign-up or after exceeding the predefined amount of services, the Amazon Web Services require payment. Still, the prices are highly customizable and remain one of the lowest on the market.

AWS follows the “pay-as-you-go” model. This means that you pay only for the actual amount of services you use. No subscription, no packages, no fees, and no long-term contracts.

One of AWS’s most popular services, EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), offers highly flexible pricing. By choosing on-demand instances, you pay only for the instances you actually used. The cost of each instance varies from $0.0059 per hour with the lowest CPU and memory, up to $3.2 per hour with 64 CPU and 256 GB of memory. So, you can choose the plan that is the best match for your needs and stay within your budget.

Why choose AWS over the competitors? Advantages of the service

There are a lot of cloud services providers on the market but why do so many companies choose Amazon Web Services to host the infrastructure for their websites and apps? There are several compelling reasons for this:

  • Easy to start working with
    Even a beginner developer will be able to implement the Amazon Web Services infrastructure within a project. Short, 10-minutes tutorials are a great introduction to the service; the simple step-by-step guides prepared by Amazon will be very helpful for those building their first app with AWS.
  • Flexibility
    Amazon Web Services are highly customizable and allow you to choose an operating system (Linux or Windows), a programming language (literally any), a database, a web application platform, etc. Due to such flexibility, migrating from other cloud services to AWS is simple and building a new app using AWS will not limit the developer
  • Reliability
    Thousands of businesses trust AWS due to its high reliability. The company operates 44 availability zones in 12 regions, five more regions than their competitors with another 14 zones soon to become available. When one availability zones fails, the other within the same region takes over, so that the web app users never notice a breakdown. The developed infrastructure allows Amazon Web Services to be the most reliable provider of cloud computing services worldwide.
  • Scalability
    Is your business growing rapidly? The capability of your Amazon cloud services can be expanded in minutes with just a few clicks. Does your business have a temporary slowdown? You don’t have to pay for the resources you are currently not using. Amazon Web Services are customizable according to the actual needs of the business.
  • Cost-efficiency
    Amazon Web Services offer the first year of using the products free of charge. Some products remain free forever. The costs of paid AWS products are among the lowest on the market. Also, the fact that you are charged only for the amount of services you have actually used attracts a lot of customers. Besides, there are no subscriptions, no extra charges, and no termination fees. Such a billing model, with extreme flexibility, makes AWS a perfect choice for small businesses, corporations, and governments.
  • Security
    Data security is one of AWS’s priorities. All the data is stored in extremely secure data centers. You can also add an extra security layer by implementing data encryption.
  • Customer Service
    AWS offers several customer support plans. The basic 24/7 support is included free of charge. The advanced plans start at $29 per month and can reach up to several thousand dollars. For this solid sum of money, you can count on assigned support concierge and a technical account manager, who assist you in building the professional architecture and consult you in case of any questions. Additionally, there are Amazon Web Services Discussion Forums - where the community can exchange experiences, share their opinions and ask for help. As an AWS user, you will never feel alone with your problem.

Amazon Web Services - case studies that inspire you to switch

AWS has been on the market for over ten years. It has more than one million active users and among them are some truly prominent names. Here are examples of some worldwide recognized companies and institutions that already benefit from implementing Amazon Web Services.

NASA Image and Video Library

One of the major objectives of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is to make knowledge about the space available to everyone. Building a free Image and Video Library seemed like a perfect solution but turning this idea into a reality was no easy task. The volumes of images and video were huge and required building an independent data center and maintaining costly infrastructure.

Fortunately, Amazon cloud services were ready to help. AWS provided the products that made the big NASA library possible without significant up-front investments.

Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), offered the resizable computational capability. The service enabled NASA to scale up when the users are active and scale down when the load is lower. Not paying for unused resources allowed NASA to save a lot of money while still offering the best connection quality.

Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) was responsible for storing incoming media, metadata, and published assets.

ELB (Elastic Load Balancing) ensured distribution of the incoming traffic across multiple Amazon EC2 instances.

These and eight other Amazon Web Services products made the futuristic idea of the Images and Video library a real, attainable project. All this information about space is now available to everyone. Just visit the NASA Images and Video library to observe the stunning beauty of the Universe!

Coursera

Coursera is one of the biggest online educational companies worldwide. It enables anyone to have access to the top courses in different fields of study, regardless of where the person is currently located. Coursera has almost 10 million enrolled students from 195 countries. The total minutes of learning that Coursera has made possible are now far beyond 200 million.

To handle such an impressive amount of data, constantly uploaded and stored and while making it available to everyone everywhere, Coursera developers have implemented Amazon Web Services.

Using Amazon EC2 instances, the company can handle half of a terabyte of monthly traffic.

Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service) allowed Coursera to handle their scaling needs as the project began to rapidly grow.

AWS solutions for Coursera are a great example of a complex approach to solving complex tasks. Check out Coursera’s smooth learning process!

Airbnb

If you are a traveler, you definitely know Airbnb - the successful marketplace that connects property owners with their potential clients: people who travel, are on a business trip or just decide to change their living conditions for a few days. Since its days as a startup, Airbnb has shown incredible growth within the last years, and, surprisingly, has never faced any infrastructure scaling problems. This is due to AWS!

Since Airbnb was launched in 2008, it has used Amazon Web Services. In 2017, the service has over 150 million users, and AWS can still handle it. Airbnb uses multiple AWS products, among them EC2, RDS, S3, DynamoDB, ElastiCache, and Route 53.

Over 2 billion rows stored in RDS; 1000 EC2 instances; 50 TB of high-quality photos stored in S3. These are the numbers listed by Mike Curtis, VP of Engineering at Airbnb in 2013. Since that time, these numbers have been constantly growing, but the usage of Amazon Web Services enabled smooth scaling. Airbnb wouldn’t be able to achieve these heights without the high-quality cloud infrastructure!

Conclusion

Cloud computing is the technology of the future and Amazon Web Services is the company that brings this future closer to us right now.

We have to work with different types of apps. In our portfolio, there are marketplaces, order management systems, logistics applications, enterprise software, and many other products. Surprisingly, Amazon Web Services manages to satisfy the needs of all of them! So, when it comes to implementing cloud infrastructure, most of our projects lean on the servers of Amazon.

The products provided by AWS cover all the possible user situations and can perfectly fit any type of the project, be it a small company, an enterprise or a government institution. Besides, friendly Amazon Web Services pricing enables users to only pay for the amount of the services used, and the flexible infrastructure can be scaled in minutes right from within the browser.

Amazon remains the leader on the market of cloud computing and their consistent performance allows us to assume that it is going to only strengthen its position over time.

If you are looking for a reliable and scalable solution to host your website or app, then Amazon Web Services is the right choice!

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