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A guide to AWS for beginners – part 1​

A guide to AWS for beginners - part 1

Image credits go to respective owners.

Why cloud?

Cloud computing can be simply defined as computing based on the internet. Where in the past, people would have run programs or applications from software downloaded on a server or physical computer, cloud computing allows people to access to the same kinds of applications through the internet.

What is AWS?

Amazon web services (AWS) is a cloud platform that offers flexible, reliable, scalable, cost-effective and easy-to-use cloud computing solutions.

The platform is developed with a combination of platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS),  and software as a service (SaaS) offerings. AWS has currently 212 types of services as of July, 2020. It updates new services regularly.

How to start with AWS - Free tier

Amazon Web Services (AWS) gives computing resources and services in the cloud on-demand, with pay-as-you-go policy. For example, you can run a server on AWS that you can sign on to, design, secure, and run similarly as you would a server that is sitting before you.

The free tier plan applies to certain AWS benefits up to a particular maximum amount of usage every month. The AWS Free Usage Tier includes three distinct kinds of pricing models, a 12-month Free Tier, an Always Free offer, and short term trials. I will write more on this in the next post.

AWS Products

AWS has a huge number of useful services. These are some of the important core products with brief detail. 

When you click on Services tab, it looks like this

AWS Compute and Networking Services 

  • AWS Lambda (It is a serverless compute service that runs your code in response to events and automatically manages the underlying resources for users)
  • Amazon EC2 ( It allows users to rent virtual computers on AWS cloud)
  • Amazon VPC (It provides an isolated section for launching AWS resources  in a virtual network that user defines)
  • Elastic Load Balancing (Automatically distributes network traffic across your set of multiple targets such as containers, EC2 instances etc)
  • Auto Scaling (Automatically scales your set of targets based on changes in demand)
  • Amazon Route 53 (Cloud DNS service which is highly available and scalable)
  • Amazon ECS (Highly reliable, scalable and secure way to run containers)

AWS Storage and Content Delivery Services 

  • Amazon S3 (Highly scalable, available, secure storage service in the AWS cloud)
  • CloudFront (A globally distributed content delivery network (CDN))
  • Amazon EBS (provides the block level storage volumes for use with EC2 instances)
  • Amazon Glacier (Low-cost archival storage)

AWS Security and Identity Services 

  • AWS Identity and Access Management – IAM (Manages and controls user access to AWS resources through policies)
  • AWS Directory Service (Manages user access to AWS through your existing Microsoft Active Directory, or a directory you create in the AWS cloud)

AWS Database Services 

  • Amazon DynamoDB (Easy-to-set-up, operate and scale NoSQL database service that supports key-value and document data structures)
  • Amazon RDS (Provides managed and distributed relational databases)
  • Amazon Redshift (A fast, fully-managed, petabyte-scale data warehousing service)
  • Amazon ElastiCache (An in-memory data store and cache service)

AWS Analytics Services 

Amazon EMR  uses Hadoop, an open source framework, to manage and process big data. Hadoop makes use of the MapReduce engine to distribute processing using a cluster.

  • Amazon EMR  (A tool for big data processing and analysis on AWS and it offers the expandable low-configuration service as an easier alternative to running in-house cluster computing.)
  • AWS Data Pipeline (An automated fully managed continuous delivery service)
  • Amazon Kinesis (A highly scalable real-time processing of streaming data)
  • Amazon ML (A machine learning tool to obtain predictions for their applications using simple APIs. It finds patterns in your given data, creates ML models, and then uses those models to process new data and generate predictions) 

AWS Application Services 

  • Amazon AppStream (A platform to host streaming applications in the AWS cloud and stream the input and output to users’ devices)
  • Amazon CloudSearch (Provides search service to your website)
  • Amazon Elastic Transcoder (Transforms digital media into the formats required by your users’ devices)
  • Amazon SES (Email service from the cloud)
  • Amazon SNS (Simple notification service – Send or receive notifications from the cloud)
  • Amazon SQS (Enables components in your application to store data in a queue to be retrieved by other components)
  • Amazon SWF (Coordinates tasks across the components of your application)

AWS Management Tools 

  • AWS CloudTrail (Tracks the usage history for your AWS resources by logging AWS API calls)
  • Amazon CloudWatch (Monitors resources and applications)
  • AWS Config (Shows the current and previous configuration of your AWS resources, and monitor changes to your AWS resources)
  • AWS CloudFormation (Provision and model your AWS resources using templates)
  • AWS OpsWorks (Configures and manages the environment for your application, whether in the AWS cloud or your own data center)
  • AWS Service Catalog (Distributes servers, databases, websites, and applications to users)


AWS is a vast ocean and we are just getting started. I am going to write about how to access and manage AWS in different ways in next parts. Also I am gonna provide detailed guides on how to install and use each of these options.

It takes a while to get familiar with each tool to get some sort of workflow.  So stay tuned for more posts!

Article by Brahada Srinivas

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