Introduction to Amazon Web Services (AWS)


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This slide set was from a talk I gave on June 13, 2013 at Windsor Hackforge (

It's aimed at current or aspiring software developers who are interested in learning about cloud computing in general, and how to get up and running on Amazon's AWS Platform.

Whether you're new to virtualization and cloud services, or already familiar with the concepts and looking to ramp up quickly on the AWS service stack, there will be some useful information for you in this presentation.

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Introduction to Amazon Web Services (AWS)

  1. 1. p42systems.comAn Introduction for (Aspiring) DevelopersSaturday, June 15, 13
  2. 2. p42systems.comAgenda• Introduction to key concepts: virtualizationand cloud computing• Introduction to core AWS services• Demo: provisioning a new virtual machine(VM)Saturday, June 15, 13
  3. 3. p42systems.comWhat is “the cloud” anyway?• Means different things todifferent people• On demand resources• Used mostly for servers(web, database, application)• Possible to run a desktopenvironmentCPURAM DiskNetworkFOR RENTSaturday, June 15, 13
  4. 4. p42systems.comWhat can you do with it?• Try out a new app in a clean, isolated environment• Test an upgrade before doing it in production• Development, staging and testing environments• Run production servers (web, database, etc)• Load testing without impacting production• Access important software / data from anywhereSaturday, June 15, 13
  5. 5. p42systems.comWhat is aVirtual Machine?CPU Disk Memory Video SoundKeyboard& MouseHypervisorOperating System Operating SystemSaturday, June 15, 13
  6. 6. p42systems.comVirtual Servers - Recap• An operating system (Windows, Linux)• Multiple “instances” on shared hardware• EachVM is logically isolated from others• Connected via network (also virtual!)Saturday, June 15, 13
  7. 7. p42systems.comLots of Cloud ProvidersSaturday, June 15, 13
  8. 8. p42systems.comWhy Amazon?• High seasonal resource peaks (Christmas)• Lots of idle capacity for most of year• Why not rent it out?• Scale Out strategy is a cheaper way to runhigh-demand softwareSaturday, June 15, 13
  9. 9. p42systems.comAWS: Main CharactersELBRoute53EC2 S3Elastic Computing Cloud Simple Storage ServiceElastic Load BalancerDistributed DNS ServiceEC2Elastic Computing CloudSaturday, June 15, 13
  10. 10. p42systems.comElastic Computing Cloud (EC2)• Virtual Servers: Linux or Windows• Micro: 1 CPU, < 1 GB memory• Huge: 32 CPU, > 1TB memory• Fire upVMs on demand• Many purpose-specific instance types:High CPU, GPU, High MemorySaturday, June 15, 13
  11. 11. p42systems.comGeared for High Availability• Not perfect uptime, better than most• Built on cheap/commodity hardware• Redundancy built into software layer• Cheaper than hardware redundancy• Most outages are human-caused anyway!Saturday, June 15, 13
  12. 12. p42systems.comRegions & Availability Zones• VMs are deployed in regions• Each region has multiple availability zones• Data is stored in multiple availability zoneswithin a single region• Developer is still responsible for multi-sitearchitecture (alternative: Heroku)Saturday, June 15, 13
  13. 13. p42systems.comScale Up or Scale Out• Scale up - Mount yourVM image on morepowerful hardware• Scale out - Run multipleVMs withElastic Load Balancer (EBS)Saturday, June 15, 13
  14. 14. p42systems.comAmazon Machine Image (AMI)• Preconfigured server environments• “Virtual Appliance”• Examples: LAMP server, Squid Proxy, Drupal• Many free ones available, some requireadditional charges - “software rental”• Create your own AMIsSaturday, June 15, 13
  15. 15. p42systems.comStorage Considerations• Be careful which AMIs you choose• Ephemeral storage - data destroyed ontermination of instance• Elastic Block Store (EBS) - persistentstorage, backed by S3Saturday, June 15, 13
  16. 16. p42systems.comBut we’ve gotVMware!• Can work just as well as a cloud service• You are pre-buying capacity, whether youneed it or not• Potential to impact productionVMs(i.e. load testing, bandwidth constraints)• Capacity constraints appear sooner thanmost expectSaturday, June 15, 13
  17. 17. p42systems.comProgrammatic Management• Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)• Manage your entire AWS infrastructureprogrammatically• Respond automatically to changes indemand (scale out, scale back)Saturday, June 15, 13
  18. 18. p42systems.comFree Usage Tier• 750 hours / month (24h x 31d) for 1 year• Micro instance only• Doesn’t have to be 1VM! Could be 10!• Tip: Shut downVMs when not in useSaturday, June 15, 13
  19. 19. p42systems.comCosts• Pay-as-you-go model• Minimum charge: 1 hour• Range from 1.9c per hour to $$$• Prices lowered regularly• Most services have a free usage tierSaturday, June 15, 13
  20. 20. p42systems.comGetting Started• Sign up:• Lots of pre-configuredVMs available• Amazon Machine Image (AMI)Saturday, June 15, 13
  21. 21. p42systems.comDemo: Provisioning aVMSaturday, June 15, 13
  22. 22. p42systems.comObligatory XKCDSaturday, June 15, 13