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What is AWS (Amazon Web Services)? Its Uses and Services

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31st Jan, 2024
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    What is AWS (Amazon Web Services)? Its Uses and Services

    In continuous technological development, cloud computing has been the bridge between extensive cloud services and business models. With help from these services, companies can make fantastic products using the pay-as-you-go option. From several perspectives, AWS has been the best cloud service provider for businesses worldwide. If you’re wondering what is AWS, you have come to the right place.  

    AWS is one of the major players in the international cloud market. As per Statista, AWS is Amazon’s largest source of revenue, posting net sales of USD 88 billion in 2023 compared to USD 80 billion in 2021. In this blog, I will explain what does AWS stand for in technology and its working while also getting a brief about the types of services it provides. To advance your career in Cloud Computing, enroll in online Cloud training software course.    

    What is AWS? 

    Do you also wonder what AWS is? AWS is the cloud platform that Amazon offers on-demand self-service to customers with a pay-as-you-go model. The AWS platform offers over 200 highly effective services distributed across the world’s data centers.  

    Being highly extensive, what does AWS stand for is its readily available cloud services, which is the most comprehensive cloud computing system in the world. According to research, AWS had over 32% of the market share in Q1 2021, compared with Microsoft’s 20%, with Google Cloud at 9%. 

    The company can store its servers in 81 availability zones at AWS. The provider's areas are divided for users to restrict services by geographical limits and as security measures for data storage location diversity. 

    How Does AWS Work? 

    Now that I have explained what is AWS amazonlet’s understand how it works. Before I take you on a dive in too deep with AWS, remember it does have physical sites to store the data for each region. Its cloud capability utilizes its data centers already set up in all these areas and operates through fibre optic lines. 

    Understanding what are Amazon Web Services and how they work depends on modular units in providing solutions for each requirement. The explanation by TechTarget is that AWS is designed into a series of services that have various configuration possibilities depending on the specific needs required by the user. A user must always see a single server map and a set of configuration choices related to an AWS service. 

    What makes this global infrastructure so vital? This implies that you will always have connectivity to high-speed, trusted cloud solutions wherever you find yourself. Exploring what is AWS web services also helps build up redundancy and fault tolerance whenever there is a breakdown in one region or availability zone. 

    What are the Uses of AWS?
    AWS Uses

    Currently, AWS is powering much of the infrastructure of the internet. The platform contains everything that you might need for your small, mid-sized or large corporation. Here are a few business advantages of using AWS:

    1. Simple Storage Service: Amazon AWS provides S3 or Simple Storage Service that can be used for sharing large files or small files to large audiences online. Depending on the web server type that you are using, you can quickly run out of resources as sharing huge volumes of data online is very expensive. AWS provides cloud storage for your use that offers scalability for file sharing.

    2. Simple Email Service: When you want to send emails to thousands of customers, you can’t just use an email service like Outlook or Gmail. Even if somehow you manage to send out the emails, email providers like Yahoo and Gmail will treat them as spam messages. Simple Email Service of Amazon is able to handle such transactional emails at an affordable cost.

    3. CloudFront: Web data is transferred from a central server to an edge server’s distributed network which is closer to the location of the end-user. This task is performed by the Content Delivery Network or CDN. This distributes the website traffic loads better, improving the load times and providing a better experience for the end-user. Large CDNs are expensive. Amazon’s CDN service, CloudFront manages to bring everything under a single room and with no limit to its scalability.

    4. Website hosting: AWS offers the advantage of not worrying about exceeding the allocated usage of resources. Hosting a website on AWS might not be a one-click installation but its scalability makes it perfect for hosting different websites.

    5. File sharing system: Normally, in a large company, one central drive is used by all the computers for storing and sharing files with other members of the team. AWS offers a file-sharing system that is best suited for an organization with employees around the world. Once you set everything up, it works on scale forever. You will never run out of drive space and you will have access to the files from anywhere in the world.

