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What Is DNS and How Does It Work?

DNS stands for “Domain Name System”, which is a massive directory distributed across the world. In other words, DNS serves the purpose of the phonebook for the internet. It functions so instantaneously and seamlessly that we don’t realize how much we use it every day. We can understand DNS through a basic analogy. In a phonebook, we usually type a name whose number we need to check, we need not memorize the person’s contact number. The same service is provided by a DNS. Every device connected across the internet has a unique IP address. This IP address is used by the machines to interact with each other. Domain names are human-readable names that we enter into a web browser to access a website. Domain names are analogous to the names in the phonebook, while the IP address is the corresponding contact number. Computers interact through IP addresses which are complex strings of alphanumeric characters. Basically, DNS translates domain names to corresponding IP addresses to identify the different computers across the world. There can be more than one IP address associated with a domain name.A Brief History of DNSAround thirty years back, when the internet was introduced, people needed to memorize the IP address of the website that they wanted to visit. Computers being digital machines were able to communicate only through numbers. As the internet age began, the number of websites started to grow from hundreds to tens of thousands. The increasing number of IP addresses made it difficult for people to memorize. Paul Mockapetris in early 1980s introduced a system that was able to automatically map the domain names to its corresponding IP addresses. This led to the birth of the DNS which serves as a backbone of Internet till today.Do You Want to Make Career in Cloud Computing? Find a list of top AWS Certifications.Types of queries:There are mainly 2 types of queries:Recursive DNS query: When the DNS user directly gets the IP address of the desired domain by querying the corresponding name server, this is called recursive query. During this process, the DNS server might also query other DNS servers on the internet.Non-recursive query: The DNS user navigates through various levels of servers like root name servers, TLDs, and authoritative name servers to query the required IP address corresponding to the domain name.How does DNS work?The basic function of a DNS is to convert the user-friendly domain name into a corresponding computer-friendly IP address. Let’s look at the various steps:Information request: When you type the domain name while visiting a website, you are asking your computer to resolve a particular hostname. The first step performed by your computer is that it looks for the IP address corresponding to your domain name in the local DNS cache, which stores information regarding your previously visited websites. In case you have not visited that website before, the computer performs a DNS query.Ask recursive DNS servers: If the information is not stored locally, your computer contacts the recursive DNS resolvers or servers from your Internet Service Providers(ISPs). These resolvers have their own cache. Since many users use the same ISP, chances are that the common and popular websites are already cached. In this case, the required information is returned to the user and the process ends here.Ask root name servers: In case the information is not provided by recursive servers or the data is outdated, they query the root name servers. The root name servers publish root zone file contents to the internet. The root name servers do not provide the IP addresses but redirect queries to other servers that might provide the required answer.Top-level domain(TLD) name servers: The root name servers read the request from right to left and direct you to the top-level domain name servers. For example, information like .com, org, etc, corresponds to a TLD which has its own set of servers for these. The TLDs don't provide the IP address directly but direct your queries to the appropriate server.Authoritative name servers: The TLD servers read the next part of the query and direct it to the particular name server called authoritative name servers. These DNS servers are configured for different zones and provide related information. They store the original zone records and don’t cache the query results. These name servers can be present at the DNS provider or where the website is hosted. The authoritative name servers have different kinds of records, for example, we want to know the IP address, so we ask for the address record. This server lies at the bottom of the DNS lookup chain.Retrieve the record: The recursive server retrieves the required record from the authoritative name servers and stores it in its local cache. This serves to reduce the effort for a new lookup process while visiting the same website again. All the records maintain a time to live (TTL) value, which determines when the data will get expired, which helps ensure the data is up to date always.Receive the answer: The recursive server returns the required answer to your local computer which further caches this record. Your computer reads this record and returns the IP address to your browser. The browser opens a particular website by connecting to the webserver. This entire process is completed within a fraction of a second.What is a DNS address?To understand this even better, we must have a precise knowledge of domain name and IP address. An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a unique numeric address that is accredited to every single device that uses an Internet Protocol-based network. Basically, with the help of an IP address, devices recognise each other on a network. A simple example of an IP address is 67.81.32.3.A domain name is an understandable way of identifying entities on a network; any particular website can be accessed by a domain name. For example, Microsoft is the domain for the website microsoft.com.Every domain name has one or more than one IP addresses assigned to it. DNS matches the domain name with the IP address accredited to it and fetches the right webpage for the user. For a user, it is more convenient to remember a domain name than an IP address but the computer understands only in binary numbers hence the DNS transcripts the domain into IP addresses with the help of DNS servers.What is a DNS server?A DNS server is a vast storehouse of domain names and their relevant IP addresses and helps to retrieve the IP addresses from the domain name or the hostname. We can deduce that the DNS server is the major element that incorporates the DNS protocol and serves the Web Hosts and clients on an IP based network. It bridges the gap between the humans and the computers.Primary and Secondary DNS serverThere are two basic types of DNS servers: Primary and Secondary servers.A primary server is responsible for the administration of the domain and it gets its information directly from the local files. It hosts the controlling zone file whereas Secondary servers get their information from a primary server in communication known as a zone transfer and contain read-only copies of the zone file.DNS root serversThe Domain Name System is organised in a hierarchy with different managing areas also known as zones and root servers are at the top of this hierarchy. Thirteen root servers are used to query the different root server networks. These are arranged in alphabetical order from A to M, the first 13 letters of the alphabet.Resolving DNS Server QueriesA DNS query without any caching is solved by the help of mainly four servers which are recursive resolvers, root nameservers, TLD nameservers, and authoritative nameservers. The query from the client is received by the DNS resolver which then looks up the IP address. The resolver then itself starts enacting as a client and then asks the rest three servers to fetch the correct IP address.First, the root server converts the domain into IP address and responds the resolver with the Top Level Domain servers that stores all the details of the domain servers. Now the TLD responds to the resolver with the IP address of the domain’s authoritative nameserver. The authoritative nameserver responds with the IP address of the origin server on the query of the recursor.Finally the resolver sends the origin server IP address to the client and in turn, the client can directly resolve its query with the origin server.DNS cachingCached data can also be used to resolve DNS queries apart from the above process used by the recursor. Once an IP address is obtained for the website, it can be saved as a cache for about 24 hours so that meanwhile any other user requests for the same IP address, it can be directly retrieved from the cache thus avoiding all the hassle. But after 24 hours, the resolver has to create a new cache.DNS Server FailureDNS server could fail due to varied reasons such as:Hardware malfunctionsMalware attacksPower outageCyber attacks etc.Earlier DNS server outage had a significant impact on the business but today due to server monitoring TLD nameservers, root DNS servers and backup recursive, it has become more efficient in resolving the issues. Though most of the outage and failure may be solved, one must have a DNS failover implemented so that if there are any DNS server outage, one can very easily be transferred to another DNS server without the knowledge of the end-user.DNS attack DNS spoofing - Also known as cache poisoning, DNS spoofing is a form of computer system hacking in which the malware creator secretly gains access to the information and alters the cache, such that the user may type an authentic domain name but the manipulated DNS  system transfers the user to an alternate server fraudulently. Keeping your antivirus and anti-malware up to date and running a scan on a regular basis will help avoid the spoof. DNS Hijacking - It is a malicious attack in which the malware attacks the local computer and manipulates the TCP/IP settings and transfers the user to the hacker’s server. This can be easily prevented by the use of an antivirus. Phishing - It is a cybercrime in which atrocious hackers develop spam websites, which is similar to the common bank webpages, payment sites, or gaming sites to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as passwords, banking details, etc. Many antivirus solutions provide a layer of protection designed to prevent phishing attacks. Also, it is important to keep an eye on the domain address and not fall for the fake ones. DNS reflection attacks - The malware creator floods the user with innumerable messages from DNS resolver servers and the attackers ask for large DNS files from the resolver using the fraud IP address of the victim. On responding to the messages by the resolver, the victim’s machine is swarmed by the unrequested DNS data which overburdens the machine.How can you protect yourself?These are the few precautions that can help you mitigate the effects of an attack. Some of these are:Monitor DNS servers for abnormal behaviour like: Increase in the number of unique subdomains being queried or increase in the number of timeouts or delayed response.Restricting packets with a spoofed IP address from exiting your network.Updating antivirus and anti-malware regularly.Keeping a keen eye on the address bar.DNSSecInternet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization in charge of the DNS system invented DNS Security Extensions to secure and ease up the interaction between the various levels of servers during lookup. DNSSEC devised a system where each level of DNS server digitally sign its requests, which makes it certain that the requests sent in by end-users aren’t appropriated by attackers. Moreover, DNSSec can verify whether a domain name exists and if it doesn’t then it protects the client and the servers from the infiltrated domain.

