AWS Cloud Computing Platform

This blog post is a high-level overview of the AWS Cloud Computing Platform. First, let’s understand the AWS Cloud Computing Platform with respect to the categorization of some of its popular services. As of 2021, AWS provides over 200 services, including computing, storage, networking, database, analytics, application services, deployment, management, machine learning, mobile, developer tools, RobOps and tools for the Internet of Things. I have chosen a very few main ones as examples to bring the main objective of this post: how various types of AWS services fit into a larger scheme of things to help understand AWS Cloud Computing Platform.

Table of Contents

AWS Global Infrastructure

Let’s start with AWS Global Infrastructure. AWS Global Infrastructure is the core foundation of AWS. In my opinion, it isn’t easy to imagine AWS's leadership position in the cloud computing platform without AWS Global Infrastructure. AWS has data centers in multiple locations all over the world. The cluster of data centers is called AWS Region, and the individual data center is known as AWS Availability Zone. In addition to Availability Zones, AWS Global Infrastructure has the concept of Local Zones, Wavelength Zones, and OutPosts. These services are there to help improve the network performance of applications that have low latency requirements.

Foundation Services

Then we have foundation services that leverage AWS Global infrastructure. We can classify foundation services in Compute, Storage, Security and Access Control, and Networking categories at a high level.

Compute Category

In the Compute category, AWS has an EC2 service, one of the oldest AWS services. EC2 is the shorter form of Elastic Compute Cloud. EC2 is used to launch virtual machines on the cloud – these launched virtual machines are called EC2 instances. So, for example, you can launch Linux, Windows, and other types of EC2 instances.

Furthermore, AWS also has an Auto Scaling service in this category, a handy service if you have a strong service level agreement or non-functional requirements of high availability and performance. Auto-scaling service can be used to automatically launch instances depending on some kinds of metrics, such as if CPU utilization is over 70% of total capacity, or Request Count Per Target, etc.

There is also an ELB service, which is Elastic Load Balancer. Usually, an Elastic load balancer is used with the Autoscaling service, which distributes incoming requests on available EC2 instances.

AWS Storage Category

 Let’s move on to the next category of foundation services, the AWS Storage category; AWS has different types of services for different types of storage. For example, AWS has an S3 to store object storage type.

Then there is an EBS service, which is Elastic Block Storage service to store block storage type; for example, when we store files on disk, the operating system stores files in blocks.

AWS also has an archival service that is used to store files for later retrieval.

Security and Access Control

Let’s move on to another important category of foundation services which is Security and Access Control. In this category, there is IAM service, which is a shorter form of Identity and Access Management. IAM Service is used to manage users, groups, and their permissions, for example, what services and resources AWS users can use or manage.

AWS also has a Secret Manager for managing credentials; furthermore, there is an AWS Certificate Manager service to generate and manage SSL certificates and many more.

Networking

Another important category of foundation services is Networking. In this category, AWS has an Internet Gateway, which is conceptually similar to a router. Gateway service is used to connect EC2 instances on an internal private network to the Internet.

Additionally, AWS has a service to set up a VPN to connect your on-prem network to the AWS Cloud Network.

And there is also AWS Direct Connect service with the functionally same role as VPN, but Direct Connect is much more secure and has higher bandwidth than VPN.

Platform Services

Database

Next, we have platform services that leverage AWS Global Infrastructure and Foundation Services.  In the Platform services, let’s look at AWS services which are under the database category.

AWS has a relational database service which is called RDS. Using RDS, we can launch relational databases such as Oracle, MySQL, Postgres, SQLServer on the AWS platform.

AWS also has its own NoSQL database service, for example, DynamoDB.

Additionally, AWS has caching services such as Elasticache, Redis (in-memory cache) are AWS cache services offerings.

Analytic

Under the Analytic category, AWS has an EMR service that includes Hadoop, Spark, Hive, and other related services.

AWS also has a service called Kinesis for real-time processing, which is a Kafka alternative on AWS. Kafka is an event streaming platform.

AWS also has a service to implement data warehouse solutions in the cloud, such as RedShift. AWS also has many other related services to implement data pipelines on AWS.

Application Services

Under application services, quick examples are SES, a Simple Email Service, and SNS, a Simple Notification Service, and many other related services.

Deployment and Management

Then in the Deployment and Management category, AWS has ECS  (Elastic Container Service), AWS Docker service, and CloudWatch Service for monitoring and logging.

Mobile

In Mobile services, AWS has many services to build deploy apps on Apple’s IOS and Google’s Android platform, such as Location service, API Gateway, AWS Amplify, and many more.

AI/ML/IoT

AWS also has a vibrant set of services in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the internet of things.

For example,  it has Amazon SageMaker for machine learning.

In AI, it has Amazon Comprehend for Advanced Text Analytics, Amazon CodeGuru for Automated Code Reviews, Amazon Forecast for Demand Forecasting, Amazon Fraud Detector for Fraud Prevention, and many more.

Enterprise IT Applications

In addition to above all, AWS also has services in the Enterprise IT Applications category, for example, Amazon Workspaces, Amazon WorkMail, and Amazon WordDocs.

These applications for corporate email & calendaring, document collaboration, and virtual desktops make it easy to meet employees' usability, performance & reliability expectations and help improve sharing and collaboration.

A lot can be discussed in each category, but I think this much information is sufficient for the scope and objective of this post.

In brief, in this post, I provided a very high-level overview of AWS services in different categories with the help of examples of some main services in each category. This should help you wrap up the idea about various AWS services and how they fit in the larger scheme of things on the AWS cloud computing platform

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