    Here are some other advantages of incorporating AWS in your business:

    • It allows the organization's usage of familiar operating systems, architectures, databases, and programming models.
    • There are no long-term commitments or up-front payment. You only pay for what you use which makes it a very cost-effective service.
    • You don’t have to spend a single penny to run and maintain data centers
    • With AWS services, you can enjoy faster deployments.
    • Adding or removing capacity is very easy.
    • You can quickly get access to the cloud with limitless activity.
    • Compared to private servers, the cost of ownership is low.
    • AWS services have hybrid capabilities.
    • It offers centralized management and billing.
    • Deployment of applications in several regions across the world is possible with just a few clicks.

    What are AWS Components?

    1. Data Management and Data Transfer

    To run HPC applications in the AWS cloud, you need to move the required data into the cloud. There are several data transport solutions designed to securely transfer huge amounts of data. This overcomes issues like a long time for transfer, high network costs, and security concerns. Also, you can automate the movement of data between the AWS cloud and on-premises storage. There are options for establishing a private connection to the AWS from your premises. This increases bandwidth to provide more throughput, reduces the cost of the network, and provides a consistent network experience.

    2. Compute & Networking

    There are several compute instances types that can be customized according to your needs. It also handles monitoring your application and adjusting its capacity for maintaining a steady and predictable performance at an affordable cost. Also, setting up application scaling across multiple services for multiple resources takes a few minutes. Enhanced networking options from AWS allow achieving lower inter-instance latency and higher bandwidth. 

    3. Storage

    When looking for an HPC solution, you need to consider the storage options and cost. There are several flexible blocks, object, and file storage options in AWS services that allow permanent and transient data storage. It allows allocating storage volumes according to the size you need. You can store and access and data type over the cloud without doing a data migration project. Also, with AWS services, you can transfer your workload to the cloud from on-premises.

    4. Automation and Orchestration

    For using the infrastructure efficiently, you need to automate scheduling submitted jobs and the job submission process. AWS services allow you to run thousands of batch computing jobs through the dynamic provision of the computer resources on the basis of the requirements.

    5. Operations and Management

    As a system administrator, you are responsible for avoiding cost overruns and monitoring the infrastructure. There are several management and monitoring services that allow you to optimize utilization of resources, monitor the application, get a complete view of operational health, and respond to the performance changes.

    6. Visualization

    With the AWS services, you can easily visualize the engineering simulations’ results without moving huge amounts of data. Now, you can access the interactive applications remotely over a standard network and deliver application sessions to any workstation.

    7. Security and Compliance

    For running applications on the cloud, you need to have an understanding of regulatory compliance and security management. There are several quick-launch templates and security related services offered by AWS that helps in protecting data and customer privacy by putting strong safeguards in the AWS infrastructure.

    AWS Services
    AWS Services

    Here I am–after getting an idea of what is AWS for amazon, it is time that I explain the types of services that AWS provides globally:

    1. Compute Service:

    The compute service of AWS assists in application creation, implementation, and growth within a cloud environment.

    AWS EC2:

    • AWS EC2 is a cloud computing web service where developers can rent virtual machines. It provides various instances in which one can configure resource allocation according to their needs as a developer.
    • Scales compute capacity automatically according to the workload demand, providing flexibility and efficiency.

    AWS Lambda:

    • When understanding what is AWS used for, it’s essential to know the AWS lambda for compute services. It is a service that runs code within application code through a serverless computing system. It eradicates the requirement of handling servers, is scalable according to demands, and is extensible in diverse supported programming languages.
    • For instance, it enables hassle-free code execution, is dynamically scalable, and supports multiple programming languages.


    2. Storage

    Exploring what is AWS amazon web services and its storage services provide a range of storage options depending on how users can access their data.

    • Amazon S3: Amazon S3 is an object-level storage built with web development, backup, and archive in mind. Its capacity for storing an immense number of data objects is high. The latter offers speedy data access, versioning, and lifecycle data management for effective data control.
    • Amazon EBS: Storage is an integral part of what is Amazon Cloud Services. Amazon EBS is a persistent block store for ec2 instances. This provides high-speed storage volumes for continuous data, allows for simple and versatile volume administration, and accommodates multiple utilization scenarios such as database and file system stores. Its features include capabilities of high-performance storage, volume management flexibility, and versatility across various applications.

