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Amazon Web Services – What it AWS? How does AWS works?

This article outlines the basics of Amazon Web Services. In this article I will outline What is AWS? and How does AWS works?

What is AWS?

Amazon Web Services  is an online platform provided by Amazon that provides scalable and cost-effective cloud computing solutions.

AWS is a cloud platform that offers several on-demand operations like compute power, database storage, content delivery, and various other functionalities to help corporates scale and grow. To be more specific, it is a large bundle of cloud-based services

The story of AWS:

As Amazon grew, to support its needs, it developed its internal infrastructure technology. That technology handles Amazon’s needs for handling large data. Beyond the need of handling data and shopping, it also very good at streaming video, hosting web applications, and storing a large amount of information.

At the success of its infrastructures, Amazon realized that it could rent these services to other users. Amazon invested more and built a strong infrastructure that handles every users’ needs.

Amazon’s investments paid off more than it expected. AWS’s share of Amazon’s profit for 2020 is almost 63%. Amazon has more than 100 million Prime subscribers in the United States and no close competitors in American e-commerce.

How does AWS works?

It is separated into different services; each can be configured in different ways based on the user’s needs. Users should be able to see configuration options and individual server maps for this service.

There are more than 100 services that comprise the Amazon Web Services portfolio. These services, by category, include:

  • Compute
  • Storage databases
  • Data management
  • Migration
  • Hybrid cloud
  • Networking
  • Development tools
  • Management
  • Monitoring
  • Security
  • Governance
  • Big data management
  • Analytics
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Mobile development
  • Messages and notification


It provides services from availability zones spread across regions around the world. Each available zones contains multiple physical data centers. A region is a collection of availability zones in geographic proximity connected by low-latency network links.

Businesses will choose one or multiple availability zones for the reasons of compliance and proximity to customers.  For example, a business can choose a virtual machine and replicate data in different availability zones to gain a highly reliable infrastructure that is resistant to failures of an individual server or an entire data center.

It provides an Auto Scaling tool to dynamically scale capacity to maintain instance health and performance


It provides web data storage service for archiving data. Also, its primary advantage is disaster data recovery with high durability.

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) provides scalable object storage for data backup, collection, and analytics. Amazon Elastic Block Store provides block-level storage volumes for persistent data storage when using EC2 instances. It offers managed cloud-based file storage.

Databases, data management  

AWS database domain service offers cost-efficient, highly secure, and scalable database instances in the cloud.

The Amazon Relational Database Service — which includes options for Oracle, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, and a proprietary high-performance database called Amazon Aurora — provides a relational database management system for its users. Italso offers managed NoSQL databases through Amazon DynamoDB.

Amazon Redshift offers a data warehouse, which makes it easier for data analysts to perform business intelligence (BI) tasks.

Migration, Hybrid Cloud

Amazon Web Services includes various tools and services designed to help users migrate applications, databases, servers, and data onto its public cloud. The AWS Migration Hub provides a location to monitor and manage migrations from on-premises to the cloud. Once in the cloud, EC2 Systems Manager helps an IT team configure on-premises servers and AWS instances.

Amazon also has partnerships with several technology vendors that ease hybrid cloud deployments. VMware Cloud on AWS brings software-defined data center technology from VMware to the AWS cloud. Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Amazon EC2 is the product of another partnership, extending Red Hat’s operating system to the AWS cloud.


It offers a highly secure cloud platform and connects your physical network to your private VN with a high transfer speed.

An Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) gives control over a virtual network to use an isolated section of the AWS cloud. AWS automatically provisions new resources within a VPC for extra protection.

Admins can balance network traffic with the Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) service, which includes the Application Load Balancer and Network Load Balancer. AWS also provides a domain name system called Amazon Route 53 that routes end users to applications.

You can establish a dedicated connection from an on-premises data center to the AWS cloud via AWS Direct Connect.

Developer tools 

It helps a user build, deploy, and run an application source code automatically. It also updates the server and instance on the workload.

A developer can take advantage of AWS command-line tools and software development kits (SDKs) to deploy and manage applications and services. This includes:

  • The AWS Command Line Interface, which is Amazon’s proprietary code interface.
  • A developer can use its Tools for Powershell to manage cloud services from Windows environments.
  • Developers can use AWS Serverless Application Model to simulate an AWS environment to test Lambda functions.

AWS SDKs are available for a variety of platforms and programming languages, including Java, PHP, Python, Node.js, Ruby, C++, Android , and iOS.