What Is DNS and How Does It Work?

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  • by Joydip Kumar
  • 30th Aug, 2019
  • Last updated on 11th Mar, 2021
  • 5 mins read
What Is DNS and How Does It Work?

DNS stands for “Domain Name System”, which is a massive directory distributed across the world. In other words, DNS serves the purpose of the phonebook for the internet. It functions so instantaneously and seamlessly that we don’t realize how much we use it every day. 

We can understand DNS through a basic analogy. In a phonebook, we usually type a name whose number we need to check, we need not memorize the person’s contact number. The same service is provided by a DNS. Every device connected across the internet has a unique IP address. This IP address is used by the machines to interact with each other. Domain names are human-readable names that we enter into a web browser to access a website. Domain names are analogous to the names in the phonebook, while the IP address is the corresponding contact number. Computers interact through IP addresses which are complex strings of alphanumeric characters. Basically, DNS translates domain names to corresponding IP addresses to identify the different computers across the world. There can be more than one IP address associated with a domain name.

A Brief History of DNS

Around thirty years back, when the internet was introduced, people needed to memorize the IP address of the website that they wanted to visit. Computers being digital machines were able to communicate only through numbers. As the internet age began, the number of websites started to grow from hundreds to tens of thousands. The increasing number of IP addresses made it difficult for people to memorize. Paul Mockapetris in early 1980s introduced a system that was able to automatically map the domain names to its corresponding IP addresses. This led to the birth of the DNS which serves as a backbone of Internet till today.