    3. Database

    The managed database services supported by the AWS include numerous engines for easy deployment and management.

    • Amazon RDS: A cloud-based managed database that encompasses MySQL, Postgresql, and Oracle. It automated database operations, including backup, patching, and scalability for mission-critical systems at highly available and durable standards.
    • Amazon DynamoDB: Low latency and high throughput for fully managed nonstructured databases service. It auto-scales according to demand, and thus, it is perfect for applications whose workload can change or be unpredictable.

    4. Networking and Delivery of Content

    The next service that I’ll explain is the networking and content delivery. AWS provides networking and content delivery services that guarantee the safe transmission of data.

    Amazon VPC:

    • Amazon VPC helps create isolated network environments within a virtual cloud. It allows users to set their network architecture, assign IP addresses and subnets, and configure security parameters. You can go for reputed Cloud Architect certifications to understand these services better. 
    • Support for adjustable network systems, customized IP addresses, and safe interaction between different resources.

    Amazon CloudFront:

    • Amazon CloudFront is an exceptional AWS service that has accelerated content delivery through the content delivery network (CDN). It distributes content globally to lower latency, offers DDoS protection, and collaborates efficiently with other AWS services to facilitate content delivery.
    • Globally distributed content delivery, mitigation of DDoS attacks, and smooth API integrations of other AWS services.

    5. Security Tools

    Grasping what is AWS along with its security tools, provides security-aware resource protection tools and services to ensure that it secures resources and keeps its data safe.

    AWS IAM:

    • Identity and Access Management for authorized use of AWS services. It is concerned with managing user identities and their permissions, defining policies for fine-grained ACLs, and ensuring general security through the concept of “least privilege.”
    • User access control, policy-driven approach to authorization, and compliance with the principle of least privilege.

    AWS KMS:

    • Secure encryption key management through a Key Management Service. It allows you to manage the cryptographic keys used by various AWS services, works with other AWS services on data encryption, and maintains audit reports related to these keys.

    6. Developer Tools

    Leveraging the benefits of what is AWS and its developer tools can streamline the development processes. It smooths the software development lifecycle with integrated solutions that promote continual integration and delivery.

    AWS CodePipeline:

    • AWS CodePipeline is a CI/CD that is a continuous integration and delivery service. The process automatically completes the build, test, and deployment phases in development. It integrates with other AWS services and external tools and presents a single visualized version of the release process. 
    • According to me, an AWS Solution Architect Associate can help you understand and work more clearly. They can help automate CI/CD, integrations with other tools, and graphical views of the release process.

    AWS CodeCommit:

    • Secure and scalable Git repositories that support collaborative software development workflows and integrate with other AWS developer tools for smooth codemanship.
    • It offers secure source control hosting, collaborative workflows, and easy integration of other AWS developer tools.

    7. Management Tools

    Companies benefit from knowing what is AWS as it helps to understand the management tools it provides for monitoring, automation, and resource optimization.

    Amazon CloudWatch:

    • AWS resource monitoring and observability service. It monitors and records metrics, logs, and events, triggers alerts if resource metrics change, and implements auto-responses to resource variations.
    • It supports managing metric collections and tracking, alarm setting, and automatic response to resource alterations. Cloudwatch comes under the management and workshop tools as per amazon.

    AWS CloudFormation:

    Using an IAC tool allows resources to be automatically delivered through templates that describe, deploy, and manage AWS infrastructure. This methodology enables versioning of infrastructure updates and offers a standard deterministic means of resource arrangement. Since this comes in a critical context, understanding what is AWS becomes essential for effective implementation and management.

    Want to know about certifications offered by Amazon? We have listed some of the best AWS Certifications in detail for you.

