At this point we’ve all heard the term cloud computing, AWS, etc but in a startup world, where you have to be focused on delivering results, How can you quickly find out if AWS is right for you when every website is just filled up with lingo and super long documents.

AWS 101

In simple terms, think of parts of the computing stack separated into different products so that you can use only what you need with minimum maintenance.

A reduced and Uber-simplified description of AWS products

EC2  - Is a full (VPS) computer/server.

Route 53  - Amazon’s DNS system.</p>

CloudFront - A CDN aka web cache for hyper accelerating distribution of files.

S3 - A “hard drive” as big as your pockets go.

Dynamo DB -  A NoSQL database

RDS - A Relational Database (Oracle or MySQL)

Cloudwatch - Monitoring for cloud services

IAM - Security credentials/Access to cloud services. This allows you to manage users and their permissions

SES - Sending email Service

Beanstalk - A runtime for applications

Do I need all of these of these services?

You can get away doing most things by yourself with VPS but mixing and matching these services should provide you a tight fit for your needs with high availability and scalability with relatively easy maintenance.

What are regions?

Regions are basically data centers where your services are deployed. It is VERY important to remember the existence of regions, most tools don’t provide access to defining regions and I have seen questions on stackoverflow and forums where silly answers are provided that could have been resolved if the correct region was setup. Different regions provide different prices.

Is there APIs so I can automate and manage services?

Yes, in my case I have used boto, a python interface. There are also command line tools that can give you manage access.

How much does it cost?

There’s a calculator online that helps you figure all that out. Of course, if you reserve/buy long term contracts, you can save big time.

There are other cloud providers, how does AWS compare?

That, will be a future post, stay tuned.