Do You Want to Make Career in Cloud Computing? Find a list of top AWS Certifications.

Types of queries:

There are mainly 2 types of queries:

  1. Recursive DNS query: When the DNS user directly gets the IP address of the desired domain by querying the corresponding name server, this is called recursive query. During this process, the DNS server might also query other DNS servers on the internet.
  2. Non-recursive query: The DNS user navigates through various levels of servers like root name servers, TLDs, and authoritative name servers to query the required IP address corresponding to the domain name.

How does DNS work?

How does DNS work?

The basic function of a DNS is to convert the user-friendly domain name into a corresponding computer-friendly IP address. Let’s look at the various steps:

  1. Information request: When you type the domain name while visiting a website, you are asking your computer to resolve a particular hostname. The first step performed by your computer is that it looks for the IP address corresponding to your domain name in the local DNS cache, which stores information regarding your previously visited websites. In case you have not visited that website before, the computer performs a DNS query.
  2. Ask recursive DNS servers: If the information is not stored locally, your computer contacts the recursive DNS resolvers or servers from your Internet Service Providers(ISPs). These resolvers have their own cache. Since many users use the same ISP, chances are that the common and popular websites are already cached. In this case, the required information is returned to the user and the process ends here.
  3. Ask root name servers: In case the information is not provided by recursive servers or the data is outdated, they query the root name servers. The root name servers publish root zone file contents to the internet. The root name servers do not provide the IP addresses but redirect queries to other servers that might provide the required answer.
  4. Top-level domain(TLD) name servers: The root name servers read the request from right to left and direct you to the top-level domain name servers. For example, information like .com, org, etc, corresponds to a TLD which has its own set of servers for these. The TLDs don't provide the IP address directly but direct your queries to the appropriate server.
  5. Authoritative name servers: The TLD servers read the next part of the query and direct it to the particular name server called authoritative name servers. These DNS servers are configured for different zones and provide related information. They store the original zone records and don’t cache the query results. These name servers can be present at the DNS provider or where the website is hosted. The authoritative name servers have different kinds of records, for example, we want to know the IP address, so we ask for the address record. This server lies at the bottom of the DNS lookup chain.
  6. Retrieve the record: The recursive server retrieves the required record from the authoritative name servers and stores it in its local cache. This serves to reduce the effort for a new lookup process while visiting the same website again. All the records maintain a time to live (TTL) value, which determines when the data will get expired, which helps ensure the data is up to date always.
  7. Receive the answer: The recursive server returns the required answer to your local computer which further caches this record. Your computer reads this record and returns the IP address to your browser. The browser opens a particular website by connecting to the webserver. This entire process is completed within a fraction of a second.

What is a DNS address?

To understand this even better, we must have a precise knowledge of domain name and IP address. An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a unique numeric address that is accredited to every single device that uses an Internet Protocol-based network. Basically, with the help of an IP address, devices recognise each other on a network. A simple example of an IP address is 67.81.32.3.

A domain name is an understandable way of identifying entities on a network; any particular website can be accessed by a domain name. For example, Microsoft is the domain for the website microsoft.com.

Every domain name has one or more than one IP addresses assigned to it. DNS matches the domain name with the IP address accredited to it and fetches the right webpage for the user. For a user, it is more convenient to remember a domain name than an IP address but the computer understands only in binary numbers hence the DNS transcripts the domain into IP addresses with the help of DNS servers.

What is a DNS server?

A DNS server is a vast storehouse of domain names and their relevant IP addresses and helps to retrieve the IP addresses from the domain name or the hostname. We can deduce that the DNS server is the major element that incorporates the DNS protocol and serves the Web Hosts and clients on an IP based network. It bridges the gap between the humans and the computers.

Primary and Secondary DNS server

There are two basic types of DNS servers: Primary and Secondary servers.

A primary server is responsible for the administration of the domain and it gets its information directly from the local files. It hosts the controlling zone file whereas Secondary servers get their information from a primary server in communication known as a zone transfer and contain read-only copies of the zone file.

DNS root servers

The Domain Name System is organised in a hierarchy with different managing areas also known as zones and root servers are at the top of this hierarchy. Thirteen root servers are used to query the different root server networks. These are arranged in alphabetical order from A to M, the first 13 letters of the alphabet.

Resolving DNS Server Queries

A DNS query without any caching is solved by the help of mainly four servers which are recursive resolvers, root nameservers, TLD nameservers, and authoritative nameservers. The query from the client is received by the DNS resolver which then looks up the IP address. The resolver then itself starts enacting as a client and then asks the rest three servers to fetch the correct IP address.

First, the root server converts the domain into IP address and responds the resolver with the Top Level Domain servers that stores all the details of the domain servers. Now the TLD responds to the resolver with the IP address of the domain’s authoritative nameserver. The authoritative nameserver responds with the IP address of the origin server on the query of the recursor.

