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What is Amazon Cloud, Its Advantages and Why Should You Consider It

Amazon-Cloud-Web-Services

According to research firm Gartner, software as a service (SaaS) will rise from $14.5 billion to $22.1 billion, platform as a service (PaaS) will go from $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) will increase from $8.1 billion to $15.5 billion from 2013 to 2015. So, the total cloud computing market spend will go from $23.8 billion to $39.4 billion in that time period.

Cloud computing is an opportunity to have low variable costs (that scale with the business) replace high infrastructure expenses upfront. With cloud, businesses don’t have to plan for and get IT infrastructure such as servers much in advance. They can deliver results quickly by accessing thousands of servers virtually within a few minutes through the cloud.

As you would probably know, cloud computing means IT resource delivery on demand with ‘pay as you go’ pricing, with resources being delivered through the internet. It can prove useful when you need to quickly access low cost and flexible IT resources. You might need it to support vital business operations or something as simple as photo sharing.

What is Amazon Cloud?

Known commonly as cloud computing nowadays, web services in the form of IT infrastructure services began to be offered by Amazon in 2006. These are known as Amazon Web Services (AWS).

AWS provides a low-cost, scalable and highly reliable infrastructure platform in the cloud. This has been adopted by thousands of businesses globally. Australia, the US, Japan, Europe, Singapore and Brazil are among the data center locations. The locations are widespread to make sure the system is robust and secured against the impact of outages or other such problems.

The AWS bouquet of services includes the following:

  • Simple Storage Service – This covers archiving of application programs and data and online backup. The service is low cost, high speed and scalable.
  • CloudDrive – This lets users utilize web connected devices to access and upload photos, music, documents and videos. They can also use their devices to stream music.
  • RedShift – The service is designed for analytic workloads connecting with business intelligence tools and standard SQL based clients. It is a data warehouse service that handles petabyte-scale data.
  • CloudSearch – is used for the integration of customized search capabilities and is a scalable search service.
  • Mechanical Turk – This lets developers incorporate human intelligence in remote procedure calls. It is an application program interface (API) that uses a human network to carry out tasks that computers are not suitable for.
  • Dynamo Database – is a NoSQL database which is fully managed and known for its scalability and low latencies.
  • ElastiCache – is protocol-compliant with Memcached, which alleviates database load by speeding up dynamic web applications. Memcached is an open source and high performing distributed memory object caching system. ElastiCache is a fully managed caching service.
  • Elastic Compute Cloud – can be used as an unlimited number of virtual machines and lets business subscribers run app programs.

What are the Advantages of Amazon Cloud?

Security

SAS 70 Type II, PCI DSS Level 1, HIPAA, FISMA Moderate and ISO 27001 are among the well-recognized certifications that AWS has. It is a durable and secure technology platform. To ensure the safety and integrity of your data, Amazon’s data centers and services have several layers of physical and operational security.

AWS conducts regular audits to ensure its infrastructural security.

It has implemented best practices in security and also provides documentation on how to deploy the security features. It ensures the availability, integrity and confidentiality of your data and provides ‘end to end’ privacy and ‘end to end’ security.

For more details, please refer to https://aws.amazon.com/security/

Cost-Effectiveness

There are no long-term commitments or upfront expenses as AWS provides low and ‘pay as you go’ pricing. Amazon passes the benefits of cost saving on to customers in the form of lower prices as it manages and builds global infrastructure at scale.

You consume only as much storage or computing power as required. No upfront investment or minimum expenditure is required. Generally, it is not easy to predict the requirements for the resources. So, you might allocate fewer resources than required and impact customer satisfaction or you might allocate excessive resources and not be able to maximize return on investment (ROI).

The flexibility of cloud can help to achieve the correct balance. You can terminate your relationship with AWS whenever you want to, scale down or scale up as required and have a fully self-service experience online. You can get new resources nearly at once. Reduce costs and drive revenues by taking on new opportunities as the cloud enables you to respond rapidly to changes small or large.

You are not limited to a set amount of computing resources, bandwidth or storage.

