What is AWS?
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a collection of web services offered by Amazon, that can help you launch your website or app in a way that is flexible, stable, scalable, global, and cost-effective. If you’re just putting up a small personal website about the misadventures of your neighbor’s cat, you might want to stick with a simple GoDaddy account. But if you’re trying to build the next Facebook, a digital infrastructure for a large corporation, or an Uber for birthday-party clowns, you might want to consider using a more powerful service like AWS. So, without further ado, here are five good reasons to switch to AWS.
AWS is Flexible
In contrast with consumer-grade web hosting services like GoDaddy, AWS is more of a pro-grade service. AWS gives you access to your own virtual computer, which runs on Amazon’s physical machines.
While consumer-grade services like GoDaddy allow you to tweak some settings in cPanel to add some level of functionality to your website, AWS gives you the power to do anything you want with your virtual computer. You can build your own server, install your own software… even install the operating system of your choice.
In contrast to a physical computer, the virtual computer that Amazon gives you is “elastic”. It can expand and contract depending on your needs. It starts out as a tiny thing with almost nothing in it (and you pay next to nothing for it). As you add files, run programs, and transfer data, the storage size, processing power, and bandwidth of your computer grows. Amazon gives you practically unlimited access to storage, bandwidth, and computing power, and only charges you based on how much you actually use.
AWS is Stable
Some DIY types prefer to build their own servers, on their own computers, rather than using a web host. The idea is that if you build it on your own computer, you are in full control of your data. The truth is, though, if you were to create your own server on your own computer, there are still many factors that are outside of your own control. Sitting in a computer on your desk, your data is still subject to the dangers of the physical world. If your computer is destroyed by a mischievous toddler, a hyperactive dog, a fire, a flood, a poorly-balanced cup of Mountain Dew, a hurricane, a catastrophic hard-drive-failure, or just your average run-of-the-mill meteorite, your entire service goes down. Users can no longer view your website or engage with your app. Your customers are not happy.
AWS solves this problem by storing copies of your files in computers all around the world. Amazon safely backs up your data in computers in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia. By doing this, Amazon ensures that your files will survive until humanity loses its tenuous grip on modern computing technology, or until the sun inevitably expands and envelops the Earth in its fiery embrace.
AWS is Global
Aside from making your files essentially impossible to destroy, sending them all around the world allows them to be served much quicker to users in other countries. While information travels quickly through fiber-optic cables, a trip across the Pacific Ocean does take time. Having to bounce information back and forth between data centers on distant continents can create enough lag-time to annoy your customers and drive them into the arms of your competitors, who are providing their services from locations much closer to your users’ homes and businesses. AWS solves this problem elegantly and powerfully, by serving your clients from the data centers that are nearest to them.
AWS is Scalable
Imagine you’re creating the next big social media app. You start out nice and simple, like Twitter; users can only send each other a maximum of 140 characters of text. Each character takes up a single byte of storage space and bandwidth on your servers. If you have 1,000 users, and they’re each sending an average of 1,000 characters of text per day, you’re only going to be transferring and storing around 1,000,000 bytes (~1mb) on your servers. Not bad! Your personal computer can certainly handle that. Even if you grow to 100,000 users, you’re still only talking about 100mb per day.
But what happens when one of your junior developers decides that it would be fun to surprise you by adding an awesome new feature that lets users send photos and videos to each other through your app? The amount of data you’re transferring (and storing) can skyrocket from a few hundred megabytes to thousands of gigabytes (or terabytes) every day. Your personal computer and internet service provider probably can’t handle that kind of load. Even shared hosting providers like GoDaddy can struggle to keep up if you’re handling too much data.
AWS is Cost-Effective
Before services like AWS, tech companies had to raise millions of dollars to build their own cloud-computing centers and server farms. Companies like Facebook would literally buy giant warehouses around the globe and fill them with massive computer systems. Building this kind of infrastructure was extremely expensive, and involved a lot of financial risk for entrepreneurs and investors. It was also very slow. You couldn’t just launch your photo-sharing feature in a day; you’d have to spend months (or years) building the physical infrastructure to handle the data that (you hope) will one day run through your servers.
AWS solves that problem in a beautiful way. Amazon already has that infrastructure built out, all around the world. As soon as you launch your photo-sharing feature, your clients can start using it. No matter how much traffic you have, no matter how much data you’re transferring and storing, Amazon can handle it. And in contrast with services like GoDaddy, where you have to pay upfront for a dedicated amount of bandwidth and storage space, Amazon only charges you for what you use.
For all these reasons and more, some of the world’s largest and most cutting-edge companies have switched to AWS. NetFlix, Reddit, Pinterest, MLB, and even the US Government (among many others) rely on AWS to handle their data.
How to AWS
To get started with AWS, join us for our free workshop! Miami. Pipeline Doral. Next Saturday afternoon (October 22, 2016). CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO!
We’ll see you there.