Finally the resolver sends the origin server IP address to the client and in turn, the client can directly resolve its query with the origin server.

DNS caching

Cached data can also be used to resolve DNS queries apart from the above process used by the recursor. Once an IP address is obtained for the website, it can be saved as a cache for about 24 hours so that meanwhile any other user requests for the same IP address, it can be directly retrieved from the cache thus avoiding all the hassle. But after 24 hours, the resolver has to create a new cache.

DNS Server Failure

DNS server could fail due to varied reasons such as:

DNS Server Failure

  1. Hardware malfunctions
  2. Malware attacks
  3. Power outage
  4. Cyber attacks etc.

Earlier DNS server outage had a significant impact on the business but today due to server monitoring TLD nameservers, root DNS servers and backup recursive, it has become more efficient in resolving the issues. Though most of the outage and failure may be solved, one must have a DNS failover implemented so that if there are any DNS server outage, one can very easily be transferred to another DNS server without the knowledge of the end-user.

DNS attackDNS attack

  1.  DNS spoofing - Also known as cache poisoning, DNS spoofing is a form of computer system hacking in which the malware creator secretly gains access to the information and alters the cache, such that the user may type an authentic domain name but the manipulated DNS  system transfers the user to an alternate server fraudulently. Keeping your antivirus and anti-malware up to date and running a scan on a regular basis will help avoid the spoof.
  2.  DNS Hijacking - It is a malicious attack in which the malware attacks the local computer and manipulates the TCP/IP settings and transfers the user to the hacker’s server. This can be easily prevented by the use of an antivirus.
  3.  Phishing - It is a cybercrime in which atrocious hackers develop spam websites, which is similar to the common bank webpages, payment sites, or gaming sites to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as passwords, banking details, etc. Many antivirus solutions provide a layer of protection designed to prevent phishing attacks. Also, it is important to keep an eye on the domain address and not fall for the fake ones.
  4.  DNS reflection attacks - The malware creator floods the user with innumerable messages from DNS resolver servers and the attackers ask for large DNS files from the resolver using the fraud IP address of the victim. On responding to the messages by the resolver, the victim’s machine is swarmed by the unrequested DNS data which overburdens the machine.

How can you protect yourself?

These are the few precautions that can help you mitigate the effects of an attack. Some of these are:

Ways to Protect from Attack

  1. Monitor DNS servers for abnormal behaviour like: Increase in the number of unique subdomains being queried or increase in the number of timeouts or delayed response.
  2. Restricting packets with a spoofed IP address from exiting your network.
  3. Updating antivirus and anti-malware regularly.
  4. Keeping a keen eye on the address bar.

DNSSec

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization in charge of the DNS system invented DNS Security Extensions to secure and ease up the interaction between the various levels of servers during lookup. DNSSEC devised a system where each level of DNS server digitally sign its requests, which makes it certain that the requests sent in by end-users aren’t appropriated by attackers. Moreover, DNSSec can verify whether a domain name exists and if it doesn’t then it protects the client and the servers from the infiltrated domain.

Joydip

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.


Website : https://geeks18.com/

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What Is the Recommended List of AWS Whitepapers?