For more details, please refer to https://aws.amazon.com/economics/

Flexibility and Openness

AWS is a platform agnostic to operating systems and languages. You select the programming model or development platform that can be the most beneficial for your business. You can select the services (one or more) you want to use and also select how to use them. The flexibility lets you concentrate on innovation rather than infrastructure.

You can use the programming languages, architectures, operating systems and databases you are familiar with. In this manner, there won’t be any need for your IT personnel to pick up new skills and the overall time to market and productivity will improve.

You need to make substantial investments in operating systems, programming languages and new architectures while using traditional models of IT solutions delivery. You may not be able to respond quickly to opportunities and changing markets and your business may slow down owing to the time taken to adapt to new technologies, although the investments are valuable.

When the opportunity for innovation appears, you don’t want to have to deal with prolonged processes for procurement or support legacy apps and infrastructure. You want to move quickly.

It is cost-effective and easy to migrate legacy apps to the cloud. You don’t have to rewrite apps and can utilize advanced capabilities of computing to move legacy apps to AWS cloud.

There is not much difference between development of apps using hardware resources that already exist and developing apps on AWS. You can use the services for specific needs separately or together as a platform, as AWS provides a virtual and flexible IT infrastructure. From offsite data backups to batch processing to full web apps, AWS runs them all.

You can migrate discrete components of legacy apps to move SOA-based solutions to the cloud. Generally, these components are self-contained apps with not many internal dependencies.

Large organizations usually run pieces of apps in the cloud and other pieces in their own data centers. Gradually, these organizations begin to value the benefits and transition more projects to the cloud. Many see the distinctive advantage of the AWS cloud and include it in their IT mix forever.

Instead of the long time it takes to plan, hire, budget, operate, procure, deploy and set up for a new project, you can begin deployment immediately when you sign up for AWS as you have the equivalent of thousands of servers through the cloud. AWS makes it easy to be productive, once you get started, whether you want to host a production solution or prototype an app. A number of customers improve their time to market on account of the flexibility that AWS offers.

For more details, please refer to https://d36cz9buwru1tt.cloudfront.net/AWS_Overview.pdf

Elasticity and Agility

AWS lets you iterate, experiment and innovate quickly through its huge global cloud infrastructure. You can quickly scale up or scale down on the basis of demand. You can also use new apps, rather than wait for months for hardware.

So, you can swiftly subtract or add resources in accordance with customer demand and manage costs more effectively. You can also avoid resource provisioning upfront for projects with short lifetimes and variable consumption rates.

You have to pay only for as much as you use, regardless of whether you deploy thousands of virtual servers or only one and whether you need them 24/7 or only a few hours daily.

Elasticity and scalability were equated with infrastructure and investment in traditional IT organizations. Elasticity and scalability provide an opportunity for better ROI and savings in the cloud.

In the context of AWS, the ability to scale computing resources downwards or upwards without difficulty and with very little friction is known as elasticity. It helps to not provision resources upfront for projects with short lifetimes or variable consumption rates.

You can use AWS to allot resources through API calls, in place of buying hardware, setting it up and maintaining it to allot resources to apps.

A traditional IT organization would find it difficult to handle if traffic increased several times in a short period. You have to be sure that your existing infrastructure can handle a sudden increase in traffic and that such an increase will not affect normal operations of the business. Auto scaling and elastic load balancing can scale up AWS cloud based resources automatically in case of unforeseen increase in demand and also scale them down if demand gets reduced.

The AWS cloud also proves useful for jobs recurring at regular intervals, jobs that are ‘mission critical’ and jobs in the short term.

For more details, please refer to https://aws.amazon.com/architecture/

Experience

You can benefit from the skills and infrastructure management capabilities of AWS that it continues to innovate and improve upon. Amazon has more than 15 years of experience in delivering global infrastructure at a large scale.

Conclusion

Amazon cloud is a secure service that can help you to reduce costs of infrastructure such as servers, along with savings on the number of staff required to build and maintain the infrastructure. So it has a positive impact on your bottom line.

Are you already using Amazon cloud? If so, share your experience with us in the comments section below.

About the Author
Kundan Singh
Kundan Singh heads the .NET team at Net Solutions and has over 14 years of experience in Microsoft Technologies. He also heads the Software Engineering & Processes Group at Net Solutions and is responsible for delivering key .NET projects.

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