    AWS Products

     Here is a list of products from AWS:

    1. For computing

    • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) provides compute capacity through virtual servers known as instances. These instances are of different sizes and capacities that are customized according to your application and workload, like accelerated-computing or memory-intensive jobs.
    • There is also an auto-scaling tool used for dynamically scaling capacity to maintain performance and health.
    • The EC2 Container Registry and Amazon EC2 Container Service are used for enabling customers to work with images and Docker containers on the AWS platform.
    • AWS Lambda is used for carrying out serverless functions that can run services and applications automatically.
    • There is also AWS Batch that processes jobs and Amazon Lightsail that offers private, virtual servers.

    2. For storage

    • The Amazon Simple Storage Service or S3 is used for providing scalable object storage for backup, analytics, and archival. The data and files are stored as S3 objects inside the S3 bucket that can be as large as 5 GB.
    • The Infrequent Access storage tier and Amazon Glacier are services of S3 that can be used as long-term cold storage at an affordable cost.
    • The Amazon Elastic Block Store is used for providing block-level storage to persistent data that is used with EC2 instances.
    • For managed file storage based on cloud, you can use the Amazon Elastic File System.
    • There are several transport devices like AWS Snowmobile and Snowball that can be used for transferring data to the cloud.
    • You can even allow the on-premise apps access to the cloud data through the AWS Storage Gateway.

    3. For data management

    • Through its Amazon Relational Database service, AWS is able to provide managed database services. In this, there are options for SQL Server, Oracle, MariaDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Amazon Aurora.
    • It also offers NoSQL databases with the help of Amazon DynamoDB.
    • If you want to use in-memory data caches for your real-time applications, you can try Amazon DynamoDB and ElastiCache.
    • Amazon Redshift is a data warehouse that makes performing business intelligence tasks easy for data analysts.

    4. For Migration

    • If you want to migrate data, servers, databases, or entire application on the cloud, AWS offers several tools and services to do so. For monitoring and managing migrations to the cloud from on-premises, you can use the AWS Migration Hub.
    • Once your data or application is in the cloud, the EC2 Systems Manager helps in configuring AWS instances and on-premises servers.
    • For easing the hybrid cloud deployments, Amazon has partnered with different technology vendors. For example, Red Hat Enterprise Linux allows extending the operating system of the Red Hat to the AWS cloud.
    • Similarly, VMware Cloud is responsible for bringing data center technology that is software-defined to the AWS cloud.

    5. For Networking

    • To gain administrative control on the virtual network for using an isolated section of the cloud, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) can be used. In a VPC, for extra protection, new resources are automatically provisioned. 
    • With load balancing tools offered by AWS like Network Load Balancer and Application Load Balancer, network traffic can be balanced.
    • Also, you can route end users to the application with the help of Amazon Route 53, a domain name system.
    • Via an AWS Direct Connect, you can establish a connection from the AWS cloud to the on-premises data center.

    6. For Development

    • The AWS software development kits (SDKs) and command-line tools are used for deploying and managing services and applications.
    • Tools like Powershell are used for managing cloud services from a Windows environment.
    • For simulating an AWS environment and testing Lambda functions, you can use the AWS Serverless Application Model. 
    • There are different SDKs available for different programming languages and platforms like Python, PHP, Java, Ruby, Node.js, C++, iOS, and Android.
    • The development team creates, manages, and monitors custom APIs through Amazon API Gateway that allows the applications to access functionality and data from back-end services. It is also used for managing thousands of API calls simultaneously.
    • The Amazon Elastic Transcoder is used as a media transcoding service and AWS Step Functions are used for visualizing workflows in applications based on micro-services.
    • To evaluate the performance of such applications, AWS X-Ray is used.
    • For creating continuous delivery and continuous integration pipeline, the development team can use services like AWS CodeDeploy, AWS CodePipeline, AWS CodeStar, and AWS CodeBuild.
    • With the help of AWS CodeCommit, you will be able to store code in Git repositories.  

