Amazon Web Services: An insider’s guide (free PDF)

AWS was the first large vendor of affordable cloud infrastructure and services, and it remains a key player in the cloud computing market. This ebook offers a comprehensive look at Amazon’s expansive cloud ecosystem.

From the ebook:

What is AWS?
AWS is a platform consisting of a variety of cloud computing services offered by Instead of building an in-house data center, or leasing general purpose servers from traditional data centers, the costs of resource provisioning on AWS reflect actual usage, not reserved capacity. The service in question is also a factor in billing—pricing varies based on the individual product and storage type.

For example, pricing for S3 is divided into three tiers. Presently, in the US-East region, the standard storage tier starts at $0.023 per GB per month for the first 50 terabytes, with discounts thereafter. Infrequent access storage starts at $0.0125 per GB, and Glacier storage, designed to host backups and data archives, starts at $0.004 per GB.

In addition to the EC2 and S3 services, other services exist in the AWS portfolio. CloudFront, a content-delivery network (CDN), mirrors resources at “edge locations” to improve page loading time. Relational Database Service (RDS) is a scalable database server that supports MySQL/MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server, as well as Amazon’s own Aurora implementation of MySQL. Similarly, DynamoDB offers scalable NoSQL database support. Elastic Beanstalk allows users to quickly deploy and manage applications in the cloud from preconfigured container images.

AWS also offers specialized resources that are applicable to specific use cases. Video stored on S3 can be easily transcoded for mobile devices using Elastic Transcoder, and for any process not yet automatable, simple tasks can be completed by remote workers in Mechanical Turk—though this is more crowd computing than cloud computing. Amazon Connect is a cloud-based contact center service delivered through AWS, allowing businesses to scale to thousands of customer support agents.

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