Amazon Web Services has become an integral part of the IT sector. These services form the building blocks of the applications deployed in the cloud. Because of the benefits these services offer, the professionals with expertise in the AWS are highly in demand. And what is the best way to prove your expertise other than getting AWS certifications? There are 11 certifications offered by AWS categorized according to their expertise level. AWS offers classroom and digital courses to help you prepare for these certification exams. Apart from this, AWS also recommends some whitepapers that can help you get a better grasp of the AWS concepts:1. AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification ExamAWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification is the foundational level certification exam that will help you validate your skills and knowledge of the AWS cloud. Also, it is a prerequisite alternative for some of the AWS specialty exams. The following whitepapers are recommended for this course:Overview of Amazon Web Services – Covers all the cloud-based products offered by AWS for computing, storing, networking, analysis, databases, developing, managing, security, IoT, etc.Architecting for the Cloud – This whitepaper provides advice and guidance on architecture and how it is applied in cloud computing. You will be introduced to all the basic concepts required to design AWS solutions.How AWS Pricing works – In this whitepaper, you will learn about how AWS services are priced. It covers on-demand, reservation-based, pay-as-you-go payment model that provides the best ROI.2. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – AssociateAWS Solutions Architect certification exam validates your skills in designing distributed applications. This includes knowledge of building secure and reliable applications using the AWS platform, troubleshooting, disaster recovery, data security practices, deployment of hybrid systems, etc. To prepare for this certification exam, you must study the following AWS whitepaper:AWS Well-Architected – This whitepaper was created to help the cloud architects in building resilient, efficient, high-performing, and secure infrastructure for their system and applications. The framework provided by the AWS is based on the five pillars – Reliability, Operational Excellence, Performance Efficiency, and Cost Optimization. With this whitepaper, you will be able to learn how to use a consistent approach for evaluating architectures and implementing designs.3. AWS Certified Developer- AssociateAWS Developer certification is an associate-level certification is all about developing and maintaining applications using the AWS platform. This also covers other AWS services like storage, databases, workflow, notifications, and change management services. To ace this certification exam, you need to go through the following AWS whitepapers:AWS Security Best Practices – It is for professionals working on designing and configuring the infrastructure and applications deployed on the AWS platform. It includes the best practices used in defining the Information Security Management System (ISMS) for protecting your data and assets.Practicing Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery on AWS – It covers the concepts and advantages of continuous integration and continuous delivery used as a part of the DevOps initiative.Implementing Microservices on AWS – This whitepaper includes how to use microservices for speeding up deployment cycles, improving scalability and maintainability, etc.Serverless Architecture with AWS Lambda – This whitepaper aims to give an overview of AWS lambda and the best practices used to build serverless applications on AWS.Optimizing Enterprise Economics with Serverless Architecture – This whitepaper is created to help the senior architects, Chief Technology Officers (CTOs), and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) get an understanding of the impact of serverless architecture on IT economics, team agility, and market.Running Containerized Microservices on AWS – It guides developers and architects on running containerized applications on the AWS platform. This includes security, lifecycle management, and architectural design patterns for containerized applications deployed on the AWS.Blue/Green Deployments on AWS – This whitepaper covers the Blue/Green deployment technique that shifts traffic between identical environments of application’s different versions to release application.4. AWS Certified SysOps Administrator -  AssociateCreated for system administrators,  AWS SysOps Administrator certification requires knowledge in operational as well as technical aspects of AWS. You must know how to deploy applications on the AWS platform, transfer data between data centers and the AWS, select the right AWS service, secure and manage the system. You can try the following whitepapers to get a better grasp of these concepts:Architecting for the Cloud – Made for developers and solutions architects, this whitepaper includes concepts on how to build solutions that can be deployed on the AWS platform. You will be learning about the benefits of attributes specific to cloud computing like infrastructure automation and elasticity.Amazon Web Services: Overview of Security Processes – This whitepaper covers the operational security and physical processes that are used for describing the server and network architecture of the AWS platform. You will be learning how to ensure the security of the data and application deployed on the AWS platform.Development and Test on Amazon Web Services – In this whitepaper, you will learn how AWS adds value to the different aspects of the software development cycle. For development, it will cover how to manage version control, project management tools, AWS environment, build process, and the best practices used on the AWS platform. For the test, it includes managing testing environment, running tests like fault tolerance testing, acceptance testing, load testing, etc. Studying this whitepaper will help you select the right scenario for your project. This whitepaper is meant for project managers, system architects, developers, and testers.Backup, Archive and Restore approaches on AWS – This whitepaper deals with solutions used for backing up your data on the cloud. There are discussions on the best practices used for protecting data on the AWS platform. You will learn about backing up, archiving, and restoring data. This whitepaper is meant for IT administrators, backup architects, and solutions architects that are working in the field of securing data in the IT environment.Amazon Virtual Private Cloud Connectivity Options – Created for Amazon VPC administrators, corporate network engineers, and architects, this whitepaper reviews the connectivity options available on the AWS. You will get an overview of all the options that can be used for facilitating network connectivity.5. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – ProfessionalFor  AWS Solutions Architect – Professional certification, a candidate must know best practices used for implementing AWS-based applications and cost-optimization. Also, they must have the skills required for migrating complex applications to the AWS platform and must be able to make architectural recommendations. Go through the following whitepapers to prepare for this certification exam:Encrypting Data at Rest – This whitepaper covers all the government or industry regulations, organizational policies involved in encryption at rest for protecting the data. You will learn about the different options that you can use for data encryption at rest available today.Web Application Hosting in the AWS Cloud – Meant for System architects and IT managers working to use the cloud for achieving scalability for meeting their computing needs, this whitepaper covers methods for achieving scalable and highly available web hosting. Migrating AWS resources to a new AWS Region - This whitepaper is created for customers of AWS who want to transfer their existing resources to a new region of AWS. It is not a definitive guide containing steps for the migrating process. However, it contains different methods and options that you can use for migrating different services to a new region.6. AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – ProfessionalThis certification demonstrates your skills of provisioning, managing, and operating applications on the AWS platform. It focuses on the fundamentals of using the DevOps movement required for automating processes and continuous delivery. You must know about implementing different methodologies