This blog is meant for those who are either using Cloud Computing or planning to use AWS in your Startup. AWS is a US based largest cloud service provider in the world owned and operated by Amazon Inc.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud services platform used by businesses of all sizes, for computing power, database storage, content delivery, and several other business specific needs like IoT and Machine Learning.

In plain English, AWS allows you to do the following:

  1. Running web applications (websites) in the Cloud to host dynamic or static websites of your business.
  2. Store all kinds of files in the cloud at easily affordable pricing with security, allowing you to access them from anywhere with great ease and comfort.
  3. Using databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQL Server or Oracle for your applications? You can easily scale and manage them to store information.
  4. You can deliver static and dynamic files quickly around the world using a Global Content Delivery Network (CDN) offered by AWS.
  5. Send bulk emails to your customers for notifications or marketing purposes.
  6. Dynamically scale your computing infrastructure up or down, based on your changing business requirements. No questions asked!

Let’s start with Basic terminology

  1. Region  is a geographical area. Every region consists of 2 or more availability zones.
  2. Availability Zone  is simply a data center.
  3. Edge Locations are CDN endpoints for CloudFront. CloudFront is a Content Delivery Network (CDN) Service.


  1. EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud)  instances are just virtual machines in the cloud on which you direct OS-level access and control. Run applications, services, databases whatever you like.
  2. LightSail  automatically deploys and manages compute, storage and networking capabilities required to run your applications. If you have no prior experience with AWS, this is the easiest way to get started.
  3. ECS (Elastic Container Service)  is a highly scalable container service to run Docker containers in the cloud. EC2 instances are used as nodes for ECS to run Docker containers, fully managed by AWS.
  4. EKS (Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes)  is a managed service for Kubernetes on AWS without manually installing and setting up Kubernetes and your own Control plane.
  5. Lambda  is AWS’s serverless technology that allows you to run functions in the cloud. A huge cost-saver as you pay only when your functions are executed.
  6. Batch  enables you to efficiently and easily run batch computing workloads of any scale using Amazon EC2 and Spot Fleet.
  7. Elastic Beanstalk  is for automated provisioning and deployment of resources like a highly scalable production website.


  1. S3 (Simple Storage Service)  is an affordable storage service of AWS to store objects like files, folders, images, documents, songs, videos etc. However, it cannot be used to install software, games or Operating Systems.
  2. EFS (Elastic File System)  offers network-based file storage for use with your EC2 instances. Based on the NFSv4 protocol it can be used concurrently by thousands of instances.
  3. Glacier  is an extremely low-cost archival service to store files for a long time like a few years or maybe even decades.
  4. Storage Gateway  is a virtual machine that can be installed on your on-premise servers. The data from your on-premise servers is backed up on to AWS for more durability.


  1. RDS (Relational Database Service)  to run relational databases like MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Oracle or SQL Server. Even AWS has its own Database called Aurora DB based on MySQL. These database services are regularly maintained by AWS like installing patches, antivirus security and others.
  2. DynamoDB  is a highly scalable and powerful NoSQL database providing single-digit millisecond latency at any scale.
  3. Elasticache  is a way of caching data on the cloud. Most frequent database queries are cached, taking the load off your database.
  4. Neptune  has been launched recently which is a fast, reliable and scalable graph database service.
  5. RedShift  is a data warehousing solution where you can run complex OLAP queries.


  1. DMS (Database Migration Service)  is used to migrate on-premise databases onto AWS. You can also migrate from one database type to another. Eg: Oracle to MySQL.
  2. SMS (Server Migration Service)  is for migrating on-premise servers to AWS easily and quickly with assured consistency.
  3. Snowball  is a briefcase-sized appliance to transfer terabytes of data inside and outside of AWS.

Networking & Content Delivery

  1. VPC (Virtual Private Cloud)  is simply a data center in the cloud in which you deploy all your resources. It allows you to isolate your resources from other internet users and secure them.
  2. CloudFront is AWS’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) that offers Edge locations which cache resources.
  3. Route53  is a highly available DNS (Domain Name System) service offered by AWS. Domain names can also be registered through it.
  4. Direct Connect  can help you connect your data center to an Availability zone using a high speed dedicated line.
  5. API Gateway  is a highly scalable service that allows you to create, store and manage APIs.

