What is AWS? [Definition – Amazon Web Services] – How does it Work?

This article will give you complete details regarding what is AWS, its advantages, disadvantages, and how does it work!

Let’s begin!

What is AWS?

AWS is one of the first cloud service providers. Initially, they offered services free of cost for a limited period. Then they charged users on a pay-as-you-go pricing model.

Amazon Website Services is a powerful cloud service provider that covers most regions of the world.

It has a global market share of around 30%. Its closest competitor, Microsoft Azure, is nowhere close. Today, Amazon Web Services is a clear market leader because of its out-of-the-box policies. The pay-as-you-go model has pulled in a lot of clients to its business.

At the time when this service was launched, the local vendors were charging insanely high with the annual subscription. When AWS got a grip on the market, it started dropping the service usage prices to retain its clientele.

According to MarketWatch, “AWS has cut prices more than 50 times since its launch in 2006.″ Furthermore, when the clients were in and happy, the company invested aggressively to expand its network. Right now, AWS is available across 240 countries and territories and serves a million customers.

Advantages of Using Amazon Web Services

You might wonder why AWS? Here we have mentioned some of the advantages of this cloud service. Take a look:

  • It is highly scalable, adaptable, and secure. The data centers span all over the world.
  • It invented its own hardware to make the internal network faster. You can rent a server on AWS, connect with it and run it like a physical server. The difference is that the virtual server runs on top of a network managed by AWS.
  • It allows you to host your application in different regions. Isn’t that interesting? You don’t have to visit any country to start a business there!
  • New features and services are available with proper documentation.
  • It also provides training to learners with its free online video conference called AWSome day.

Disadvantages of Using Amazon Web Services

Some of the disadvantages of Amazon Web Servers are as follows:

  • This cloud service charges a lot for the support. They have got payment plans for their services which is not acceptable to many.
  • Hardware changes can happen to your application which might affect the application’s performance. You cannot do anything.
  • The pay-as-you-go model backfired when Azure started the same model by charging per minute. The little tweaking from hour to minute turns out to be a game-changer for them. Hence in the last five years, the rise in market share has been exponential in Azure compared to Amazon Web Services.

AWS Categorization

Although Amazon Web Server has not categorized its services broadly; nonetheless, to make it simple for you, we have done so below:

AWS Categorization

Based on its scope of usage, Amazon web services can be divided into three broad categories:

  1. Availability Zone-based Services
  2. Regional Services
  3. Global Services
  • Availability Zone-based Services

As simple as it could ever be, the Availability Zone (AZ) is a data center. AWS cloud has around 81 availability zones around the world. As such, some Amazon web services are AZ-specific. One cannot have a cross AZ redundancy of the same.

That means that you cannot use these services by replicating data among availability zones. Like EC2 is AZ-specific. We cannot have the same EC2 in another AZ. These services are mentioned below:

  1. Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) – EC2 are virtual machines that can be created in AWS. There is an option to choose OS, memory, and space in the machine. There is no option in EC2 to enable multi-AZ support. They are created in a subnet, and if you want multi-AZ support, you will need to launch multiple instances in different subnets across the availability zones.
  2. Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) – EBS is a block storage system to store persistent data in EC2. It has three types of volumes: General Purpose (SSD), Provisioned IOPS (SSD), and Magnetic. Moreover, these 3 volume types differ in performance, characteristics, and cost.
  • Regional Services

A region is a geographical area consisting of 2 or more AZs. Region-specific services from AWS are as follows:

  1. Amazon Simple Storage Services (S3) – S3 provides storage spaces in AWS where users can store any format of files on the cloud. When the user creates a bucket in AWS, she has to specify the target region of that bucket. This condition has been implemented to optimize latency, minimize costs, or address regulatory requirements.
  2. Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) – ELB automatically divides the network coming at your application to distributed targets. It can span across multiple AZs, but it cannot span across multiple regions. Users will need to specify the AZ subnet while creating an ELB for their system.
  3. Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) – VPC is a virtual network where users can host their AWS services. AWS automatically creates a default VPC for its users and a default subnet in each AZ. VPC is region-specific but users can connect any 2 VPCs in different AWS regions as long as they have distinct, non-overlapping CIDR blocks.
  • Global services

All Amazon web services that span across regions are global. The users won’t have to create any subnet while implementing these services. Some examples are provided below:

  1. AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) – IAM is meant for user management in AWS. The root user can create users and can assign any role to them. Using IAM, one can create and manage AWS users and groups, and use permissions to allow and deny their access to AWS resources. If a user is created, then it will be applied to all religions and all availability zones.
  2. AWS Route 53 – Route 53 is AWS’ domain name system service. It provides features to business owners to translate the IP address to domain names like www.techgeekbuzz.com and www.techatom.org, and vice-versa. Route 53 is a global service.
  3. Amazon CloudFront – It is an AWS content delivery network that delivers data to end-users. It provides high security and unbreachable data support. CloudFront uses HTTP or HTTPS protocols for the quick delivery of content. It is less expensive, as it only charges for the data transfer. Also, it is a global service as the content to be delivered can be at any geographical location.

What Can I Do With AWS for Free?

Market experts say that one of the three websites you visit uses AWS. Or if this is not true, we are sure almost all of them use cloud computing in one or another way. There is a lot of potential that can be achieved by using the cloud. Things that you can do for free with AWS are:

  • Creating a Linux server and hosting any static website in it through EC2. Not just hosting, EC2 can be used for data mining and data integration. You get 750 cumulative hours of usage and 30 GB of storage per month, all for free.
  • Scaling your application horizontally or vertically by adding EC2 through ELB and managing the traffic.
  • Sending bulk emails to customers through AWS Simple Email Service. You can send 62,000 messages per month at no charge.
  • Storing all format files for free up to 5GB. These files can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
  • AWS provides security and threat protection to your application for free for 30 days through the GuardDuty service.
  • Sending push notifications to users by hosting an application in EC2 via a simple notification service. This is completely free for around 1 million push notifications.

There are a lot of other Amazon web services that provide some features for free. The above-mentioned are the most frequently used services. Even once the free usage is over, the charges to continue using the services are minimal.

Also, if you’re new to AWS, don’t forget to set the alarms in the billing dashboard. Sometimes, while practicing, users forget to stop services, and it starts billing without their knowledge.


In this article, we discussed “What is AWS?” and browsed through the categories of these services based on the scope of usage. If you appear for any AWS certification, it is important to categorize all the Amazon services based on different parameters.

Amazon web services can also be categorized based on their foundation, networking, etc. Categorization will help us understand these services from different perspectives.

Furthermore, it is not possible to understand the core concepts of AWS in a week. Read the best AWS books, practice, get blocked, ask experts, attend seminars, resolve issues, and start working again. If you wish to know AWS in detail, then do lots of hands-on AWS projects.

Any feedback for the article, then do comment down below in the comments section.

Happy learning!

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