Feb 22, 2021  

AWS Overview for Beginners: What is AWS & How Does it Work?

AWS Overview for Beginners: What is AWS & How Does it Work?

If you’re new to cloud computing, you may be wondering what AWS is and what it’s used for. Don’t panic – you’re not alone.

Below is a basic overview of AWS (Amazon Web Services) for beginners, covering our most common FAQs about AWS. We’ll also explain some of the other terms used within AWS cloud computing, including an introduction to AWS Lambda, AWS EC2, AWS s3 and more.

Our teams have been helping customers with AWS since it launched in 2006. We now work with some of the UK’s biggest AWS users.

What is cloud computing?

Before explaining what AWS is, you need to understand what cloud computing is. You’re likely to be familiar with it already.

Cloud computing is the use of services over the internet – such as data storage, development environments or software. If you’re editing a document through your email account, watching Netflix, or storing files online, you’re using “the cloud” rather than locally-stored systems.

Key benefits of cloud solutions include being accessible from any location with an internet connection, not needing local servers or networks, increased security, and lower “pay as you go” costs. This makes the cloud popular with both large and small businesses.

What is AWS?

AWS stands for Amazon Web Services, the world’s “most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform”. AWS helps millions to:

  • Lower their business costs, by only paying for cloud services and storage they need
  • Become more agile, offering systems you can access from anywhere in the world
  • Innovate faster, removing time spent worrying about in-house servers and software

AWS encompasses many services, including everything from databases to machine learning, all with security features built in. Popular services include AWS Lambda (serverless computing), AWS s3 (simple, secure storage) and AWS EC2 (scalable compute capacity).

Amazon Web Services are trusted by some of the world’s most well-known businesses, including NASA, Disney and Samsung.

How does AWS work?

AWS works by having physical data centres all over the world, which provide services to their customers in a reliable and secure way. A business can choose as many or as little of Amazon Web Services as they want, only paying for the space or services they need.

Case Study: How we used AWS services for the Home Office

A business can also prepay and commit to a set amount of usage, giving them a set amount of compute capacity at a discounted price.

As everything is on the cloud, AWS services update and maintain themselves automatically. Unlike software installed on your machine from a disc, you’ll spend less time updating and troubleshooting aging software. You can run your entire business using AWS services.

What is AWS used for?

There are more than a hundred different AWS services available, spanning a wide range of industries and business needs.

AWS can be used for:

  • Developer Tools – such as software development kits and coding
  • Data Storage & Management – essential for any larger business
  • Security & Compliance – to protect sensitive data in the cloud
  • Game Development – from making, to analysing how users play
  • Artificial Intelligence – chatbots, facial recognition and more

AWS can be used for nearly everything a business needs, and even provide their own email, file sharing and conferencing services.

If you’re unsure how your business could benefit from AWS, or how you’d start moving your business to the cloud, we can help. AWS has helped many small businesses grow in scale, and has helped huge enterprises reduce their AWS costs and manage their data better.

AWS FAQs

Is there an AWS tutorial for beginners?

Amazon have official tutorials about AWS here, explaining in more depth what AWS is and how it works. From launching an app using AWS, to migrating databases, there are a number of resources available for developers or hobbyists needing an introduction to AWS.

What are AWS Lambda, EC2 and s3?

These are 3 popular services within the larger umbrella of Amazon Web Services. There are over 100 in total, for a wide range of tasks.

  • AWS Lambda is a compute service that runs without the need for a server (a device that accepts and responds to requests made by other computers). AWS Lambda works by only running your code in the cloud when needed, letting you create back-end services.
  • AWS EC2 stands for Elastic Computing, referring to its scalability. EC2 provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud, allowing users to rent virtual computers to run applications. It is particularly good for higher-performance computing and hosting websites.
  • AWS s3 stands for Simple Storage Service. It allows you to safely store any amount of data you need on the cloud. Like most AWS services, s3 offers a flexible pricing model based on your needs. Data in s3 is protected from both errors and external threats.

AWS works by allowing you to pick the services you need (e.g. for storage, computing, or development) and only paying for those services. You can choose to have a pay-as-you-go model, where you only pay for the storage or capacity you use or a discounted contract.

We can help you choose which AWS services your business really needs, and help you predict how much you might end up using.

How can Digital Dimensions help?

Digital Dimensions are used by some of the UK’s most well-known AWS users, in both the public and private sector. We can help your business complete a full migration to the cloud, achieving a perfect balance between your spend and security safeguarding concerns.

Here are some of the services we provide to businesses:

 

Interested in a cost-effective, tailored solution for your business? Please contact us for AWS advice today.

Neil Butler

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