Hazem Allbabidi

June 19, 2024 | 6 min read

AWS in a Glance

Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is one of the pioneers of the cloud computing industry. They provide various services that are being utilized by giants in the tech industry, such as Netflix. But what do they do exactly?

In this article, we will go through a brief introduction to cloud computing, a quick history of AWS, what they offer, and more.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is basically the utilizing of someone’s hardware resources for your own use case. To understand it better, we will go through how people used to deploy websites in the older days.

A few years back, if you wished to deploy a website, you would buy a server, set it up somewhere like your house or garage, deploy your website on it, and basically manage it for the rest of the websites life.

This was not feasible for multiple reasons. First, you’d have to invest in buying a server in order to deploy your website, no matter how big or small the website actually is.

Second, you’d have to manage that server, from cleaning it to keeping it connected to electricity and the internet, and even keep it in a cold room so that it doesn’t overheat.

Another reason is scalability. Imagine that your website starts gaining some audience, and your hardware requirements increased. You might, at some point, have to buy one or more servers to handle the load of the website, meaning you’d have spend more upfront money and ensure that the servers are maintained well.

From these struggles came the idea of cloud computing. What cloud computing basically is, is that it’s one or more servers being managed for you. All you have to do, is start setting up the website and focus on the development of it, without having to worry about any physical hardware and the maintaining of it. All of that is being taken care of by the cloud computing server provider.

What is AWS?

AWS is a service-provider that provides cloud computing capabilities across the world. They initially started off as an internal service for people within Amazon to be able to start and stop Virtual Machines easily, then, in 2004, they launched their first service, which is the SQS, or the Simple Queue Service, to all developers across the world.

Then, in 2006, they relaunched AWS with two additonal services, S3 and EC2. The former is an object storage solution that helps keep track of file and their different versions as well as being able to retrieve them easily. The latter is a Virtual Machine provisioning and managing tool that allows you to create VMs and destroy them easily.

Today, AWS offers hundreds of services, from ones that are used in many companies across the world, to ones that are very niche and targeted at specific people, such as Blockchain, Robotics, and even Satellite.

What Are The Provided Services?

AWS provides many services. One of their biggest services is the EC2 service. EC2 is short for Elastic Compute Cloud, which, as explained above, the Virtual Machine provisioning and maintaining service.

Another major service they provide is RDS, which is short for Relational Database Service. It allows you to create SQL database such as MySQL and PostgreSQL that are completely managed by AWS. All you have to do is use the database securely and ensure the security of the data. The managing of the servers that are running the SQL databases, as well as the database service itself, are all managed by AWS.

Another big service AWS provides is Amazon Lambda, it is a serverless function-as-a-service product that allows you to deploy functions without having to manage their deployment or servers. It provides you with a way of running a function on their servers that simply takes a request and returns a response. Think of it as a mini-webserver.

There are tens and hundreds of services on AWS that can fit your needs and helps you reach your goal faster.

Major Clients

AWS has many clients that include major companies. One of the biggest clients they have is Netflix. They use various services, from EC2 to deploy their web application, to ELB, or Elastic Load Balancer, for managing their many servers and balancing the request loads efficiently.

Another big client of AWS is Twitter, or X. They use EC2 as well to deploy their web application(s), Amazon DynamoDB as their NoSQL database, and Amazon CloudFront which as a CDN service that allows for the retrievel of files and content in general in a very fast method.

AWS has many more major clients, such as Sony, Facebook, AirBnB, and many more. They also have lots of smaller companies and start-ups as their clients.

Alternatives and Competitors

While AWS is one of the biggest cloud computing providers out there, there are many alternatives and competitors that offer similar services.

Google Cloud Platform, or GCP, is a cloud computing service provider that is owned by Google as you can tell by the name. They offere similar services to AWS, such as Virtual Machines and Servers, Managed Databases, Content Delivery Network (CDN), and more.

Azure is another cloud computing service provider that is owned by Microsoft. It is heavily used by public and governmental sectors due to their offering of Active Directory. But they also offer similar services, such as Servers and Virtual Machines.

Another famous company that provides similar services is Linode, which is owned by a company called Akamei. They offer less services than AWS but they are focused on the main services that a typical developer or development company would need.

A provider famous among developers is Digital Ocean due to its ease of use. It is more straight-forward and developer-oriented, making it a better choice in some cases to be used by individual developers or small teams.

There are more alternatives are focused on being a PaaS, such as:

These are more focused on developers in which they take care of the server management and allow you to focus on the actual development of your website.

In case you do not know the different between something like AWS or GCP, which are mainly an IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) and things like Netlify and Vercel, check out the article below:



AWS is one of the biggest cloud computing service providers that offers services for almost every technical need, from servers to blockchain, their platform is great for most people.

Thank you for reading the article, I hope you learned more about AWS and are excited to dive into the world of IaaS.

If you are interested in AWS and consider taking the Certified Cloud Practitioner certification, check out the Udemy course below, it is very educational and easy to understand:



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