Understanding AWS and its Popularity

June 24, 2021

AWS stands for Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon. AWS provides cloud computing services to organizations. It offers a wide variety of computing power, databases, storage, content delivery networks (CDN), virtualization, and analytics.

A brief history of AWS

AWS was first launched internally in 2002 by Amazon to incorporate cloud features into its website.

In 2003, the idea of selling the servers as a cloud service was formulated.

In 2004, the first AWS service was launched to the public. The service was called Simple Queuing Service (SQS). It provided simple queue services.

In 2006, AWS officially launched its cloud services with three main segments. These are SQS, S3 (Simple Storage Service), and EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud). By 2007, AWS had about 180,000 developers on its platform. However, AWS started facing significant competition from companies such as Microsoft and Google.

In 2013, AWS saw one of its breakthroughs. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) moved its IT infrastructure to AWS. This was a huge success. In 2015, AWS recorded a profit of $4.6 billion.

Today, AWS has a ton of services and certifications. The demand for AWS services has also increased significantly. The AWS cloud service platform is now estimated to be used by more than 45% of the global market.

How AWS works

Think of an enterprise company that is not using cloud services. This means that the company has on-premise data centers and servers to handle and store their data.

Let’s say in 2019, about 3,000 users accessed various online services and the firm only had three servers to power up its software. When the number of users increases, the three servers would not be enough to support the additional users.

The company may be required to double its number of servers to handle the extra load. In this case, they would have to research what type of servers they need, purchase them, set them up, install appropriate operating systems, and then test them.

Performing all of these activities is quite hectic and cost-intensive. In some cases, companies may need to hire external consultants to help them manage their servers. As a result, such firms end up wasting significant time which could otherwise be invested in other productive activities.

This is the biggest problem that cloud computing providers such as AWS and others like Edge-as-a-Service provider Section seek to solve. Today, companies do not need to project or estimate future growth. As the user base grows, AWS can automatically add additional servers and resources to accommodate more people.

When using AWS, companies can choose a pricing model that suits their needs. This means that organizations can benefit from huge savings since they are only paying for what they use.

Some of the advantages of AWS are:

  • Scalability - As the number of users increases, you can scale up the number of servers your users need.
  • Elasticity - AWS servers can grow or shrink. As users increase and demand more resources, you can easily grow your dedicated server network. And if the number of users goes down, you can reduce the server’s resources.
  • Low cost - AWS has better pricing. Its services are cost-effective. Besides, you only pay for what you use. As a result, you can improve your application’s performance with minimal costs.

AWS popularity

In a 2020 StackOverflow survey, about 26% of the respondents used AWS.

Popular platforms

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The above findings were much higher than those of AWS’s close competitors; Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.

Cloud service providers

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The findings showed that AWS is among the most used platforms:

Most loved platform

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Interestingly, about 26% of developers who do not use this platform showed a huge interest in adopting it.

Most wanted -platform

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Reasons for its popularity

Let’s discuss some reasons why AWS is popular:

Early entry into the cloud market

AWS was introduced earlier than its main competitors. This gave AWS an upper hand to learn and improve on their services. AWS used this opportunity to provide customers with a fast and reliable infrastructure. When other competitors entered the market, they could not match AWS’s strength.

Global infrastructure

AWS covers about 25 geographic regions around the world. All these availability zones are connected using high bandwidth and low latency links. AWS also depends on remnant power supplies, redundant networking mechanisms, and different kinds of connectivity to manage these systems.

AWS global infrastructure

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Security

AWS offers real-time security. You can have real-time insights on various vulnerabilities and security issues. Therefore, companies have more time to focus on their goals.

Cost of scale and adaptability

AWS has modified its costing per customer usage and need. This allows small businesses and start-ups to manage their computing needs effectively. Depending on the user’s needs, AWS can help scale an application up or down. Amazon’s seamless migration tools also make it easier for existing applications to adapt to AWS infrastructure.

Innovation and new infrastructure

AWS has the most robust and comprehensive offering. The subsidiary releases new features, enhancements, and services weekly. AWS services can support the entire software development process.

Flexibility

AWS allows users to select different operating systems, databases, and languages. This functionality allows organizations to be more productive. Some of the database structures supported by AWS include Relations database, Non-relation database, In-memory Data Store, Data Warehouse, and Graph Database.

Free ties

AWS offers a full year free-tie option to help developers and customers get hands-on experience with its cloud platform before committing to a complete AWS cloud migration.

Conclusion

AWS provides a variety of services that fit different use cases. Its services range from primary storage and computing to the more specialized niche services like streaming media, robotics, and even quantum computing.

Organizations are increasingly leveraging AWS’s investment in machine learning and data analytics to help them make sense of all their data. Some of the huge corporations that use AWS include Netflix, Slack, Reddit, Twitch, and Pinterest.

Happy learning!


Peer Review Contributions by: Michael Barasa


About the author

Moses Maina

Moses is an undergraduate IT student. Moses is a full-stack web developer. He also loves interacting with CMS, such as WordPress.

This article was contributed by a student member of Section's Engineering Education Program. Please report any errors or innaccuracies to enged@section.io.