Amazon Web Services: How it changes the way you do business
Amazon Web Services (AWS), commonly referred to as Amazon Cloud Hosting, was started in 2006 by Amazon. At the time, it was just as much an experiment as a revolutionary move. Fast forward 13 years, the services and solutions it provides are phenomenal, equally relevant to startups as well as enterprise giants.
Which Amazon services are the best for you?
AWS data centers, located in availability zones in several parts of the world, are characterized by numerous interconnected physical data centers. This infrastructure ensures that data is disaster proof and secure.
The Amazon service portfolio consists of over 100 services such as compute, database, infrastructure, app development, and security. A concise introduction to these main offerings stands given below:
Amazon has a popular product called the Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud). This product consists of a vast collection of virtual servers, as opposed to on-premise servers. It offers varying capacities of computational power that can be tailored to your specific requirement. Some business applications tend to be memory-intensive others are speed-intensive. Whichever be the case, Amazon EC2 can be dynamically configured to meet your vacillating requirements without compromising on performance or user experience. Amazon’s Auto Scaling tool makes this unique feature possible.
Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) provides safe and elastic storage for your current data and archives. This service is suitable for individuals with large amounts of data to store; such as IT professionals. It is also perfect for businesses that have vast repositories of data. If that repository contains files that require infrequent access, Amazon has a cost-effective solution for that – Amazon Glacier. It works just like a deep-freezer – the data is preserved, but it may take some time to get to it. There are two more levels to the Amazon storage services. One is known as Amazon Elastic Block store where data for frequent use can be stored. The other is known as Amazon Elastic File System – it provides cloud-based file storage.
Databases and Data Management
AWS has a fabulous database management service that supports Oracle, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB and Amazon Aurora (Amazon’s proprietary database, known for its high-performance). AWS has another service called Amazon DynamoDB, which provides NoSQL database management. For business intelligence activities, Amazon RedShift data warehouse is the solution.
Migration and Hybrid Cloud
Data migration is a tedious task; but it can be made easy with the help of user-friendly tools and services provided by AWS. These can help in the migration of applications, databases, servers and data onto the cloud. AWS also offers a Migration Hub that acts as the control room for monitoring and managing migrations to the cloud. Applications, databases and the likes in the cloud, can be managed by IT teams using the EC2 Systems Manager.
Amazon has strategic partnerships with providers such as VMware (Data Center Technology) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (Operating System). Both of their technology offerings make the AWS suite more robust.
AWS sports a Virtual Private Cloud that allows the isolation and use of select portions of the AWS cloud. Administrators can gain access and control over these sections using a virtual network. Network traffic can be managed using AWS load balancing tools such as Application Load Balancer and Network Load Balancer. In addition, on-premises data centers can be connected to the AWS cloud through the AWS Direct Connect.
Development Tools and Application Services
AWS contains developer tools that enable developers and IT professionals to quickly deliver software with proper version control. Using the AWS command-line tools and software development kits (SDKs), developers can easily build, test and deploy applications either on the AWS or on-premises. These SDKs are suitable for several platforms and programming languages such as Java, PHP, Python, Node.js, Ruby, C++, Android and iOS. Developers can also create and manage custom APIs using the Amazon API Gateway. The AWS CodePipeline enables developers to handle software releases from beginning to end.
Management and Monitoring
Cloud resource deployments if not done properly can result in unnecessary expenses. Using the AWS Config and AWS Config Rules, administrators can keep tabs on cloud resource configuration effectively. The AWS Cloud Formation template allows administrators to automate infrastructure allocation. In addition, resource monitoring and robustness of applications can be achieved through Amazon Cloud Watch and the AWS Personal Health Dashboard.
Security and Governance
Cloud security is of utmost importance when using cloud services. The AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) allow administrators to dictate user access to resources present in the cloud. Using the AWS Cloud Directory, administrators can create user directories. They can even connect to existing directories using the AWS Directory Service. The user rights, access and policy for multiple users can also be prefixed using AWS Organizations. Vulnerabilities and security risks within the AWS environment can be assessed using the Amazon Inspector. Harmful traffic to websites/ applications can be prevented using software and hardware encryption, Secure Sockets Player and Transport Layer Security Certificates.
Big Data Management and Analytics
AWS has a vast collection of big data analytics and application services. Amazon Elastic Map Reduce processes large amounts of data using Hadoop framework and Amazon Kinesis enables the processing and analysis of streaming data. AWS Glue tackles the extraction, transformation and loading of jobs. Amazon Elasticsearch Service provides a team the tools needed for monitoring and log analysis through the open source Elasticsearch tool.
AWS provides a wide range of Artificial Intelligence products such as an AI model development and delivery platform. They also offer packaged AI-based applications. The AI suite includes Amazon Lex for voice and text chatbot technology, Amazon Polly for text-to-speech translation and Amazon Rekognition for image and facial analysis. In addition to this, developer technology for smart app development is also present. Voice-base apps can be developed using Alexa Skills Kit.
Amazon offers a host of tools and services through the AWS Mobile Hub, specifically targeted at mobile application developers. This includes the AWS Mobile SDK. The collection contains Amazon Cognito which can be used to manage user access and Amazon Pinpoint which helps send push notifications to end users (inclusive of analytics).
Messages and Notifications
Amazon has a suite of messaging and notification tools that play a key role in effective communication between users and the app. Messages can be sent, stored and received between the components of several applications using the Amazon Simple Queue Service so that the applications operate seamlessly. Amazon also has a Simple Notification Service that enables businesses to send publish-subscribe messages to their subscribers or other services. It enables developers to push messaging to mobile devices. An email platform for IT professionals and marketers operates through the Amazon Simple Email Service.
Amazon offers a suite of applications that increase business productivity such as Amazon Chime for online video meetings, calls and chat; Amazon WorkDocs for file storage and sharing; Amazon WorkMail for business emails with the calendar; Amazon WorkSpaces for desktop streaming; and Amazon AppStream for remote desktop access. Several IoT services are also present that provide a back-end platform for managing data transfer. Hardware with limited IoT functionality is available through the AWS IoT Button. AWS Greengrass extends the AWS compute capabilities to IoT devices.