A Closer Look at the Amazon Web Services Cloud Platform

Regardless of the cloud strategy that you want to implement, there is a great deal of information out there. However, it sometimes makes sense to get started with a computing ‘101.’ As the latest earnings report from Amazon indicates, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has the largest footprint of any provider in the public cloud market. For this reason, we will look at the basics: What is Amazon Web Services, what do you need in order to take advantage of these services, and who is currently using it?

What Is Amazon Web Services?

The best description comes straight from Amazon itself: Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides on-demand computing resources and services in the cloud, with pay-as-you-go pricing. What this means is that you can run a server on the AWS platform, which you can log in to, set up, secure and install apps, as easily as you would with a server that was sitting right in front of you.

Making use of the resources that AWS offers is like buying electricity from a company instead of running a generator, with many of the same benefits: the capacity will match your needs, only pay for the power you need, the economies of scale, and working with a provider who has vast experience in running large-scale operations.

The History Of AWS

Amazon Web Services was launched by Amazon.com from the massive internal infrastructure that the company had developed to handle its retail operations. It was among the first firms to introduce the pay-as-you-go model for cloud computing. It provides users with throughput, computing power and storage which is scaled to their needs.

AWS provides its services from several data centers across the world. This allows AWS customers to spin up their virtual machines (VMs) while replicating data in different data centers, offering a highly reliable service that can withstand failures in data centers or individual servers.

The AWS portfolio is made up of more than 100 services, with some of the most prominent being compute, databases, infrastructure management, application development and security.

What You Need to Consider with a Public Cloud Service Like AWS

Before you decide if a public cloud service is the best solution for you or your organization, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do you need to rent, or do you want to purchase computing capacity?
  • Do you want to manage your infrastructure, or do you want someone else to do it?
  • Are you comfortable letting someone else handle the back-end stuff, while you work on building your business?

If your answer to these questions is ‘Yes,’ then you are probably ready to go on the public cloud with AWS.

AWS has a number of core services that include Auto Scaling, Amazon VPC, Amazon Route 53, Amazon ECS, Elastic Load Balancing, AWS Lambda and, the service that brings them all together, Amazon Elastic Compute, and better known as EC2.

EC2 – The Backbone Of AWS

What is EC2? It is a web service which offers users resizable computing capacity for them to use in order to build and host their web-based software systems. Amazon designed the service for the purpose of making the scaling of cloud computing simpler for developers, while making it easier for customers to obtain capacity and to configure it. Among the clearest benefits of EC2 is that it exposes and capitalizes on the auto-scaling features that are possible with cloud computing.


AWS has been a hit with large and small businesses. But the true test of such a service is its adoption by leading companies. Amazon Web Services now boasts a host of high profile customers that include Samsung, Nokia, Netflix, Comcast, Yelp and Expedia, among others.

The fact that all of these top companies leverage AWS in one way or another makes it clear that AWS is the top contender with regard to cloud computing. With its massive market share, Amazon has made the catchphrase ‘moving to the cloud’ less of an ideal and more of a current reality.


If you would like to place a bet on a proven leader in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) space, you need not look much further than the venerable Amazon Web Services (AWS). As most will know, maturity comes with experience but, in the case of AWS, there is a nearly unmatched range of associated services. Although many customers will be unimpressed by its basic services when compared with its competitors, the large scale of its operations and a large collections of value-adds lets most organizations build the exact infrastructure they need.