5 Most Important AWS Uses for Devs
Though it can sometimes seem so when you’re accessing millions of pieces of information via hundreds of websites and eCommerce businesses from the palm of your hand, on the bus, when traveling, or while waiting in line at the post office, “the cloud” is not a magical fairy place where computers are invisible and data is stored in puffy white raindrops.
It’s actually hardware, and software, and millions of hours of infrastructure built and maintained by engineers. And it’s computers -- many, many computers -- which speak to each other on and offline, and allow nearly uncountable people from running businesses, websites, and services, on top of the infrastructure built over twenty years to bring the might of 21st century technology to the palm of your hand.
And the world’s most dominant infrastructure and business doing this is called AWS: Amazon Web Services.
Founded without fanfare in the mid-2000s, AWS is the most dominant cloud computing business in the world, accounting for 30% of the cloud market share today -- which is near twice as much of what its next closest competitors manage to put together (and those competitors aren’t exactly small-time companies themselves, but no other than Microsoft, Google, and IMB -- heard of ‘em?).
But what is AWS, exactly? Is it just a giant computer in the sky? And what service does it really fulfill? And why is it so dominant? In this article, we’ll dig into answering some of these questions.
What is AWS, Really?
Investopedia defines AWS in these simple terms: “AWS is made up of so many different cloud computing products and services.” So, you’ll have a basic idea if you think of AWS as a supermarket: each aisle hosts a number of products and services that can help you run certain aspects of your internet business or service using the cloud. Some of these include: servers, storage, networking, remote computing, email, mobile development, and security.
From there, we can break AWS into three main categories of product:
- EC2, Amazon’s virtual machine service,
- Glacier, a low-cost cloud storage service, and
- S3, Amazon’s storage system.
Within these three boxes, you can understand what AWS does in the simplest terms: it runs programs virtually and it stores API and data offsite. From there, however, AWS has literally hundreds of applications, functions, services, and businesses inside which can fulfill a variety of needs for a customer -- from allowing them to prototype, run, and track data on robot development; to tracking user data for online stores; to hosting the back-end of a website or web business so capacity is managed and the user experience is smooth regardless of timing and demand.
To understand this better, and to get a sense of how important this is for the internet we are so accustomed to using today, check out this snarky (but honest) introduction to a recent article from the Seattle Times, speaking of the might of AWS in the marketplace:
“It enables glitch-free Netflix streaming. It hosts digital drug-design tools of the kind that led to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. The Seahawks use its computing power to analyze game data. It stores a digital repository of King County’s archives. And even The Seattle Times relies on it to make sure the website doesn’t crash during surges of reader traffic.
What is it?
It’s Amazon Web Services (AWS).”
So What Should a Dev Know about AWS?
With literally hundreds of uses, AWS can be almost everything to everybody. But what are the basics that any fluent internet user -- and especially a software developer or those who support them -- should know in order to interact well with this essential internet product and service.
1. For Development: AWS Lambda
If your servers are overwhelmed, or you are as a dev, Lambda may be the answer you’re looking for: this event-driven, serverless computing platform allows devs to work in an environment highly capable of supporting any development. You merely take care of the coding and AWS will handle the rest -- from responding to events to automatically managing the computing resources required by the code you write, Making your life (and work) significantly less difficult, and your web products significantly more responsive, effective, and reliable.
2. For Security: Amazon VPC
This service from AWS, called VPC, allows devs to build out a private network in the cloud which is lock-boxed from external interests and accessible only to the people you authorize, whether that be your team, your company, or even just yourself. This means you can create a private virtual network for your IT team, for example, which is cut off from the rest of the world, your company, or the work you do, and thus immune to prying eyes or security threats.
3. For Speed: Amazon Cloudfront
Amazon Cloudfront is the internet service provided within AWS that allows you to use their CDN, or “Global Content Delivery Service.” This means AWS, and Amazon manage your content within their cloud, and ensure users can access it as fast as currently possible. They store it, deliver it, and present it effectively -- all with minimum latency and with high integration into the rest of the AWS ecosystem.
4. For Database: Amazon RDS
AWS’s RDS service is meant to make your database infrastructure as simple as possible. Within minutes, a dev can set up dedicated instances for databases, each being fully managed by the AWS support team and capable of supporting multiple database engines including SQL, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, and more. Forget about weeks of building infrastructure and hours of maintenance every week -- this is all taken care of by AWS’s RDS.
5. For Infrastructure: AWS Beanstalk
If you’re planning on using any number of AWS products as services, chances are you’re already thinking that it’s going to be a major headache to manage them all yourself, adding time, effort, learning, and work to your already full plate. That would be true -- if not for AWS Beanstalk. Beanstalk is called an “orchestration service” and it can be used by devs to orchestrate various AWS services, including EC2, S3, Simple Notification Service, CloudWatch, autoscaling, and Elastic Load Balancers. It also can be used to deploy and scale web applications and services developed with Java, .NET, PHP, Node. js, Python, Ruby, Go, and Docker on familiar servers such as Apache, Nginx, Passenger, and IIS.
There are literally hundred more uses from AWS, and if you’re curious, we invite you to dig into this helpful video which elaborates on 50 top products AWS provides:
If any of this sound like something you want to learn more about, or something your company may want to integrate into their infrastructure, you’re in luck: Jobsity has dozens of AWS experts on hand, who are all part of our team of the Top 3% of developer talent in Latin America, and we’d love to talk about how you can make these products and services a more effective part of your online business. So don't hesitate to reach out: We’re standing by and would love to talk!
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