Essential AWS products every app will benefit from

Amazon Web Services (or AWS) is the most popular cloud services provider worldwide. We review the essential AWS products that can be used to build any type of a web or mobile app

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Cloud computing is a central topics in the tech industry now. Researches state that 79% of companies’ workloads are run in the cloud, which is an incredible fact! And Amazon Web Services has dominated the market for over ten years, serving around 32% of all cloud infrastructure worldwide. The closest competitor of AWS, Microsoft Azure, serves only 14% of the market.

If you plan to build an application and host it in the cloud (which is almost a no-brainer nowadays), then AWS is the first service provider you should consider. This is not just the humble opinion of a small development company, but also the primary choice of well-known giants like Airbnb, Coursera, NASA, Adobe, etc. You can check out the success stories of companies that have implemented Amazon Web Services as their main cloud solution.

Amazon Web Services offer over 100 various products, which cover almost all possible use cases of cloud infrastructure. Some of them are truly universal, while others cover very specific requirements, enabling the development of unique applications based on the cloud infrastructure.

Essential cloud services for every type of application

All the applications are different and require different technologies to run properly. But there are several components that are essential for every type of app based in the cloud.

Everything starts with the cloud computing service - the product that enables your application to actually serve clients’ requests performing some computations. Databases are responsible for storing and quickly processing the app data. The application asset files are held in the cloud storage, making them accessible to users all over the world. However, server location can affect application speed due to higher pings. To diminish this negative impact, you can use CDN (Content Delivery Network) - the service that duplicates your app data on multiple servers and enables the user to access the nearest one, which reduces app loading time. The last essential component for any web app is DNS (Domain Name System) – a service that is responsible for translating domain names into numeric IP addresses.

Amazon Web Services offer many high-quality cloud infrastructure products to choose from. We are going to review the essential ones, those that will build the foundation of your future app and ensure robust, reliable and secure functioning in the cloud.

You can also click the links in the article to find out more about each service, use cases, stories from real AWS clients, and current pricing for every single service. So, let’s get started!

Cloud computing

Cloud computing is the core component of any kind of application. It allows you to rent the processor time needed for the application to compute different tasks.

AWS offers 10 different products in the domain cloud computing. EC2 and Lambda are the two most popular solutions and they have completely different approaches.

Amazon EC2

Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) provides elastic compute capacity and enables you to rent virtual machines that can run your application in the cloud. The word elastic in the name of the product refers to resource scalability. With EC2 you can expand or reduce the capacity you are paying for according to the current needs of the application in just a few clicks.

When using EC2 to host your application, you are charged on a per hour bases and the prices vary according to the type of instances and the parameters of the server, such as processor type, memory, storage options, accelerated graphics, and burstable performance. The cheapest plan will cost you $0,0059 per hour, while the price for an advanced server can reach up to $5,52 per hour for Linux-based servers. Windows as an operating system slightly increases the price. Different geographical regions also affect the costs of the instances.

Such flexibility allows you to choose the server that best fits your needs, expectations, and budget, of course. Besides, the hourly billing ensures that you don’t have to pay if your server is currently not being used. This seems like a reasonable option!

The Elastic Compute Cloud is a classical solution and will be a perfect match for literally any application. The creators of new applications choose it for the ease of configuration and low price. As the application starts to grow and attract users, it is easy to scale and increase the capacity of the server without any migrations or other inconveniences. It is also possible to combine different instance types for better scalability and reliability.

AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda is another Amazon compute product with one major difference: the EC2 service is based on virtual machines, while Lambda is an event-driven compute platform that runs the code in response to different triggers.

You can set up your code to trigger from user actions in the app, data changes, or to respond to the requests of other AWS services, such as S3, DynamoBD, CloudWatch, etc. As a result, you can build a serverless data processing system. With Lamda you also don’t have to care about scalability or backups - everything happens automatically with zero administration effort from your side.

The other nice thing about Lambda is the pricing. You pay only for what you actually use: for the number of requests sent to your code and the time during which the code is run. Amazon offers a free tier, which includes 1 million requests and 400,000 GB-seconds of compute time per month. This is enough to run a simple application, allowing you to try out the advantages of the service completely free of charge.

Lambda and EC2 are two services that allow you to reach the same goal in two different ways. The choice of the right solution depends mostly on the strategy the development team follows. If you have doubts concerning the choice between AWS computing products, we will be happy to investigate your business case and offer the right solution. Just drop us a line!

Cloud storage

Cloud storage is responsible for holding all the data for your application. This can be images, emails, backups, and any other type of the data your app is using.

Data in cloud storage is usually duplicated and stored on multiple servers to ensure seamless access to it despite possible breakdowns or other issues. Among other storage products on Amazon, there is one unquestioned leader.