Developer Tools

  1. CodeStar  is offered to create, manage and work with Application development projects on AWS. A CodeStar project helps you develop, build and deploy your applications on AWS easily.
  2. CodeCommit  is an AWS’s Git-based version control service to store and manage your code and other application assets privately in the AWS cloud.
  3. CodeBuild  is a service offered to automate the tedious process of building (compiling) your code.
  4. CodeDeploy  is all about deploying your code in EC2 instances automatically.
  5. CodePipeline  is where you can configure a set of stages for building, testing, authentication and deployment on development and production environments.
  6. Cloud9 is an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for code collaboration – writing, running and debugging code in the cloud.
  7. X-Ray  is used by developers to analyze the behavior of distributed applications with capabilities like request tracing, exception collection, and profiling.

Management Tools

  1. CloudWatch  is a service exclusively offered to monitor AWS environments like CPU utilization of EC2 and RDS instances. You can also trigger alarms and Lambda scripts using the metrics.
  2. CloudFormation  is a service for turning infrastructure into the cloud. This service offers templates which are capable of firing up a whole production environment in minutes.
  3. CloudTrail  is a way of auditing AWS resources keeping a log of all Audits and trails made to AWS.
  4. OpsWorks  essentially helps to automate Chef deployments on AWS.
  5. Config  service monitors your environments and triggers notifications whenever your configurations checks are not passed.
  6. Service Catalog  is a service targeted for large enterprises mostly, helps to authorize what services will be used by users and what won’t be.
  7. Trusted Advisor  is an AWS service giving recommendations on Cost optimization and environment security.
  8. AWS Auto Scaling  helps to automatically scale resources up and down, based on the Cloudwatch logs and metrics.
  9. Systems Manager  helps to group your resources, to quickly identify issues and take action accordingly.
  10. Managed Services offers continuous management of your AWS infra, helping you focus more on your applications.


  1. Athena  helps you run SQL queries on an S3 bucket to find files.
  2. EMR (Elastic Map Reduce)  allows big data processing like Apache Spark, Hadoop and Splunk etc.
  3. CloudSearch  is used to create your own completely managed search engine for a website.
  4. ElasticSearch  is mostly similar to CloudSearch but giving more features like Application Monitoring.
  5. Kinesis  helps in streaming and analyzing real-time data at large scale. It is capable of storing TBs of data per hour with production-grade quality.
  6. Data Pipeline  is used to move data from one service to another. Eg: from S3 to DynamoDB or vice versa.
  7. QuickSight is a business analytics service used to create visualizations in a dashboard for data storage services in AWS. Eg: for S3, DynamoDB, etc.
  8. Glue  is an ETL – extract, transform, and load service which makes categorizing, cleaning, enriching and moving data reliably between various data stores, simple and cost-effective.

Security, Identity, and Compliance

  1. IAM (Identity and Access Management)  helps you to add/delete users, manage access policies, create groups to manage multiple users.
  2. Inspector  is an agent installed on EC2 instances, which reports any security vulnerabilities.
  3. Certificate Manager  offers free SSL certificates for your domains that are managed by Route53 or authenticated by your External DNS services. These free SSL certs can be used only for AWS services.
  4. Directory Service  allows you to use your company’s account to log in to AWS console.
  5. WAF (Web Application Firewall)  offers application-level security blocking SQL injection and Cross-site scripting attacks on your applications.
  6. CloudHSM  allows you to meet corporate and regulatory audit and compliance requirements for Data Security, using dedicated Hardware Security Module (HSM) appliances within AWS cloud.
  7. Cloud Directory  allows you to build cloud-native directories for organizing hierarchies of data in multiple dimensions.
  8. KMS (Key Management Service)  is a fully managed service which makes creation and control of encryption keys used to encrypt your data easy.
  9. Organizations  allow you to create groups of AWS accounts that you can use to more easily manage security and automation settings.
  10. Shield  is a fully managed DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) security service that safeguards applications running on AWS.
  11. Artifact  is where you get all your compliance certifications.
  12. Macie  is a security and data visibility service to classify and protect sensitive and business-critical content.
  13. GuardDuty offers intelligent threat detection to secure your AWS accounts and workloads associated with them.

