An Introduction to Amazon Web Services (AWS)

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AWS is the most popular cloud service provider in the world. In 2021, AWS had 32% of the market share among all the cloud providers. For comparasion, Microsoft Azure’s market share stood at 19% and Google Cloud’s stood at 7%. AWS is nearly two times popular compared to the 2nd most popular cloud provider (Azure)! That’s a huge feat to achieve. Some of the notable websites using AWS are listed below:

  • Netflix
  • BBC
  • Adobe
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • …and many more sites

In fact, even Netlify (where my site is hosted) uses AWS! This again shows us the sheer popularity of AWS

Cloud Provider Market Share

Now, let us take a quick look at AWS and its console.

The AWS Console

The AWS Console is the place from where you will be able to control and use every service that AWS has to offer. It looks something like this:

AWS Console

I have the recently viewed services tab filled up because those are the services that I recently used. For new accounts, that tab will be empty. AWS has many services ranging from running simple virtual machines to dedicated VMs for ML to AR/VR to quantum computing. They even have a service which helps satellite owners to pull the data from their satellites quickly! Once you will open the console and explore the services, you will realize that for every problem, AWS always has a solution. Now, let’s see how you can sign up to AWS for joining the fun!

Signing up for an AWS Account

You will be needing three things for signing up for an AWS account:

  1. A valid Email address
  2. A valid phone number
  3. A valid payment method (AWS has something called the ‘Free Tier’. More info about it later in this post).

Once you have ensured that you have these things, follow the steps below!

  1. Go to https://portal.aws.amazon.com/billing/signup and enter your details.

    AWS Signup

  2. Enter your billing information in step 3. $1 USD/EUR will be charged for card verification and the amount will be refunded within the next 3-5 working days.

    AWS Billing Information

  3. After verification of your payment method, email and phone number, your AWS account will get activated! Well done! Now log in to your account and you should be able to access the console.

Now, let us look at the different categories of services which are provided by AWS.

Categories of AWS Services

After clicking on Services, you should get a list similar to this:

AWS Services Categories

If you scroll down, you will see many more services. In this post, I will be focusing mostly on the Compute service. In-depth look and tutorials about all the other services will come soon! So stay tuned!

The Compute Service

The compute service was one of the first services launched publicly by AWS way back in 2006. The compute service helps us to launch VMs via the EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) service.

To access the EC2 console, click on Services > Compute > EC2.

AWS EC2 Console

The EC2 Console page should look something similar to the screenshot below:

EC2 Console

There are multiple things that can be done in the EC2 console. For example, to create an instance, we have to go to the instances page and then the instance creation wizard will help us to create a new instance.

The Key Pairs page contains everything that we will ever need to create and assign a SSH key to an instance.

In the next post, I will go in depth into the EC2 dashboard and I will explain every option in depth. Now, let us take a look at the ‘Free Tier’.

What is the Free Tier in AWS?

AWS has something called the ‘Free Tier’. Under this, AWS gives you many of the services for free (upto a certain limit) for 1 year. Some of the services are free forever. Some of them only have a one month trial.

The Free Tier starts from the day when you sign up for your AWS account.
Some of the notable services provided for free for 1 year under the Free Tier are listed below:

  • A t2.micro instance (Linux or Windows) for 750hrs/month each for 12 months.
  • 15 GB (combined) inbound and outbound data transfer from any EC2 instance for 12 months.
  • 5 GB S3 storage with some read/write limitations.
  • 50 GB cloudfront bandwidth per month for 12 months.
  • …and many more things.

I will be posting an in depth post about the AWS Free Tier soon! So keep an eye out for that post!

Verdict

AWS is the most popular cloud provider out there. They have a lot of services to offer and as they say, if you are stuck with something DevOps related, AWS probably has an answer to that.

I hope that this article has helped you to get a jump start on AWS. Stay tuned for more tutorials on AWS and other popular cloud service providers!

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