Amazon S3

S3 stands for Simple Storage Service, and don’t let the word simple confuse you. It is one of the most powerful cloud storage services, allowing you to hold any amount of data from everywhere: websites, mobile apps, corporate systems, IoT software, etc.

S3 is an extremely reliable storage option that distributes the data across at least three physical facilities within one availability region. The system can also replicate the data to other AWS regions. This ensures constant data availability and stability for the website or application.

This service is extremely secure since it supports three different encryption methods, ensuring that the vulnerable data always remain safe.

Amazon S3 is also a part of a free tier offered by AWS in the first year for new customers. Upon sign-up you will receive 5 GB of Amazon S3 storage, 20,000 Get Requests, 2,000 Put Requests, and 15 GB of data transfer per month. After using the initial amount of free services, you will be charged according to the storage used. This AWS simple monthly calculator will help you estimate the costs of cloud-based storage with Amazon.

Cloud database

database is a structured set of data used by an application. Different types of databases have different structures. In a relational database, for example, the data is usually organized into rows, columns, and tables, making it easier to find relevant information and work with it. A document-oriented database, on the contrary, typically allows an arbitrary JSON structure. The data stored in the database can differ completely: user profiles, sales transactions, logistics reports, product catalogs and so on.

Amazon offers several cloud database services that solve different problems. Let’s take a closer look at them!

Amazon RDS

The Relational Database Service (RDS) is Amazon’s primary product for creating relational databases. It can be based on different types of instances and allows you to choose from several database engines: Amazon Aurora, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server. So, you can select the one you are already familiar with and not waste time learning a new engine. Besides, the AWS Database Migration Service will help you migrate your existing database to Amazon RDS without any complicated actions.

Amazon DynamoDB

DynamoDB is the choice for those seeking a NoSQL database. It is flexible in data structure, supports both document and key-value store models. Such flexibility and AWS scalability make DynamoDB a good match for mobile, web, tech, gaming, IoT and other types of applications.

The service is also fully managed, which means that you don’t have to worry about setup, configuration, software patching, etc.

Amazon ElastiCache

The main aim of Amazon ElastiCache is to help the application or website load faster by caching frequently requested data in a temporary location on the server. ElastiCache offers two caching engines, Memcached and Redis. If you already use a caching service with one of these engines, moving to ElastiCache won’t be an issue.

The service is also fully managed and doesn’t require any additional actions from the user’s side - it continuously monitors the clusters to detect and replace failed nodes, making ElastiCache highly reliable.

Networking services

Networking services are also essential components of a functioning application.

You should definitely use a Domain Name System (DNS) – a service that works as a translator between humans and computers. It translates human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses.

Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a service that can increase website loading speed by caching recently accessed resources in locations close to users. With this technology, the app data is stored on multiple servers across the globe. When the user tries to access the application, the nearest server responds, enabling the fastest data transfer.

And, not surprisingly, these essential networking services are offered by AWS as well!

Amazon Route 53

Amazon Route 53 is one of the top solutions for helping users and computers understand each other. The service converts the names like www.example.com into IP addresses, which are understandable for the machines. This enables Route 53 to easily connect user requests with AWS based infrastructure (EC2 instances, S3 buckets, etc.).

With Amazon Route 53, you can also purchase a domain name and the service will automatically configure DNS settings for your domains.

Amazon CloudFront

When selecting from a variety of available Content Delivery Networks, Amazon CloudFront is definitely one of the top picks. The service offers a global network that is constantly growing. Amazon infrastructure currently includes 44 Availability Zones within 14 geographical regions. In addition, CloudFront has another 82 edge locations and 11 regional edge cache locations. This enables the service to ensure seamless usage of your application for visitors from all across the globe. Besides, all apps in CloudFront are protected with Amazon Shield to secure them from DDoS attacks and other threats in the cloud.

Conclusion

There is no universal recipe for building an application. Different types and functionalities require implementation of different services and technologies. But, if you are about to build a cloud-based application, there are certain products you can’t deny. A reliable computing service, an expandable storage, a stable database - these are the essential components of an app. Choosing the right service provider determines the performance, speed, and security of the future application.

Amazon is a company with a strong reputation. Since 2006, when it began to deliver Infrastructure-as-a-Service, it remains the leader in the cloud solutions market. The reasons are quite simple: absolute reliability, easy and quick scalability, reasonable and fair pricing, and an impressive variety of services.

In this article, we described universal solutions that will help you build a stable basement for a great application. But Amazon Web Services are capable of doing much more!

If your application requires a specific approach due to unique or challenging features - don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to discuss possible cloud solutions and choose the services that will be a perfect match for your particular case.

Thanks for reading!

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