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AWS: Your Complete Guide

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By: Olivia

January 16, 2018

Even those new to IT have probably heard that everyone is “moving to the cloud.” This transition from standard infrastructure is thanks in large part to Amazon Web Services.Currently, AWS offers “over 90 fully featured services for computing, storage, networking, analytics, application services, deployment, identity and access management, directory services, security. All of these services offer powerful, cloud based, pay-as-you-go alternatives compared to their legacy counterparts.”To help you better understand the scale at which AWS is capable of running, keep in mind that there are currently over 1 million enterprise customers worldwide who run the AWS marketplace software 70 million hours per month, according to DMR.Likewise, as of 2017, AWS owned 34% of all cloud (IaaS, PaaS) while the next three competitors Microsoft, Google, and IBM have 11%, 8%, 6% respectively, according to Synergy Group.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is a means of storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer's hard drive. Using cloud computing for data storage allows for higher-level services that can be “rapidly provisioned with minimal management effort” and offers extreme scalability compared to traditional hardware.

What is AWS?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Cloud IaaS) platform that provides computing power, data storage, and other IT solutions and utilities for organizations. Launched in 2006, AWS has become one of the most popular cloud platforms available.Jeff Bezos himself has compared AWS to early utility companies who, once “able to buy electricity from a public utility, the need for pricey private electric plants subsided.” Among its’ many benefits, AWS provides savings, security, and scalability.Through the use of AWS, Amazon has made it possible for organizations to eliminate the need to build and maintain private, on premise infrastructures. Instead, users only pay for what they need, creating a more scalable model without the management overhead of hosting the same architecture on site.In terms of security, AWS is said to be more secure than a company hosting its own website or data. With data centers across the globe that are continuously monitored and strictly maintained, customers are ensured that a disaster striking one region doesn’t cause a permanent data loss worldwide.

How does AWS work?

Best explained by, “EC2 is a web service that provides resizable computing capacity that you use to build and host your software systems. It’s primarily designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers and allows customers to obtain and configure capacity easily. One of the primary benefits of EC2 is the ability to capitalize on the autoscaling capabilities the cloud presents to us. Applications can be scaled up or down based on demand by taking advantage of Amazon’s compute and storage resources when and where you need them.”This means that with AWS, EC2 can automatically scale the number of VMs you have running during high-traffic times to handle demands as they increase or decrease. Based on this model, AWS has expanded its offerings, while following a similar model to EC2, and allow organizations to constantly make changes to their business ecosystem by adding and subtracting services, and/or expanding and reducing their current services.The AWS marketplace integrates with your current IT infrastructure and works along with many tools such as SAP, SharePoint, and Hadoop, among others.

What sets AWS apart?

As mentioned, AWS has over 90 services and among those are Amazon VPC, Elastic Load Balancing, Auto Scaling, Amazon Route 53, AWS Lambda, Amazon ECS, and at the core, Amazon EC2.Essentially, AWS has made it possible for companies to affordably to shift their entire data center to the cloud, meaning there is no longer a need to build data centers onsite. This prevents the massive costs of data center builds and operations. Plus, IT professionals no longer have to worry about implementation, integration, networking, and everything else that comes with building a data center.Compared to Microsoft Azure, “AWS’s main offering is its EC2 instances, which can be customized to a large degree, while Azure’s compute offering is focused on Virtual Machines. AWS bills by the hour, Azure bills by the minute. Perhaps one of the most important things to consider is that although comparable, AWS can often be seen as the cheaper option.”Put simply, some of the main advantages of AWS are:
  • Minimize overhead for investment, maintenance, and management
  • Provide resources that are reliable, and always globally available
  • Increase productivity by providing the right tools
  • Ensure security with modern cloud security standards
  • Improve scalability

What is AWS used for?

Based on what’s been discussed, we can break the usage of AWS down into 13 broad categories which its services fall into. Those include:
  • Compute
  • Storage
  • Data management
  • Migration
  • Networking
  • Development tools and application services
  • Management and monitoring
  • Security
  • Analytics
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Mobile development
  • Notifications
  • Productivity SaaS business offerings

Why should I learn AWS?

It’s hard to ignore that more companies are switching from the classic server infrastructure to cloud solutions, and IT professionals who are unfamiliar with cloud computing run the risk of getting left behind.“Whether you’re a web developer, a database admin, a system admin, an IoT developer, a Big Data analyst, an AI developer (and the list goes on and on), your life will be made much easier if you take advantage of Amazon’s platform. Their offerings touch almost every aspect of technology... They are constantly adding more offerings and innovating in a way that is leaving the competition in the dust.”From a career perspective, those with strong AWS knowledge can set themselves apart as a job candidate or an irreplaceable team member. Data from Forbes indicates that those who have the AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification make $125,871 on average.

Cybrary Resources for Learning AWS

Currently, Cybrary offers a few courses on cloud computing which include: Cloud+ and ISC2 Certified Cloud Security Professional.InterviewMocha recently released AWS-centric interview assessments which use powerful reporting to provide a detailed analysis of the test results to help you gauge your readiness for a position. You will get a measure of your strengths and weaknesses amongst learning objectives and industry-recognized competencies. The InterviewMocha AWS assessments available on Cybrary are:You can also read more about S3 in ‘AWS: Monitoring S3 With Events and SNS.’

To Summarize

Cloud computing and services like AWS are the future of business. AWS in particular, with its variety of offerings that provide scalability, savings, and security, have become a mainstay of organizations both large and small.AWS has become a highly convenient and powerful tool for those who use it. Professionals who learn to work with AWS reap the benefits of being both a sought-after and highly paid professional, able to expand their expertise into a number of areas using this technology.

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Olivia Lynch (@Cybrary_Olivia) is the Marketing Manager at Cybrary. Like many of you, she is just getting her toes wet in the field of cyber security. A firm believer that the pen is mightier than the sword, Olivia considers corny puns and an honest voice essential to any worthwhile blog.
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