Tech101 – Amazon Web Services

As part of my NPX preparation (AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional is one of the recommended qualifications) and my RapidMatter GitHub project (will run from AWS), I have been delving into the world of Amazon Web Services.  One statement: “Wow!”  I can see why they are the world leader in Public Cloud services.

Here is the cool thing, as an Enterprise/Cloud Architect you have a MASSIVE library of services (40+ at time of writing) that you can use to develop Cloud-based solutions for your customers.  As you read through the list below, you will see the fundamental building blocks for every solution.  By having this service matrix, you do not have to reinvent the wheel; it already exists and is ready to go.  Thus, you can focus on making sure your customer requirements are being met with elegant and innovative designs.

Getting Started (takes 5 minutes)

  1. You have a PC with a responsive and usable Internet connection
  2. Create an AWS account
  3. Provide a valid Credit Card
  4. Provide a valid phone number that must be verified
  5. Start using AWS immediately – there is a free tier (1 year trial period) for some services in some regions (micro instances)
  6. The UI is very intuitive and easy to use
  7. WARNING: You can spin-up most of the service catalogue.  Do not forget and leave them running, your credit card will be charged.

Core Services of AWS

  • EC2 – Elastic Cloud Compute – Virtual Machines you can provision (Instances) from a massive library of templates (AMI – Amazon Machine Images free and paid from the AWS Community/Marketplace)
  • EBS – Elastic Block Store – Persistent Virtual Disks for your VMs (Instances)
  • S3 – Simple Storage Service – Scalable, Object-based Storage in the Cloud
  • Glacier – Archive Storage in the Cloud

Under The Hood: AWS uses a heavily customised version of Xen as its hypervisor.

Pricing Models

  • On-Demand – Pay-as-you-go
  • Reserved Instances – Pay up front
  • Spot Requests – Bid for excess AWS resources against other AWS users


  • EC2 Container Service – Run and Manage Docker Containers
  • Lambda – Run Code in Response to Events

Storage & Content Delivery

  • Storage Gateway – Integrates On-Premises IT Environments with Cloud Storage
  • Elastic File System – Fully Managed File System for EC2

Edge Services (to be close to all of your customers around the world)

  • Route53 – Scalable DNS and Domain Name Registration
  • CloudFront – Global Content Delivery Network – Caches static content regionally

Simple Micro-services that just work

  • SQS – Simple Message Queue Service
  • SES – Simple Email Service
  • SWF – Simple Workflow Service
  • AppStream – Low Latency Application Streaming
  • Elastic Transcoder – Easy-to-use Scalable Media Transcoding
  • CloudSearch – Managed Search Service


  • RDS – Relational Database Service – MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server & Amazon Aurora
  • DynamoDB – Predictable and Scalable NoSQL Data Store
  • ElastiCache – In-Memory Cache
  • Redshift – Managed Petabyte-Scale Data Warehouse Service


  • VPC – Virtual Private Cloud – Isolated Cloud Resources
  • Direct Connect – Dedicated Network Connection to AWS

Administration & Security

  • Directory Service – Managed Directory Services in the cloud
  • Identity & Access Management – Access Control and Key Management
  • Trusted Advisor – AWS Cloud Optimisation Expert
  • CloudTrail – User Activity and Change Tracking
  • Config – Resource Configurations and Inventory
  • CloudWatch – Resource and Application Monitoring

Deployment & Management

  • CloudFormation – Templated AWS Resource Creation (for Sysadmins)
  • Elastic Beanstalk – AWS Application Container (for Developers)
  • OpsWorks – DevOps Application Management Service
  • CodeDeploy – Automated Deployments


  • EMR – Managed Hadoop Framework
  • Kinesis – Real-time Processing of Streaming Big Data
  • Data Pipeline – Orchestration for Data-Driven Workflows
  • Machine Learning – Build Smart Applications Quickly and Easily

Mobile Services

  • Cognito – User Identity and App Data Synchronisation
  • Mobile Analytics – Understand App Usage Data at Scale
  • SNS – Simple Notification Service – Push Notification Service

Enterprise Applications

  • WorkSpaces – Desktops in the Cloud (VDI)
  • WorkDocs – Secure Enterprise Storage and Sharing
  • WorkMail – Secure Email and Calendaring Service


Additional Resources

Published by


Chief Enterprise Architect and Strategist, 4xVCDX#133, NPX#8, DECM-EA.

One thought on “Tech101 – Amazon Web Services”

Comments are closed.