Amazon Web Services fundamental concepts for absolute beginners (Q&A approach)

Amazon Web Services fundamental concepts for absolute beginners (Q&A approach) – Since the importance of Cloud Computing, in particular Amazon AWS, raising on daily basis, I decided to create a Q&A post to explain some of the most fundamental concepts of Amazon Web Services (AWS) for those who have no prior experience by any means.

This guide is intended for absolute beginners and is specifically designed for those that want to get started with AWS. If you have any prior knowledge about AWS reading this post equals to waste of your time so I highly recommend to skip it if you are familiar with the basic AWS concepts and terminologies.

  • What is AWS? It is cloud service stands for Amazon Web Services.
  • What does AWS provide? AWS is a Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
  • What is PaaS? Platform as a Service.
  • What is SaaS? Software as a Service.
  • What are the differences between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS?
    • SaaS provides a software in cloud and gives a link to you to access to it but the management of the app is not in your hands and it is done by a third party services. Such services are Google Apps, Box, Dropbox.
    • PaaS is the lower level than SaaS in which an environment provided to deploy applications however, there is no need to manage about infrastructure issues such as networking, OS, and hardware. The main focus of PaaS is to leave users to focus only on the application development and the business logic of the application. Examples, Google App Engine, Heroku, Openshift Red Hat.
    • IaaS is the fundamental building blocks for cloud services which is highly automated, self-provisioned, metered, and available on-demand. IaaS offers services via dashboards and APIs. IaaS clients have direct access to servers and storage like the traditional way but with much higher order of scalability. IaaS is the most flexible cloud computing model and allows for automated deployment of servers, processing power, storage, and networking.
  • Benefits of cloud services? (1) High availability (2) Fault tolerant (3) Scalability (4) Elasticity
  • What is VPC? It stands for Virtual Private Cloud. It is like your Facebook homepage that you have full control of setting the security level and telling who can access and what permissions they have.
  • What is a VPC used for in AWS? In AWS VPC we can put AWS EC2, AWS RDS but usually S3 is out of VPC. In other words, AWS VPC is a private section of AWS, where you can place AWS resource, and allow/restrict access to them.
  • Who is number one AWS customer ? Netflix is hosted on AWS and it is number one customer of Amazon.
  • What is Amazon EC2? It stands for Elastic Compute Cloud. It is like a server (instance). The common use of EC2 instance is for web hosting, or processing activity.
  • What is Amazon RDS? It stands for Relational Database Service. It is like a database server. The common uses of RDS are:
    • Customer account information
    • Inventory catalog
  • What does it mean AWS is highly scalable? AWS provides high scalability means when traffic to a service is increasing, AWS is automatically provisioning new instances (e.g., EC2 instances) to handle the load.
  • What does it mean AWS is highly elastic? AWS has elasticity as well. This means when load to a service decreases, Amazon automatically decommissions the instances from the VPC.
  • What is Amazon S3? It stands for Simple Storage Service that allows users to save their files there and access them anywhere, anytime. It can be seen as a large unlimited bucket. S3 common uses are: (1) Mass storage (2) Long-term storage. Dropbox is a nice backup service that is built on top of S3.
  • What is an AWS region? It is a data center in a part of the globe where providing different services such as EC2, S3, RDS, etc.
  • What is availability zones in an AWS region? Each AWS region has a number of availability zones. An availability zone is a physical location that holds an AWS data center. For instance if Oregon has availability of 3 means in Oregon zone there are three different physical data centers and if one fails the other two have your data. As a result, you don’t lose your data at all.

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