When our clients evaluate Amazon Web Services (AWS) they are overwhelmed by the vast range of services: EC2, S3, RDS, EBS, ELB, and so many more!
Users with non-technical background often want to know what these terms mean and how they relate to a physical hardware environment. With that as a context, let’s understand some basic services and key concepts of AWS.

  • EC2
Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) is similar to a virtual server that you might utilize with other hosting providers. Selecting the right type of EC2 will depend on the CPU size, memory and storage space required. Although an EC2 occurrence is comparable to a virtual server, you need to take a different view when talking of Amazon.
Consider an EC2 server as being provisional – this means you should anticipate the server to be engaged, and your application needs to have the intelligence to work around this. Also, when there is no application stored on an EC2 instance, you have the choice to begin and halt your servers at will, without unsettling your users or losing any data.
  • S3
Amazon’s Simple Storage Service is a reservoir or store where you can upload objects that are more like user-defined assets like images, documents and videos to a “container” and access them through a URL or API call. S3 can store massive amounts of objects, and you only pay based on what you use.
  • RDS
Amazon’s managed Relational Database Service (RDS) helps you to host your SQL databases (MySQL, SQL Server, Postgresql) in a controlled environment. This is a boon for developers who either don’t want to or cannot dedicate time and effort to being a pro in database administration. RDS streamlines and manages backups and redundancy with ease and effectiveness.
  • EBS
Elastic Block Storage (EBS) is akin to a virtual hard drive. You can provide a volume irrespective of size, and link the volume to an EC2 instance. You can connect an EBS volume to only one EC2 instance at a time, but an EC2 occurrence can have several volumes attached.
  • Glacier
Similar to S3, Glacier is typically used for archiving purposes rather than object storage. The incredibly cost-effective service comes with a downside of slow access speeds. If you need to access an existing object, be prepared to wait for three hours or more to gain your data.
  • ELB
An Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) helps you to bundle together multiple EC2 instances and stabilize traffic toward them evenly. As a powerful tool, it allows you to scale your application and be resilient to failures. By harmonizing the instances behind a load balancer uniformly across your Availability Zones (AZ), your application is secured against a single AZ going down.
  • Auto Scaling
Auto Scaling allows you to sustain application availability and empowers you to scale your Amazon EC2 capacity upwards or downwards mechanically based on stipulations you define. Whether it means running one Amazon EC2 instance or thousands, you can implement Auto Scaling to identify impaired Amazon EC2 instances and unhelpful applications, and replace the instances without your intervention.
  • IAM
Identity Access Management (IAM) is a significant part of AWS platform that has often been downplayed. IAM is where you establish access rights and permissions as to who can gain entry to your Amazon assets, what they have access to, and so on. A foolproof method is to create a login for each user and assign them only the least permissions they need. For instance, you might allow your developers the consent required to create new EC2 instances for testing reasons, but not to terminate any EC2 instances.
  • Security Groups
A cluster security group constitutes a clutch of rules that control access to your cluster. When you relate a cluster security group with a cluster, the rules that are dissimilar in the cluster security group, manage access to the cluster. Moreover, you can link a cluster security group with multiple clusters. In addition, you can connect a cluster security group with an Amazon Redshift cluster either when you provision the cluster or subsequently.
  • Amazon VPC
Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) helps you to initiate Amazon Web Services (AWS) resources into a virtual network that you’ve planned. This virtual network is similar to a traditional network that you’d run in your own data center, with advantages of running the scalable infrastructure of AWS.
  • AWS Pricing

    • On-Demand Instances

On-Demand Instances allows you to pay for compute facility by the hour with no lasting obligations. This relieves you from the costs and difficulties of planning, procuring, and maintaining hardware and takes care of what are usually large fixed costs into much lesser changeable costs.

    • EC2 Reserved Instances

Amazon EC2 Reserved instances help you to secure Amazon EC2 computing capacity for 1 or 3 years, by swapping over for a much discounted hourly rate (up to 75%), compared to On-Demand instance pricing.

    • EC2 Spot Instances

Spot instances enable you to bid on unused EC2 instances, which can lower your Amazon EC2 costs significantly. The hourly price for a Spot instance fluctuates depending on the supply of and demands for Spot instances. Spot instances are an extremely cost-effective choice if you can be flexible about when your applications run and if your applications can be interrupted. For example, Spot instances are well suited for data analysis, batch jobs, background processing, and optional tasks.

If you or your organization is looking for guidance on getting started with AWS, do get in touch, we’d be eager to help. Email: info@umbrellainfocare.com