Fundamentals of AWS, A Hands-on Guide

GUPTA, Gagan       Posted by GUPTA, Gagan
      Published: July 8, 2021
        |  

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Background

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world's most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, offering over 200 fully featured services from data centers globally. AWS provides dozens of services, ranging from standard servers that host websites to databases storing persistent data. As a company, you identify which AWS services you need, and as web developers, only need a small subset of those. There's a bit of a learning curve, but it's relatively easy to set up all of these services in AWS and get your website hosted with a full API. Larger companies have DevOps engineers who are responsible for setting up and maintaining various AWS services such as EC2, S3, RDS, Route 53, etc. However, in smaller companies and startups, you end up wearing a lot of hats.

Should beginners learn AWS?

As a beginner, you should be aware of AWS, but you don't need to focus on it. It's a steep learning curve and you'll need to understand some technology fundamentals before undertaking AWS training; Client-server technology; An awareness of different types of network protocols, like HTTP in web technology, a secure version called HTTPS; A basic understanding of DNS (domain name services) and how we turn a URL into an IP address. These aren't beginner concepts; they're topics that will arise as you broaden your scope and understand the ecosystem around AWS. Fortunately, Amazon is always putting out AWS tutorial videos. Start Here.

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Fundamentals of AWS, A Hands-on Guide
Fundamentals of AWS, A Hands-on Guide

Important AWS services.

Amazon Web Services offers a broad set of global cloud-based products, also known as services. These services help organizations move faster, lower IT costs, and scale. AWS is trusted by the largest enterprises and the hottest start-ups to power a wide variety of workloads including: web and mobile applications, game development, data processing and warehousing, storage, archive, and many others. It is very easy to mess up with all the services which service suits for your organization's requirements. Pay attention to your organization's core requirement, and remember; one does not have to master them all, at-least not at once!

Computation Services


- Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud): can be used for creating virtual machines and other server management features such as storage, ports, and security.
- Amazon ECS (EC2 Container Service): is a fully managed container orchestration service that enables you to run, scale, and secure Docker applications on Amazon EC2 and AWS Fargate.
- AWS Fargate: removes the need to manually provision and manage servers, freeing time to focus on building your application. It's a serverless compute engine for containers that works both with ECS and EKS (Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service).
- AWS Lambda: service works for serverless functions so that you can execute code functions without the requirement of any EC2 server.
- AWS Elastic Beanstack: is an easy-to-use service automatically handles the deployment of web applications. It handles provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, and app health monitoring without losing full control over the underlying resources.

Database Services


- Amazon DynamoDB: is a high-performance managed NoSQL database that supports both key-value and document store.
- Amazon ElastiCache's: primary purpose is to boost web applications' performance by caching mission-critical data on top of slower databases. It is a fully managed Redis and Memcached as high-throughput and low-latency in-memory data stores for your cloud applications.
- Amazon Aurora: is a MySQL and PostgreSQL-compatible high-performance distributed relational database.
- Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service): service manages relational databases in the cloud. Amazon RDS supports various database engines like Amazon Aurora, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database, and MariaDB.

Analytics Services


- Amazon Kinesis: can analyze real-time data streams with low-latency at any scale.
- Amazon Redshift: provides a cost-effective way to build a data warehouse and run standard SQL queries against it.
- Amazon Athena: is a serverless solution to analyze large datasets in Amazon S3 using standard SQL.
- AWS Glue: helps discover and extract data from multiple sources, prepare this data for use, and organize it into databases, data warehouses, and data lakes for further analysis by specialized tools and custom applications.

Networking and CDS


- Amazon Route 53: is an advanced, highly available, and scalable DNS Service. Besides simple IP lookups, it has sophisticated routing types like GeoDNS, Geoproximity, and Latency Based Routing.
- Amazon CloudFront: is a fast and secure programmable content delivery network (CDN) that caches your content and APIs on globally scaled edge locations for more rapid responses.
- Amazon API Gateway: makes it easy to create, publish, monitor, and secure RESTful and WebSocket APIs. It handles traffic management, CORS, authorization and access control, throttling, monitoring, and API version management.
- AWS Elastic Load Balancing: distributes incoming application traffic across multiple servers, containers, or Lambda functions.

Data Storage Services


- Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service): is a generic object storage service designed for incredible durability, high scalability, availability, security, and performance.
- Amazon S3 Glacier: offers data archiving and long-term backups at extremely low-cost, with extreme durability.
- Amazon EBS (Elastic Block Storage): is generic long-term high-performance block storage for EC2 instances. It's designed for both throughput and transactional workloads and can scale to petabytes of data.
- Amazon EFS (Elastic File System): is a fully managed scalable elastic NFS. It grows and shrinks automatically, eliminating the need to provision and manually manage capacity.

Security Services


- IAM (Identity and Access Management): is a secure cloud security service which helps you to manage users, assign policies, form groups to manage multiple users.
- Amazon Inspector: It is an agent that you can install on your virtual machines, which reports any security vulnerabilities.
- Amazon WAF (Web Application Firewall): offers application-level protection and allows you to block SQL injection and helps you to block cross-site scripting attacks.
- AWS Cloud Directory: allows you to create flexible, cloud-native directories for managing hierarchies of data along multiple dimensions.

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Future of AWS

In a brief period of time AWS has envisaged an extremely trusted and rapidly expanding cloud infrastructure within its reach-a league which is further growing and dominating the computer and IoT market. AWS stands higher than its counterparts due to its affordability, efficiency and trust. The success of AWS will depend on bringing the center of data mass onto AWS for transactional data. AWS is safer, cost effective and efficient as compared to its corresponding competitors. Google has proficiency over machine learning (part that defines it is putting greater efforts in machine development than cloud betterment) while Microsoft is good at solving nearly only 80% of the cloud computing needs and problems. So, while AWS brings exclusivity in its approach, it becomes sensible to think of it as a master of the arena. Every firm has its specialty in something and AWS has its in cloud computing. With proper grip over safety, affordability and reliance, AWS Cloud Services will continue to exhibit its mastery over cloud computing in the coming years.

AWS Best practices

Various of 190+ aws services have different Best Practices. Here I am listing just a few of them to get you thinking:

- A multi-account AWS environment enables you to use the cloud to move faster and build differentiated products and services.
- It's important to decouple all your components before using AWS services.
- You need to keep dynamic data closer to compute and static data closer to the user.
- It's important to know security and performance trade-offs.
- Ensure your AWS costs are being monitored using a CloudWatch billing alarm.
- Ensure that your Amazon EC2 instances are optimized for better cost and performance.
- Ensure that your AWS S3 buckets are using DNS compliant bucket names.
- Ensure that data available on Amazon SageMaker notebook instances is encrypted.
- Ensure that Amazon Security Hub findings are analyzed and resolved.

Conclusion

AWS has so many services that it's easy to get lost in the AWS console at first glance. Some of the services are designed for specific use cases like AR & VR, IoT, machine learning, and blockchain.

With cloud computing services like AWS, you can focus on developing your applications without too much worrying about managing and scaling your servers. You pay for what you use with most services. The majority of them are fully managed, drastically reducing the total cost of ownership by eliminating the need for dedicated people to manage them.

One need not to wait to start learning AWS, as almost everything is already on AWS or will be. AWS is the core fundamental technology that is basically a platform. There is a steep learning curve, the sooner one starts, the faster one lands.

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