Application Services

  1. Step Functions  helps you visualize what goes on internally inside an application and what are the various microservices being used.
  2. SWF (Simple Workflow Service)  helps you co-ordinate automated and human-led tasks.
  3. SNS (Simple Notification Service)  allows you to send email notifications or SMS notifications from your AWS services. It is a push-based service.
  4. SQS (Simple Queue Service)  is used to decouple your applications. It is a pull-based service. It is one of the first services offered by AWS.
  5. Elastic Transcoder  helps you change a video’s format and resolution to support a different set of devices like tablets, smartphones and laptops of different resolutions.

Mobile Services

  1. Mobile Hub  is a console for mobile app development. It allows you to add, configure and design features exclusively for mobile apps.
  2. Cognito  helps set up and manage signup using social identity providers for your users.
  3. Device Farm  enables you to improve the quality of apps by quickly testing on hundreds of mobile devices.
  4. AWS AppSync fully managed GraphQL service with offline programming and real-time data synchronization features.
  5. Mobile Analytics  helps to analyze mobile data simply and cost-effectively.

Business Productivity

  1. Alexa for Business  empowers your organization with voice, using Alexa. It allows you to build custom voice skills as per your unique requirements.
  2. Chime  is used for online meetings and video conferencing.
  3. WorkDocs  is used to store documents in the cloud.
  4. WorkMail  is used to send and receive business emails.

Desktop & App Streaming

  1. WorkSpaces  is a VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure). It allows you to set up and use remote desktops in the cloud.
  2. AppStream 2.0  allows you to stream desktop applications to your users in the web browser. Eg: MS Word in Google Chrome.

Artificial Intelligence

  1. Lex  helps you build chatbots quickly.
  2. Polly  is an AWS service for text-to-speech. Audio versions of notes can be created using it.
  3. Machine learning  is very useful for training models, where you have to just provide your dataset and target variables and the rest of the process is taken care of by AWS.
  4. Rekognition  is an AWS’s face recognition service. It allows you to recognize objects and faces in images and videos.
  5. SageMaker  is a scalable service offered to build, train and deploy Machine Learning models.
  6. Comprehend  is a Natural Language Processing (NLP) service that uses ML to find relationships and insights in text. This can also be used for sentiment analysis.
  7. Transcribe  is AWS’s speech-to-text service that offers high-quality and affordable transcriptions. It is basically the opposite of Polly.
  8. Translate  is like Google Translate which allows you to translate text from one language to another.

AR & VR (Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality)

  1. Sumerian is a suite of tools to help you create a high-quality VR experience on the web. You can create 3D scenes and publish it for your users to access.

Customer Engagement

  1. Amazon Connect  allows you to create a customer care center in the cloud.
  2. Pinpoint  is like Google analytics for mobile applications. It helps you to understand users and engage with them.
  3. SES (Simple Email Service)  allows you to send bulk emails to your customers at an extremely low price.

Game Development

  1. GameLift  is a fully managed AWS service which allows you to host dedicated game servers. It also seamlessly scales without taking your game offline.

Internet of Things

  1. IoT Core is a cloud platform offered as a managed service that lets connected devices  –  cars, light bulbs, sensor grids to securely connect and interact with cloud applications and other devices.
  2. IoT Device Management  helps you manage your IoT devices.
  3. IoT Analytics  is used to perform analysis of data collected by your IoT devices.
  4. Greengrass  lets your IoT devices to process the locally generated data with an advantage of AWS services.
  5. Amazon FreeRTOS  is a real-time operating system for microcontrollers that makes it easy to securely connect IoT devices locally or to the cloud.

Yeah, that was a lot to go through, if you did it, Congratulations!

Having an understanding and overview of these services will help you leverage Cloud Computing better.

The next articles will be going in-depth into some AWS Services and how/why you need to use them. Stay tuned!