    7. For Management

    • With services like AWS Config and AWS Config rules, managing and tracking of cloud resources configuration are done.
    • When used with AWS Trusted Advisor, the team can avoid expensively and improperly configured cloud resource deployments.
    • There are several tools for automation as well. For example, for automating system and infrastructure configurations, you can use Chef and AWS OpsWorks.
    • For automating the provisioning of infrastructure, you can use the AWS CloudFormation templates. 
    • AWS Personal Health Dashboard and Amazon CloudWatch are used for monitoring resources and health of the application.
    • To retain API calls and user activity for auditing, AWS CloudTrail is used.

    8. For Security

    • For Cloud Security, there is a range of services offered by AWS like the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) that allows defining and managing resources for user access.
    • The admin can also use the Amazon Cloud Directory for creating a user directory or connect the Microsoft Active Directory to the cloud resources through AWS Directory Service.
    • There are tools available that can assess the potential risks of security automatically. The AWS environment is analyzed for vulnerabilities that can affect compliance and security using the Amazon Inspector.
    • Amazon Macie is used for protecting sensitive cloud data through machine learning technology.
    • There are also several services and tools that offer encryption, protection against DDoS attacks, filtering harmful traffic, and provisioning Transport Layer and Secure Socket Layer Security certificates.

    9. For Big data

    • Amazon Elastic MapReduce is responsible for processing a large amount of data through the Hadoop framework.
    • For processing and analyzing streaming data, you can use Amazon Kinesis.
    • You can handle extraction, transformation, and loading jobs with the help of AWS Glue.
    • The team can perform log analysis and application monitoring through Amazon Elasticsearch Service.
    • You can query the data using Amazon Athena for S3 and then, use Amazon QuickSight for visualizing data.

    10. For Artificial Intelligence

    • There are several services available for AI-based applications and AI model development and delivery platforms. The Amazon AI suite of tools has Amazon Polly for text-to-speech translation, Amazon Lex for voice, and Amazon Rekognition for image and facial recognition.
    • Developers can use AWS services for building smart apps that rely on complex algorithms and machine learning technology. For creating and training custom AI models with compute-optimized instances and clusters of GPUs, you can use AWS Deep Learning AMIs.
    • For MXNet and TensorFlow, there are deep learning development frameworks offered by AWS.
    • Also, the Alexa Skills Kit is used for creating voice-based apps for Echo devices. 

    11. For Mobile Development

    • For mobile developers, AWS offers Mobile Hub that contains AWS Mobile SDK that can provide libraries and code samples.
    • Amazon Cognito is used for managing user access to mobile apps.
    • For sending push notifications to end-users and analyzing the effect of those communications, Amazon Pinpoint is used.

    12. For Messages

    • The messaging service provided by AWS offers core communication for application and the users. For sending, receiving, and storing messages between different components of the distributed applications, a managed message queue is used named Amazon Simple Queue Service. This ensures that all parts of the application are working as intended.
    • The Simple Notification Service (SNS) of Amazon allows a business to send pub-sub messages to end-users or services. This also has a mobile messaging feature used for pushing messages to mobile devices.
    • For sending and receiving mails between the marketers and IT professionals, Amazon Simple Email Service is used.

    13. For other services

    • SaaS options are used for business productivity. Amazon enables text-based chats and online calls and video meetings through Amazon Chime service.
    • Amazon WorkDocs are used to store and share service.
    • Amazon WorkMail is a mail service for business purposes with calendaring features.
    • For streaming and desktop application services, Amazon WorkSpaces is used.
    • Amazon AppStream allows streaming of a desktop application to the web browser of the end user from the AWS.
    • For Internet of Things (IoT) deployments, there are several services offered by AWS. For managing IoT devices and ingesting data into storage and database services, AWS IoT service is used.
    • AWS Greengrass is used for bringing AWS compute capabilities to the IoT devices.

