Chapter 1. What is Amazon Web Services?

This chapter covers

  • Overview of Amazon Web Services
  • Benefits of using Amazon Web Services
  • Examples of what you can do with Amazon Web Services
  • Creating and setting up an Amazon Web Services account

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a platform of web services offering solutions for computing, storing, and networking, at different layers of abstraction. You can use these services to host web sites, run enterprise applications, and mine tremendous amounts of data. The term web service means services can be controlled via a web interface. The web interface can be used by machines or by humans via a graphical user interface. The most prominent services are EC2, which offers virtual servers, and S3, which offers storage capacity. Services on AWS work well together; you can use them to replicate your existing on-premises setup or design a new setup from scratch. Services are charged for on a pay-per-use pricing model.

As an AWS customer, you can choose among different data centers. AWS data centers are distributed in the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America. For example, you can start a virtual server in Japan in the same way you can start a virtual server in Ireland. This enables you to serve customers worldwide with a global infrastructure.

The map in figure 1.1 shows the data centers available to all customers.

Figure 1.1. AWS data center locations

1.1. What is cloud computing?

1.2. What can you do with AWS?

1.3. How you can benefit from using AWS

1.4. How much does it cost?

1.5. Comparing alternatives

1.6. Exploring AWS services

1.7. Interacting with AWS

1.8. Creating an AWS account

1.9. Summary