Amazon API Gateway enables a development team to create, manage and monitor custom application program interfaces (APIs) that let applications access data or functionality from back-end services. API Gateway manages thousands of concurrent API calls at once.  

Amazon Web Services also provides a packaged media transcoding service — Amazon Elastic Transcoder — and a service that visualizes workflows for microservices-based applications — AWS Step Functions.

A development team can also create a continuous integration and continuous delivery pipelines with services like:

  • CodePipeline
  • CodeBuild
  • CodeDeploy
  • CodeStar

A developer can also store code in Git repositories with its CodeCommit and evaluate the performance of microservices-based applications with AWS X-Ray.

Management and monitoring

 Using this service, an individual can optimize costs, minimize risks, and automate all the resources running efficiently on the AWS infrastructure.

An admin can manage and track cloud resource configuration via AWS Config and it’s Config Rules. Those tools, along with its Trusted Advisor, can help an IT team avoid improperly configured and needlessly expensive cloud resource deployments.

Amazon Web Serivc provides several automation tools in its portfolio. An admin can automate infrastructure provisioning via CloudFormation templates, and also use OpsWorks and Chef to automate infrastructure and system configurations.

An AWS customer can monitor resource and application health with Amazon CloudWatch and the it’s Personal Health Dashboard, as well as use it’s CloudTrail to retain user activity and API calls for auditing.

Security and governance

Amazon Web Service provides a range of services for cloud security, including Identity and Access Management, which allows admins to define and manage user access to resources. An admin can also create a user directory with Amazon Cloud Directory, or connect cloud resources to an existing Microsoft Active Directory with the Directory Service. Additionally, the Organizations service enables a business to establish and manage policies for multiple accounts.

Amazon Web Services has also introduced tools that automatically assess potential security risks. Amazon Inspector analyzes an AWS environment for vulnerabilities that might impact security and compliance. Macie uses machine learning (ML) technology to protect sensitive cloud data.

AWS also includes tools and services that provide software- and hardware-based encryption, protect against DDoS attacks, provision Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificates, and filter potentially harmful traffic to web applications.

The AWS Management Console is a browser-based graphical user interface (GUI) for AWS. The Management Console can be used to manage resources in cloud computing, cloud storage and security credentials. The AWS Console interfaces with all AWS resources.

Big data management and analytics

AWS includes a variety of big data analytics and application services. This includes:

  • Amazon Elastic MapReduce, which offers a Hadoop framework to process large amounts of data.
  • Amazon Kinesis, which provides several tools to process and analyze streaming data.
  • AWS Glue, which is a service that handles extract, transform, and load jobs.
  • Elasticsearch Service enables a team to perform application monitoring, log analysis, and other tasks with the open-source Elasticsearch tool.
  • Athena for S3, which allows analysts to query data.
  • QuickSight, which helps analysts visualize data.

Artificial intelligence

AWS offers a range of AI model development and delivery platforms, as well as packaged AI-based applications. The Amazon AI suite of tools includes:

  • Amazon Lex for voice and text chatbot technology;
  • Amazon Polly for text-to-speech translation; and 
  • Amazon Rekognition for image and facial analysis.

AWS also provides technology for developers to build smart apps that rely on machine learning technology and complex algorithms.

With AWS Deep Learning Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), developers can create and train custom AI models with clusters of graphics processing units (GPUs) or compute-optimized instances. AWS also includes deep learning development frameworks for MXNet and TensorFlow.

On the consumer side, AWS technologies power the Alexa Voice Services, and a developer can use the Alexa Skills Kit to build voice-based apps for Echo devices.

Mobile development

The AWS Mobile Hub offers a collection of tools and services for mobile app developers, including the AWS Mobile SDK, which provides code samples and libraries.

A mobile app developer can also use Amazon Cognito to manage user access to mobile apps, as well as Amazon Pinpoint to send push notifications to application end users and then analyze the effectiveness of those communications.

Messages and notifications

AWS messaging services provide core communication for users and applications. Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) is a managed message queue that sends, stores, and receives messages between components of distributed applications to ensure that the parts of an application work as intended.

Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) enables a business to send publish/subscribe messages to endpoints, such as end-users or services. SNS includes a mobile messaging feature that enables push messaging to mobile devices. Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) provides a platform for IT professionals and marketers to send and receive emails.