    Applications of AWS 

    What is AWS in amazon that enables companies, regardless of size or industry, to create complex applications? I’ll explain some common AWS applications: 

    • Storage and Backup: A Cloud-Computing service also needs storage and backup. Exploring what are AWS services, such as Amazon Simple Storage Service for storing large-scale data or backup services like AWS Backup for taking backups of the same data stored in some other AWS services is provided by AWS. 
    • Enterprise IT: What AWS can do? It excels in handling all types of enterprise IT as per my research. Using AWS, businesses can create prototypes of their secondary operations, launch projects quicker, and bring innovation into the marketplace. 
    • Big Data: If you’re wondering what is the use of AWS- one of them is big data. Suppose big data is generated unrestrainedly without notice. In that case, a business can still manage to store its data using AWS, which offers scale-in and scale-out capabilities and infinite storage. 
    • Mobile Apps: Application of what is AWS used for–well mostly in mobile apps and web apps. With AWS, you can build an app in any programming language. Keep your apps up on a rock-solid compute, storage, database, and application service. 
    • Infrastructure Software: Now, with AWS and AWS Marketplace Independent Software Vendor, users can easily extend their networks to improve safety and scalability for expansion. In addition, if you’re still wondering “what are AWS, my simple answer is that it assists its customers in reducing information technology costs and protects a person’s data from damage due to physical or logical errors. 

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    Advantages and Disadvantages of AWS

    Advantages of AWS

    • Scalability: With AWS, businesses can scale their operations easily to application needs, saving time and money that would otherwise have been spent making huge initial investments into unnecessary resources.
    • Global Reach: AWS maintains low-latency access through its vast global infrastructure network with many data centers worldwide. This allows users to deploy their apps near the end-users for an improved experience. If you want to get started with AWS, I advise you to get enroll in KnowledgeHut Cloud Architect certifications as they are one of the best in the market to go for.
    • Comprehensive Service Offering: As I have mentioned before, AWS provides a growing catalogue of cloud services, including computing power, storage, database, machine learning, analytics, and security. It is a rich service catalog that permits users to create, push out, and govern almost every range of applications, allowing them to select appropriate sets for particular needs.

    Disadvantages of AWS

    • Complex Pricing: This is because AWS has a complex pricing strategy that may result in unforeseen expenditures, particularly for beginners’ cloud services.
    • Dependency on Connectivity: After understanding what is AWS, it's easy to know that AWS is dependent on the Internet. Connectivity is critical for cloud services like AWS, and any delay or outage may negatively affect the application’s availability.
    • Security Concerns: Regarding data storage in the cloud, organizations can encounter compliance issues despite several security measures and sensitive data concerns mandating extra settings and actions.

    Conclusion

    AWS has revolutionized how business and cloud engage. Customers, enterprises, and communities can exploit different areas in several ways using AWS services. Through these cloud-based applications and infrastructure offered by AWS, companies can now enhance their productivity and reduce time-to-value, improving their work efficiency. In this blog I have explained what is AWS and the range of services that enable firms to run more efficiently and at a lower expenditure. For everything and everyone – from the smallest of startups to big businesses – AWS ensures things function correctly in today’s digital world.

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    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. How does AWS support machine learning and artificial intelligence? 

    Regarding machine learning and artificial intelligence, AWS provides services such as the Amazon SageMaker, which involves software development kits for model building, training, and deployment using AI-powered APIs.

    2. Is AWS only for large enterprises, or can individuals and small businesses use it too?

    AWS does not only cater to large enterprises; individuals and small businesses can access the scalable and pay-as-you-go cloud services, extending the users' scope.

    3. How does AWS support data storage and databases? 

    AWS provides several storage platforms, including Amazon S3, for scalable object storage and versatile database solutions like Amazon RDS and DynamoDb.

    Profile

    Joydip Kumar

    Solution Architect

    Joydip is passionate about building cloud-based applications and has been providing solutions to various multinational clients. Being a java programmer and an AWS certified cloud architect, he loves to design, develop, and integrate solutions. Amidst his busy work schedule, Joydip loves to spend time on writing blogs and contributing to the opensource community.

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