used for automating the production operations. Here is a list of whitepapers you need to study to ace  AWS DevOps Engineer – Professional certification:Microservices on AWS – In this whitepaper, you will learn how to use microservices as an organizational and architectural approach for development. All the characteristics of microservices are summarized in this whitepaper including the challenges faced while building microservices. You will also learn how you can leverage the AWS as a product team to overcome these challenges.Running Containerized Microservices on AWS – In this whitepaper, there are discussions about the best architectural practices used for adopting containers on AWS. You will learn about leveraging the Microservices’ principles of Martin Fowler and mapping them to real-life considerations and twelve-factor app pattern. With this whitepaper, you will be able to use the best software design patterns and practices to build microservices.Infrastructure as Code – This whitepaper covers the Infrastructure as Code, the best practice used for automating the provision of infrastructure services. It covers the advantages of using Infrastructure as Code and leveraging the AWS’s capabilities for supporting the DevOps initiatives. This practice acts as a catalyst to attain a velocity that is more responsive to customer’s needs.7. AWS Certified Big Data – SpecialtyAWS Big Data – Specialty certification is for professionals working in the field of data analysis with experience in designing and architecting big data solutions. You must have the skills in using the AWS tools for automating the process of data analysis, security practices, architectural practices, designing and maintaining big data, etc. Following is a list of whitepapers that will help you prepare for this certification exam:Streaming Data Solutions on AWS with Amazon Kinesis – This whitepaper is created for data analysts, data engineers, and big data developers who want to shift from batch to real-time analytics. It covers the analytics’ evolution and how AWS services like Amazon Kinesis Analytics, Amazon Kinesis Firehose, and Amazon Kinesis Streams can be used for implementing real-time applications.Big Data Analytics Options on AWS – It covers big data analytics services offered by the AWS cloud. Created for data scientists, architects, and developers, this whitepaper ends with scenarios showcasing the different analytics options in working.AWS Database Migration Service Best practices – This paper gives an overview of all the best practices used for AWS DMS. This service allows the organization to minimize their associated downtime while changing database engines and migrating the database workloads to the AWS platform.Migrating Applications to AWS – In this whitepaper, you will learn how to use AWS Data Migration Service and AWS Schema Conversion Tool for transferring the on-premise database to the Amazon Relational Database Service. It covers all the features and benefits of using these tools and a step-by-step guide for migrating the database to the Amazon RDS. There are discussions on data migration and schema processes irrespective of the target database.8. AWS Certified Advanced Networking -  SpecialtyTo ace  AWS Advanced Networking -  Specialty certification, you must know how to use the AWS platform for performing complex networking tasks using the hybrid IT networking architecture. You should know how to architect and implement network solutions using AWS services. Also, you must be an expert in implementing compliance, automating tasks, optimizing the network, troubleshooting, etc. The following list of whitepapers will help you prepare for this exam:AWS Best Practices for DDoS Resiliency – This whitepaper will help you improve the application's resiliency against the Distributed Denial of Service attacks. You will be learning about the attacks, the capabilities of AWS, DDoS-resilient reference architecture, and migration techniques. This paper is created for security engineers and IT decision-makers working in the field of security, networking, and AWS.An Introduction to High-Performance Computing on AWS – In this paper, you will cover the benefits of using HPC workloads for computing on AWS. You will learn about how cloud services are used by organizations for gaining access to the most advanced computing capabilities.Integrating AWS with Multiprotocol Label Switching - This whitepaper covers the best high-availability architectural practices used for integrating the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud to the Multiprotocol Label Switching network.9. AWS Certified Security – SpecialtyTo prepare for  AWS Security – Specialty certification, you must know the basics of security and the security services offered on the AWS platform like data encryption, identity, and access management, monitoring, incident response, logging, data protection, etc. Here is a list of whitepapers that will help you get a clear understanding of the above-mentioned concepts:AWS Key Management Service Best Practices – This whitepaper covers the usage of AWS KMS, the difference between different customer master keys, auditing the use of keys, ensuring least privilege using AWS KMS key policies, etc.AWS Security Best Practices – In this whitepaper, you will get an overview of topics like identifying, protecting, and categorizing assets of AWS and managing the AWS resources’ accessing details. You will also learn how you can secure data, application, operating system and the infrastructure.Security at Scale: Governance in AWS -  This whitepaper will help you learn how to use the resources of AWS to achieve high-level governance. You will go through the features and governance related to the services of AWS. Using the AWS platform for building your integrated environment is also covered in this whitepaper.Security at Scale: Logging in AWS – This whitepaper covers all the logging requirements of common compliance. You will also learn about all the features of AWS CloudTrail and how it satisfies the logging requirement.AWS Security Best Practices – This whitepaper provides an overview of security topics like identification, categorization, and protection of assets on AWS, management of access to AWS resources, and discussions on different ways used for securing data, operating system, application, and the overall infrastructure.Security at Scale: Governance in AWS -  This paper covers methods of achieving high-level governance using the AWS resources. With the help of this paper, you will be able to understand the features of security and governance incorporated in the AWS services and how you can build your integrated environment on the AWS platform.Security at Scale: Logging in AWS – With this whitepaper, you will get a complete overview of the requirements of common compliance in relation to logging. Apart from this, you will also learn about the different features of AWS CloudTrail and how it can be used for satisfying the logging requirements.10. AWS Certified Machine Learning – SpecialtyThis  AWS Machine Learning – Specialty certification is for professionals who know how to create, implement, and maintain Machine Learning solutions. The exam validates your skills to design secure, reliable, cost-optimized, and scalable solutions for machine learning problems. You should also know how to identify the right AWS service. The following whitepapers will help you ace this certification:Machine Learning Foundations – This paper will help create a foundation of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence and how technicians and researchers can use AWS services for deploying machine learning solutions.Managing Machine Learning Projects – This whitepaper covers the best practices used to manage machine learning projects. You will learn to manage and mitigate the risks involved in the deliverance of the complex machine learning systems. It is intended for software development engineers, data scientists, managers, and business stakeholders.Power Machine Learning at Scale – It includes the best practices used for the execution of machine learning workflows. You will learn about the recommended solutions, challenges, and end-to-end considerations as well as execution of parallelized modeling at scale thorough high-performance computing on AWS.These whitepapers will aid in expanding the knowledge of the AWS cloud. The technical content of these whitepapers including the guides, reference material, and reference architecture diagrams is written by the AWS community.
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What Is the Recommended List of AWS Whitepapers?

