What is a AWS

What is AWS?

Amazon Web Services is a set of cloud services (over 200) from Amazon operating on a commercial basis. It provides services at both the infrastructure (virtual servers, storage resources) and platform (cloud databases, cloud middleware, cloud serverless computing, development tools) levels for creating mobile apps.

AWS entered the market in 2006 and is currently number two in the world by capacity. Its most popular services include:

1. Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)

EC2 provides subscribers with virtual server platforms, storage systems, and a load balancer. Users can choose a pre-configured server with a pre-installed operating system or build it themselves. The service also allows users to create their own images or use their own operating system. To ensure security, access to EC2 servers can be restricted based on the IP address. The service charges by the hour, while some options offer monthly payment plans.

2. Simple Storage (S3)

S3 provides subscribers with up to 5 TB of allocated disk space. A key feature of the service is that the “http” protocol has been replaced with BitTorrent for downloading files. Price is based on the amount of disk space used, number of queries, and outgoing traffic.

3. The Relational Database Service

The Relational Database Service provides users with a virtual database on a dedicated server. The platform is configured and optimized for the chosen database. The minimum disk space for the database is 5 TB. Access is configured according to user preferences and security policies. For example, customers can allow connections strictly from certain IP addresses (subnets) or only from security groups that are specified in the EC2 service. Payment is charged by the hour.

4. Route 53

Route 53 gives users the ability to set up a DNS server in the Amazon cloud, seamlessly integrating with other AWS services. Payment is charged by server query, but a limited amount is provided for free.

5. Identity Access Management (IAM)

A team management tool for regulating user access. Within an AWS account, various resources can be created and shared with other users. Team members can be put into groups with various levels of access: administrators, testers, and developers.

6. Elastic Block Store (EBS)

A block-level storage system. Once the volumes are mounted, a user can create file systems, start a database, or use them in other ways. EBS volumes are located in Availability Zones, in which automatic replication occurs to protect against data loss in case of failures. This service keeps the data in the file system even after the EC2 instance has been closed.

Amazon Web Services provides users with most cloud solutions at an affordable price. Clients can customize their list of services by only selecting the ones they want. Each service has a Free Tier, which significantly reduces the overall cost.

AWS services can be managed in one of three ways:

  • AWS Console in the browser
  • AWS CLI — A utility for command line management
  • Software Development Kit (SDK) - These are available in various programming languages: C++, Java, Python, PHP, etc. Even if the required language is not available, users can find community-supported libraries or write their own set of tools.

The appropriate method depends on the administrator’s qualifications and the objectives.

Advantages of AWS

  1. More economical due to renting resources (payment by the hour or by number of completed queries).
  2. The largest Infrastructure in the world, serving customers in nearly every country.
  3. Unlimited data
  4. Generates full data redundancy as data is duplicated on various remote servers.
  5. Requires no additional configuration.
  6. Free and responsive user support.

Disadvantages of AWS

  1. The platform’s bandwidth is limited by the bandwidth of the Internet connection.
  2. High access delays depending on the distance between the servers and the end user.
  3. Only suitable for storing depersonalized data or data of no commercial value, since the platform has suffered a number of cyberattacks.
  4. Not beginner friendly. All the tools are designed for experienced professionals.

AWS Security

The cloud platform offers various security mechanisms:

  1. The Web Application Firewall (WAF) - This blocks traffic based either on patterns written by the developer or on pre-made platform patterns for known attacks. It can be deployed at the CloudFront layer, the load balancer, or the API gateway. AWS bears responsibility for the health of the WAF, while the developer is only responsible for the correctness of the rules.
  2. AWS Shield – A solution for protection against DDoS, or "Distributed Denial of Service" attacks.
  3. AWS Athena – Allows data to be searched in the S3 storage using SQL. The user simply has to write queries, such as through a web interface, and receive the results.
  4. AWS Macie – Allows for the discovery, classification, and protection of sensitive information within AWS. It has pre-built templates for searching for personal data, bank cards, and other similar information.
  5. AWS GuardDuty – A threat detection service capable of identifying suspicious activity on the processor or disk, attempting to guess passwords, connect to suspicious domains, and more.

There are many other security products available on AWS, plus users can upload their own antivirus software to the cloud if desired.

Learn more about database.

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