5 Key Characteristics of Amazon Web Services - dummies

5 Key Characteristics of Amazon Web Services

By Bernard Golden

Part of Amazon Web Services For Dummies Cheat Sheet

When it comes to Amazon Web Services (AWS), it’s vital to understand its key characteristics to ensure that your applications run well in the Amazon environment. After all, as the saying goes, you can’t play the game without understanding the rules.

Here are the AWS characteristics that you should keep in mind when planning your applications:

  • AWS offers a variety of services, all designed to deliver one set of functionality. Each service stands alone, but you can mix and match them to meet the specific needs of your application.

  • Each service is, well, a service, offered via an API. Some of you may choose to use Amazon’s or a third party’s user interface, while others may choose to access AWS directly via APIs or the AWS software development kit. No matter how you access the services, remember that each has its own functionality and idiosyncrasies.

  • The AWS infrastructure is failure-prone, and Amazon achieves service robustness through redundancy. For those services that Amazon offers service level agreements (SLAs), it commonly maintains three copies of the computing and data associated with a service.

  • AWS is offered on an on-demand, pay for what you use model. AWS can be a fantastic bargain, with very low costs when you’re first starting to develop an application. However, the meter is always running, so to speak, so it’s important to track what you use.

  • AWS services are offered on a region- and availability zone-based partitioning. Accessing data in one region from EC2 instances in another imposes network traffic charges, so knowing where your data is located and your applications need to run is important if you want to keep costs down.