Introduction to Amazon Web Services (AWS)

As Virtualization Practice Manager, I spend most of my time focused on the VMware stack, but I’m also working with various other technologies including Amazon Web Services.  Many Clearpath customers are expressing interest in hybrid cloud to support their evolving architectures, applications, and business requirements.  As a value added reseller (VAR), Clearpath is in a unique position to guide customers through the transition to a hybrid cloud through our strong partnerships with VMware, Cisco, EMC, and Amazon Web Services.  By drawing on our history of providing private cloud architectures based on VMware, Cisco and EMC, our experience as a cloud service provider, and our multidisciplinary team of engineers we help customers put the right workload in the right cloud at the right time.

Hybrid Cloud is simply the combination of private and public cloud infrastructures into a logical pool of resources that are:

  • Managed by a common set of tools
  • Governed by a common set of security guidelines
  • Dynamically provisioned
  • Portable
  • Autonomously managed
  • Scalable on demand

With a hybrid cloud model, IT can achieve several goals:

  • Provide the right resources, at the right price, at the right time to run business apps and serve business data on demand.
  • Shifting of costs from CapEx to OpEx
  • Common management of Apps and Data services
  • Organizational experience with public cloud without ‘going all in’
  • Greater IT agility
  • New BC/DR Options

Over the next few blog posts I want to provide an overview of how you can deploy an auto-scaling workload to Amazon Web Services (AWS).  But before I get into the details of installing my demo workload on AWS, I want to first provide an overview of AWS and how AWS services can help you move towards a hybrid cloud model.  Amazon Web Services is one of the tools in our chest for hybrid cloud architectures.  AWS provides a wide range of cloud services.  Here’s a look at many of the services in the AWS infrastructure:

amazon web-services global infrastructure

A few that I want to highlight are:

  • Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2): Infrastructure-as-a-Service, providing on-demand virtual servers running a range of Windows and Linux versions.
  • Relational Database Services (RDS): Database-as-a-Service, providing on-demand MySQL, Microsoft SQL, and Oracle databases without the overhead of managing and maintaining underlying hardware, software (OS or database), or regular maintenance.
  • Simple Storage Services (S3): Addressable object storage accessible through web protocols (HTTP, REST, SOAP, etc.) at a low per-GB cost.  S3 can be used for anything from hosting static websites to a backup-to-the-cloud repository.
  • Glacier: Glacier provides long term storage services (archival).  S3 buckets can be backed up to Glacier, and Glacier can serve as a target for your on-premise backups to replace tape (our customers use Veeam Cloud Edition to backup their VMware vSphere virtual machines, then roll the backups to Glacier for long-term, off-site storage).  Glacier is $0.01 per gigabyte per month.
  • Virtual Private Cloud (VPC): Creates enterprise-like network topologies, with routing, VPN, and isolation between AWS resources, and between AWS and your private cloud.
  • CloudFront: A global content delivery network (CDN) for web services and object access.
  • ElastiCache: An in-memory caching service for web applications based on Memcached.
  • Redshift: Petabyte-scale data warehousing with column-based storage and multi-node compute for ingesting big data.
  • Elastic MapReduce (EMR): A Hadoop-based service that businesses to quickly and cheaply analyze and mine massive datasets.

As you can see, AWS is not just running VMs in the cloud – it is about providing scalable services that allow businesses to consume apps and data.  After all, apps and data are what really matter.  AWS provides many of those services for new apps and data services.  When IT can stop worrying about servers and start focusing on services, the business wins.  In the next post of this series I will provide a working example of how to consume several of these AWS services to run a workload.

Series Links:
Part 1: Introduction to Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Part 2: Preparing Amazon Web Services (AWS) for an Auto-Scaling WordPress Site
Part 3: Installing WordPress on AWS
Part 4: Configuring AWS Auto Scaling for WordPress

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