Amazon Web Services has become an integral part of... Read More

What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of AWS Certified Solutions Architect?

A solution architect is an AWS solutions Architect Certification holder, who is usually a part of the solution development team, has the responsibility of designing one or more services or applications within an organization. The solution architect is required to have both business and technical skills in the right balance. He or she will often have to work with an enterprise architect for strategic direction. The focus is mainly on the technical decisions regarding the solution and the impact they have on business outcomes. The information is used by the development team for implementation of a solution.Solution architects require process as well as people skills. More often than not, they are required to explain complex problems to management in the simplest possible terms. They need to explain the same thing in a different manner, depending on their audience. Of course, they would have to understand the processes of the business well for creating a cohesive product vision.What does a Solutions Architect do?The position of a solution architect is one of the most sought-after positions among developers. They are responsible for building and integration of computer systems and information for meeting specific needs. Typically, this involves the integration of hardware and software for meeting the customer-defined purpose. Examination of current systems and architecture is also one of their responsibilities. They work with technical and business staff for recommending solutions for more effective systems. The project involvement of the solution architect starts when the requirements are being developed by the computer systems analyst. Thereafter, their involvement continues throughout the rest of the project. The task of development is organized by them, motivating and guiding the development time during the systems development life cycle. Ultimately, their main responsibility is regarding the vision underlying the solution and how to execute that vision. A solution architect may also have to look after programming, testing, and integration of software systems and devices. They use processes that usually involve the selection of technology that is suitable for a problem. They also need to maintain a balance between enterprise concerns and architectural concerns. Most of the solution architects have years of experience in software development, which equips them with tools that can help them be more productive and effective. The main focus of a solution architect is on:The use of technology for finding a solution to business problemsWhich platform, framework or tech-stack should be used for the creation of a solution? The appearance of the application, what modules to use and the interaction between those modules. Scaling for future and its maintenanceDetermining the risk associated with third-party platforms or frameworksFinding solutions to business problemsThe difference between an enterprise architect, a solution architect and a technical architectEnterprise architects are responsible for building complex enterprise ecosystems and solving high-level strategic problems. The strategic directions of business architecture are defined by enterprise architecture. It provides an understanding of the technical facilities that are needed for supporting the architecture. The gap between technology solutions and business problems are bridged by solution architecture. The entire process is quite complex and it includes several sub-processes. It includes:Finding which tech solution is the best for the solution of current business problemsDescription of the characteristics, structure, behavior and other such software aspects to stakeholders of the projectDefinition of the features, requirements, and phases of solutionProvision of specifications for defining, managing and delivering the solution. Technical architects, on the other hand, are primarily responsible for software architecture and engineering problems. A solution architect describes the use of different components of technology, information and business architecture for a specific solution. They address business problems by focusing on details and solution technologies. Hence, solution architecture serves as a channel between technical architecture and enterprise architecture. All these have to be combined effectively by companies for ideal solutions. Primary Processes Covered by Solution ArchitectureWith a solution architecture that is well-built, teams can develop products within the required time and budget constraints. It also ensures the solution of the problem is exactly what it needs to be. The tasks carried out by solution architects include:Envisioning solutions according to the corporate environment: Generally, companies already have an information context, integration requirements, and operating systems. The solution architect has to make sure the new system fits the environment that already exists in the system. To do this, they need to understand how different parts of a business model work together, including operating systems, application architecture and processes. Through an understanding of these processes, they will be able to design a solution best fit for the environment.Meeting stakeholders’ requirements: A particularly challenging aspect of software product development is to meet the requirements of stakeholders. A product usually has many technical and non-technical stakeholders. The aim of a solution architecture is to make sure all their requirements are taken into consideration. Stakeholders need to be informed about the processes, budgeting, and costs of product development on a regular basis. A solution architect performs this task by translating the technical details of the project into a language that non-technical stakeholders and management can understand.Taking project constraints into account: There are always certain limitations or constraints associated with a project, including:technologyscoperisks cost timequality    resourcesFor example, the technologies used for building a product should suit the requirements of its modules. The software documentation defines the scope of a project, which includes its goals, features, functions, and tasks. There is also a budget allocated for every project.Aspects like these are project constraints and they have their own limitations. A solution architect needs to understand all the constraints and compare them for making managerial and technological decisions as per the project goals.Selecting the technology stack for the project: A vital task performed by solutions architect is to select the right technologies for the development of products. The strategy of technical architecture depends directly on the technology stack that is chosen. Several different practices exist with regards to platforms, tools and programming languages. The function of a solution architect is finding which of these practices are most suitable for the project. It is a complicated task that requires assessing and comparing