AR & VR (Augmented reality and virtual reality)

AWS offers augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) development tools through the Amazon Sumerian service. Amazon Sumerian allows users to create AR and VR applications without needing to know to program or create 3D graphics. The service also enables users to test and publish applications in-browser. Amazon Sumerian can be used in:

  • 3D web applications
  • E-commerce & sales applications
  • Marketing
  • Online education
  • Manufacturing
  • Training simulations
  • Gaming

Game development

AWS can also be used for game development. Large game developing companies, such as Ubisoft, will use AWS services for their games, like For Honor. AWS can provide services for each part of a game’s lifecycle.

For example, AWS will provide a developer with back-end services, analytics, and developer tools. Developer tools should help aid developers in making their game, while back-end services might be able to help with building, deploying, or scaling a developer’s platform. Analytics might help developers better know their customers and how they play the game. Developers can also store data, or host game data on AWS servers.

Internet of Things

AWS also has a variety of services that enable the internet of things (IoT) deployments. The AWS IoT service provides a back-end platform to manage IoT devices and data ingestion to other AWS storage and database services. The AWS IoT Button provides hardware for limited IoT functionality and AWS Greengrass brings AWS compute capabilities to IoT devices.

Other services

Amazon Web Services has a range of business productivity SaaS options, including:

  • The Amazon Chime service enables online video meetings, calls, and text-based chats across devices.
  • Amazon WorkDocs, which is a file storage and sharing service
  • Amazon WorkMail, which is a business email service with calendaring features.

Desktop and streaming application services include Amazon WorkSpaces, a remote desktop-as-a-service platform (DaaS), and Amazon AppStream, a service that lets a developer stream a desktop application from AWS to an end user’s web browser.

AWS pricing models and competition

Amazon Web Service offers a pay-as-you-go model for its cloud services, either on a per-hour or per-second basis. There is also an option to reserve a set amount of computing capacity at a discounted price for customers who prepay in whole, or who sign up for one- or three-year usage commitments.

If potential customers can’t afford the costs, then AWS Free Tier is another possible avenue for using AWS services. AWS Free Tier allows users to gain first-hand experience with AWS services for free; they can access up to 60 products and start building on the AWS platform. Free Tier is offered in three different options: always free, 12 months free, and trials.

AWS competes with Microsoft Azure, Google, and IBM in the public IaaS market.

AWS Certifications

 As companies shift workloads to the public cloud, it requires a new set of skills to design, deploy and manage applications in cloud computing.

In 2020, it continues to lead in public cloud adoption, and it currently offers 12 certifications that cover both foundational and specialty cloud computing topics.

Choosing the right AWS certification: What’s the value?

Getting certified shows that you have some of the most in-demand skills as validated by one of the most recognizable entities in cloud computing. In the enterprise, certification demonstrates a shared understanding of a platform, a shared terminology, and a certain level of cloud expertise that can speed up time to value for cloud projects.

How long does it take to become AWS certified?

With a full-time job and other commitments, investing 80 hours of study usually takes two months. If you are new to AWS, we recommend approximately 120 hours or three months to prepare. Start with the fundamentals, and then move to the Solutions Architect – Associate Learning Path.

Which cloud certification is best?

  • Amazon Web Service currently offers 12 certifications: a foundational certification, three associate-level certifications, two professional-level certifications, and six specialty certifications. You can find a full overview of all Learning Paths to prepare for the certifications on the Amazon Web Service’s Learning Library Certifications page.
  • Cloud Practitioner
  • Developer – Associate
  • SysOps Administrator – Associate
  • Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA-C02)
  • DevOps Engineer – Professional
  • Solutions Architect – Professional
  • Advanced Networking – Specialty
  • Security – Specialty
  • Machine Learning – Specialty
  • Database – Specialty (DBS-C01)
  • Data Analytics – Specialty (DAS-C01)
  • Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty

How do I become AWS certified?

While there are not set-in-stone steps to studying for the Certification, these steps are the most straight-forward.

  1. Enroll in training class, such as any of the ones mentioned in this article. They will certainly increase your knowledge of cloud computing and AWS.
  2. Review any Study or Exam Guides available.
  3. Read multiple whitepapers. These hold some invaluable information, which may answer many of your questions.
  4. Practice, practice, practice. Practice exams will help ease any worries or stress you may be having about the certification exam.
  5. Schedule the exam once you are ready. It typically takes anywhere from 80-120 hours of practice/studying to be prepared for the exam based on experience and the certification you are pursuing.