What is Amazon Web Services?
AWS is the largest provider of Infrastructure-as-a-Services (IaaS). Unlike Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which is software delivered off a cloud (think Gmail or Salesforce.com), Infrastructure-as-a-Service is completely unstructured IT resource rental. Customers in a wide range of industries are using Amazon’s on-demand, scalable, and easy to use web services for everything from websites to mobile apps to big data projects and enterprise applications.
You want a server, a database, or a web server? With just a few dozen clicks, AWS you can have one up and running.
How Amazon Web Services Work
The beauty of Amazon Web Services is its simplicity. Users determine their own computing needs and then rent the resources to fulfill those needs. They can choose instance (think server) size. They can choose their preferred operating system (Linux, Windows, etc.), they can choose memory and storage to suit their individual needs, and can even choose from a variety of content distribution services. In fact, AWS offers a choice of 23 different services for users.
Importantly, each service comes with a “by-the-hour” or “by-the-usage” price. The best part of IaaS is that users don’t need to pay any up front fee and, as their needs change, they can simply scale their resources up and down to accommodate their needs. This eliminates the cost of buying expensive IT equipment and eliminates the waste associated with having far more computing capacity than you need.
Why AWS is Especially Suited for the Small User
Much like Google’s model, AWS is especially suited for the small user. AWS offers a myriad of free services, including allowing users to run 1 micro-instance (small server) for free each month. Users can store up to 35 GB of data free (30 in EBS and 5 in S3) and can run a free micro-instance Database with 20 GB of storage.
These services are useful for everything from hosting a blog or a website (easily done for free using a micro-instance) to storing data (use free S3 or a free RDS instance) to even engaging in minor processing. Properly using the AWS free tier ensures both the processing power you need for your operations as well as the storage and back-up you need to ensure that your data is secure.
The Benefits of AWS for Large Users
In a nutshell, for larger users AWS offers significant savings vs. traditional infrastructure. Users avoid the costs of buying, installing, and maintaining infrastructure, which means they don’t build out or pay for unused capacity. With AWS, you’re only paying for what you need. There’s no commitment required and when you’re done with the resources, you turn them off and stop paying. For nearly all uses, this translates into a significant improvement on ROI vs. traditional infrastructure.
Users also gain the benefits of scalability. With virtually unlimited capacity available, a properly configured user never needs to worry about availability or outages. This is especially useful for someone planning a big product launch or expecting heavy website traffic. They can quickly and efficiently secure additional resources. Even better, when the burst of activity subsides, users can then turn off and stop paying for those resources.
How Does CloudCheckr fit in?
CloudCheckr is a cost and usage analysis solution specifically designed for the intricacies of AWS. It removes the complexity attached to usage. CloudCheckr does this by performing a complete scan of the user’s deployment and compiling a comprehensive inventory of resources.
CloudCheckr then organizes the data in a way that provides actionable intelligence. Within its Resource Control module, CloudCheckr provides historical data, catalogues current resources, provides trending reports and notifies users of changes through its continuous change monitoring reporting. All of this allows a user to know what resources they used in the past, track and control their current resources, and predict their future needs.
CloudCheckr’s Spend Optimization model analyzes a user’s resource utilization and provides recommendations to optimize sizing. After a resource is properly sized, the module then provides purchasing recommendations to ensure that you’re purchasing in the most efficient manner possible. And, as an ongoing part of the CloudCheckr’s service, users are encouraged to repeat these checks each time a new resource is activated within the AWS system.
Best Practices is another CloudCheckr benefit and, in a nutshell, it compares a user’s deployment against CloudCheckr’s proprietary list of over 100 best practices. These checks are segmented into categories – Availability, Cost, Security and Usage, which makes it extremely easy to navigate through and use on an as needed basis.
So, there you have it. An overview of Amazon Web Services and some thoughts on how you and your business, no matter the size, might benefit from giving it a try. The increased availability, scalability and affordable cost make it pretty attractive for all users, whether they be very small companies or enterprise level businesses. And, if you’re using AWS and want to maximize the benefits you’re deriving, we hope you’ll give CloudCheckr a look. We can help all users – large and small – control resources, optimize deployment and ensure that they’re following best practices. Also, like AWS CloudCheckr offers a free tier—come over and give it a try.