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Jordan Tingling
Jordan Tingling

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Do we really need AWS?

Honestly, do we really need AWS?

Short answer, simply YES!! we do. The ease of mind and cost that AWS and other cloud providers offer is simply nothing short of spectacular. We also have layers and layers of security to protect even government official data, bank data and personally identifiable data (PID). ALL of that for a simple monthly / semi-annual / annual fee that is not stagnant. You pay-as-you-go, which simply means, the more you use or require to use, then the more you pay. The best and also possibly the worst part of this model is the cost, if you know what you are doing or have a team of professionals managing your infrastructure then you can greatly minimize your cost compared to that of creating, setting & configuring your own IT department / IT infrastructure and employing personnel, purchasing hardware, etc.

However, if you have no clue what you are doing, you can put yourself or business into a financial deficit. Automatic Auto Scaling can be disabled to give the users more control etc but the point is, know what you are doing when you enter the field of cloud computing (AWS / Azure / GCP) or get in contact with people who do.

What is AWS?

AWS is made up of many different cloud computing products and services. The highly profitable division of Amazon provides servers, storage, networking, remote computing, email, mobile development, and security. AWS can be broken into three main products: EC2, Amazon’s virtual machine service, Glacier, a low-cost cloud storage service, and S3, Amazon’s storage system.

AWS is so large and present in the computing world that it's far outpaced its competitors. As of the first quarter of 2021, one independent analyst reports AWS has over a third of the market at 32.4%, with Azure following behind at 20%, and Google Cloud at 9%.

AWS has 81 availability zones in which its servers are located. These serviced regions are divided in order to allow users to set geographical limits on their services (if they so choose), but also to provide security by diversifying the physical locations in which data is held. Overall, AWS spans 245 countries and territories.

PS: These percentages are probably a bit out of date but you get the big picture, AWS is still the king.

Cost Savings with AWS

Amazon took a refreshing approach to pricing its hosting when launching AWS. Every service is "a la carte", meaning you pay for what you use. This makes a lot of sense for server infrastructure, as traffic tends to be very bursty, especially the larger the site is.

Traditional hardware, for the most part, goes unutilized for 90% of its lifecycle. AWS helps deal with this problem by keeping it cheap during the slow times.

Scaling with AWS

As I said earlier, scaling can be wonderful but educate yourself on how to properly scale efficiently based on your requirements or get someone who can perform these tasks for you.

Since AWS’s cost is modified based on the customers’ usage, start-ups and small businesses can see the obvious benefits of using Amazon for their computing needs. In fact, AWS is great for building a business from the bottom as it provides all the tools necessary for companies to start up with the cloud. For existing companies, Amazon provides low-cost migration services so that your existing infrastructure can be seamlessly moved over to AWS.

As a company grows, AWS provides resources to aid in expansion. As the business model allows for flexible usage, customers will never need to spend time thinking about whether or not they need to reexamine their computing usage. In fact, aside from budgetary reasons, companies could realistically “set and forget” all their computing needs.

Can we trust AWS with our data?

Arguably, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is much more secure than a company hosting its own website or storage. AWS currently has dozens of data centers across the globe that are continuously monitored and strictly maintained. The diversification of the data centers ensures that a disaster striking one region doesn’t cause permanent data loss worldwide. Imagine if Netflix were to have all of its personnel files, content, and backed-up data centralized on-site on the eve of a hurricane. Chaos would ensue.

In fact, localizing data in an easily identifiable location and where hundreds of people can realistically obtain access is unwise. AWS has tried to keep its data centers as hidden as possible, locating them in out-of-the-way locations and allowing access only on an essential basis.

The data centers and all the data contained therein are safe from intrusions, and, with Amazon’s experience in cloud services, outages and potential attacks can be quickly identified and easily remedied, 24 hours a day. The same can’t be said for a small company whose computing is handled by a single IT specialist working out of a large office.

Conclusion

The most important feature in AWS is its flexibility. All the services work and communicate together with your application to automatically judge demand and handle it accordingly.

Combined with the fantastic API and the Amazon Machine Images you create, you can have a completely customized solution that provisions a server instance in under 10 minutes, and is ready to to accept connections once it comes online. Then you can quickly shut down instances when they are no longer needed, making server management a thing of the past.

AWS is my cloud provider of choice, however, Azure & GCP are both incredible cloud providers, each with their own advantages and disadvantages compared to AWS. My advice is to find one and stick with it and then understand another if you so choose too.

There are so many resources out nowadays to help people get started in AWS or resources for experienced cloud individuals as well.

Beginners - intermediate:
A Cloud Guru This is where I began my journey by completing my Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification. I recommend them highly for newbies but for people with more experience, I still do recommend them but I have a certain person by the name of Adrian Cantrill that is better at getting more detailed with AWS services.

Intermediate - Advanced:
Adrian Cantrill Without this guy, I definitely couldn't have passed any associate level certification. For those just starting out in AWS, I do recommend him, however, take note that his courses are very detailed, not cheap and 100% worth it.

For those who want a crash course and do not want to spend money just yet or at all, I have a few options that are 100% FREE:
AWS Skill Builder These are free lessons offered by AWS themselves.
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification Course (CLF-C01) - Pass the Exam! offered by FreeCodeCamp.

Thanks for tuning in, see you again next time!

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