The What and Why of Amazon Web Service (AWS)

Someone created a really great stepwise resource on how to set up an Amazon Web Service (AWS) account with a database server and Linux server (OK, it was me), but I didn’t explain the what and why of AWS.

AWS is a cloud service, and in that way it’s a lot like others; I have used Dreamhost in the past, and I’m using Arvixe (this link will get you a discount) now for this site.

AWS give you several useful things:

  1. A free account for a year
  2. Free accounts for both faculty and students if using as part of a course (I have yet to do this, but have read about it)
  3. Access to low-level services (Virtual Private Servers configured how you want them)
  4. Access to high-level services (for example, their Relational Database Service (RDS) gives you a fully configured relational database; you just select storage and backup options, then connect, create users/databases/tables, and you’re up and running)

There’s more, butI haven’t explored it yet. That’s the basics of the what.

The why is more complex. The simple fact is that for 9 of 10 users, a hosting company can provide a better cloud service than something you roll yourself.

Running out of battery. More later…

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