technology.Complying to the non-functional requirements: There are non-functional requirements as well that a software project has to meet. These requirements describing the system characteristics are called quality attributes. Non-functional requirements can differ according to the complexity of the product. The common requirements include security, maintainability, performance, usability, reliability, and scalability of a product. All these non-functional requirements are analyzed by the solution architect for ensuring product engineering meets these requirements. Main Roles and Duties of a Solution ArchitectConducting architectural evaluation, analysis, and design of enterprise-wide systemsStimulating appropriate design discipline and design tools like IBM RationalEnsuring delivery of robust system solutions by the application architecture team to the architect businessDeveloping, enhancing and maintaining established process and procedure of service design for assuring appropriate and robust service designWork with the enterprise architect for making sure the architecture and strategic blueprints are complied withForming part of a high-performance solution architecture team that supports the developmental effort of a business-oriented projectPlanning, designing and executing complex company level solution configurationPreparation and presentation of a test plan, lab reports, technical presentations and analyst briefings for covering different solution areasBe responsible for the best current practices and suggestionsCollaboration with the IT development team for ensuring suitable translation of architectural solution into robust and effective implementationMaking sure configuration management continues the way it shouldIdentification of customer requirements, analysis of alternatives and conducting product recommendations associated with platform, software and network configurationsWork with sales department for performing demonstration and conversing requirementsInitiate contact with the client to provide a complete team effortPrimary responsibilities:Understanding the needs of the company for defining system specificationsPlanning and designing the technology solution structureCommunication system requirements to the software development teamEvaluation and choosing suitable hardware or software and suggesting methods for integrationOverseeing assigned programs and guiding the team membersProviding assistance when technical problems ariseMaking sure the agreed infrastructure and architecture are implementedAddressing the technical concerns, suggestions, and ideasMonitoring systems to make sure they meet business goals as well as user requirementsSkills Required to become a Solution ArchitectThe role of a solution architect is a technical one and involves the translation of functional requirements into robust solutions. Individuals looking to get a job as a solution architect must possess AWS solutions architect certification and have a relevant degree along with certain skills, including:Technical literacy: A high level of technical literacy is required to become a solution architect. It allows them to figure out how a particular solution fits with the current structure of the organization. They also need to assist the development of requirements and specificationsAnalytical assessment: Solution architects are required to examine the current system of the client, which involves extreme analysis. They also need to analyze to determine the overall scope and requirements of the projectManaging schedule: Right time management skills are required for determining milestones and schedules for development and ensuring timely completion of deliverablesLeading the team: Solution architects need to know how to motivate and lead since they directly oversee development teams throughout the development lifecycles of projectsCommunication skills: Excellent verbal and written communication skills are also required since the role involves communication with clients, external vendors and team membersSolving problems: The system limitations or client specification can change during development. Solution architects need to use their problem-solving skills for changing directions quickly as per the updated limitations or specifications.When is Solution Architecture Needed by a Company?Technology consulting organizations can introduce solution architecture to the corporate structure if the integration process of the software system is not systematic. A solution architect is not required for all the projects. Solution architecture won’t be required if a single proven tech module is being implemented. However, it is advisable to consider solution architecture services when the projects grow to be more complicated, entailing different risks and processes. A solution architect is needed when:It is unknown which solution is the best fit for the company ecosystem: It is important that there exists a link between a particular project and enterprise architecture. Solution architectures make sure company environment standards are met by the solutionA digital transformation project is being run: Projects involving digital transformation requires businesses to reevaluate what they deliver to customers or how they deliver it. It cannot be done without linking business and technological tasks, which is what a solution architect doesThere are a lot of risks involved: In projects that involve different technological risks, uncertain requirements, implementation of multiple products or unapproved underlying technologies, it is necessary to have a solution architectA future product has to be presented to investors: In this case, solution architects help suggest suitable technologies for matching production requirements. They also communicate in clear and understandable business termsCommunications between engineers and stakeholders have to be set up: There can be a communication gap between a non-technical and technical specialist. Solution architects help bridge that gapThe project involves multiple teams: Larger projects require someone for managing the designers, business or technical architect teams for producing quality outcomes. To sum it all up, solution architecture forms the underpinning of all IT projects, regardless of whether the company actually adopts this practice or not. Deliberate introduction of solution architecture allows the building of the framework that aligns with skills, resources, and technology of defined business goals. Conventionally, mid-size and small companies do not practice solution architecture. The problems related to solution architecture are delegated across different roles with the product and development team. It is a good option for small projects that have predictable outcomes. However, a specialist will definitely be required if the enterprise architecture itself is complex with multiple software products being introduced into the ecosystem. A solution architect is a specialist for such needs.
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What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of AWS Cer...

A solution architect is an AWS solutions Architect... Read More