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Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services
Web address
Type of site
Web service, cloud computing
Launched 2006[1]

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a collection of remote computing services, also called web services, that make up a cloud computing platform offered by These services are based out of 11 geographical regions across the world. The most central and well-known of these services are Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud and Amazon S3. These products are marketed as a service to provide large computing capacity more quickly and cheaper than a client company building an actual physical server farm.[2]


File:Aws region map.png
Map showing the approximate geographical regions used by Amazon Web Services.

AWS is located in 11 geographical "regions": US East (Northern Virginia), where the majority of AWS servers are based,[3] US West (northern California), US West (Oregon), Brazil (São Paulo), Europe (Ireland and Germany), Southeast Asia (Singapore), East Asia (Tokyo and Beijing) and Australia (Sydney). There is also a "GovCloud", based in the Northwestern United States, provided for U.S. government customers, complementing existing government agencies already using the US East Region.[4] Each Region is wholly contained within a single country and all of its data and services stay within the designated Region.

Each Region has multiple "Availability Zones", which are distinct data centers providing AWS services. Availability Zones are isolated from each other to prevent outages from spreading between Zones. Several services operate across Availability Zones (e.g., S3, DynamoDB) while others can be configured to replicate across Zones to spread demand and avoid downtime from failures. As of December 2014, Amazon Web Services operated an estimated 1.4 Million servers across 28 availability zones.[5]


AWS Summit 2013 event in NYC.

Officially launched in 2006, Amazon Web Services provide online services for other web sites or client-side applications.[1] Most of these services are not exposed directly to end users, but instead offer functionality that other developers can use in their applications. Amazon Web Services’ offerings are accessed over HTTP, using the REST architectural style and SOAP protocol. All services are billed based on usage, but how usage is measured for billing varies from service to service.

In late 2003, Chris Pinkham and Benjamin Black presented a paper describing a vision for Amazon's retail computing infrastructure that was completely standardized, completely automated, and would rely extensively on web services for services such as storage, drawing on internal work already underway. Near the end they mentioned the possibility of selling virtual servers as a service, proposing the company could generate revenue from the new infrastructure investment.[6] The first AWS service launched for public usage was Simple Queue Service in November 2004.[7] Amazon EC2 was built by a team in Cape Town, South Africa, under Pinkham and lead developer Chris Brown.[8]

In June 2007, Amazon claimed that more than 180,000 developers had signed up to use Amazon Web Services.[9]

In November 2010, it was reported that all of retail web services had been moved to AWS.[10]

On April 20, 2011, some parts of Amazon Web Services suffered a major outage. A portion of volumes utilizing the Elastic Block Store (EBS) service became "stuck" and were unable to fulfill read/write requests. It took at least two days for service to be fully restored.[11]

On June 29, 2012, several websites that rely on Amazon Web Services were taken offline due to a severe storm of historic proportions in Northern Virginia, where Amazon's largest datacenter cluster is located.[12]

On October 22, 2012, a major outage occurred, affecting many sites such as Reddit, Foursquare, Pinterest, and others. The cause was a latent bug in an operational data collection agent.[13]

In November 2012, AWS hosted its first customer event in Las Vegas.[14]

On December 24, 2012, AWS suffered another outage, causing websites such as Netflix instant video to be unavailable for customers in the Northeastern United States.[15] Amazon later issued a statement[16] detailing the issues with the Elastic Load Balancing service that led up to the outage.[17]

On April 30, 2013, AWS began offering a certification program for computer engineers with expertise in cloud computing.[18]

On May 13, 2013, AWS was awarded an Agency Authority to Operate (ATO) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).[19]

AWS adoption has increased since launch in 2006. Customers include NASA,[20] the Obama Campaign,[21] Pinterest,[22] Kempinski Hotels,[23] Netflix,[24] Infor,[25] the CIA.[26]

AWS revenue was not stated separately in the past, but in 2012 it was estimated by industry watchers at over $1.5 billion.[27]

In November 2014 Amazon Web Services announced its commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for [its] global infrastructure footprint.[28]

In April 2015 AWS was reported to be profitable, with sales of $1.57bn in the first quarter of the year, and $265m of operating income. Founder Bezos described it as a fast-growing $5bn business; analysts described it as "surprisingly more profitable than forecast".[29]

List of products


  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) provides scalable virtual private servers using Xen.
  • Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR) allows businesses, researchers, data analysts, and developers to easily and cheaply process vast amounts of data. It uses a hosted Hadoop framework running on the web-scale infrastructure of EC2 and Amazon S3.
  • Amazon Lambda (LAMBDA) provides a compute services that runs your code in response to events and automatically manages the compute resources needed to run the code.[30]


  • Amazon Route 53 provides a highly available and scalable Domain Name System (DNS) web service.
  • Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) creates a logically isolated set of Amazon EC2 instances which can be connected to an existing network using a VPN connection.
  • AWS Direct Connect provides dedicated network connections into AWS data centers, providing faster and cheaper data throughput.
  • Amazon Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) automatically distributes incoming traffic across multiple Amazon EC2 instances.

Content delivery

Storage and content delivery

  • Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) provides Web Service based storage.
  • Amazon Glacier provides a low-cost, long-term storage option (compared to S3). High redundancy and availability, but low-frequent access times. Ideal for archiving data.
  • AWS Storage Gateway, an iSCSI block storage virtual appliance with cloud-based backup.
  • Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) provides persistent block-level storage volumes for EC2.
  • AWS Import/Export, accelerates moving large amounts of data into and out of AWS using portable storage devices for transport.
  • Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) a file storage service for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances.


  • Amazon DynamoDB provides a scalable, low-latency NoSQL online Database Service backed by SSDs.
  • Amazon ElastiCache provides in-memory caching for web applications. This is Amazon's implementation of Memcached and Redis.
  • Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) provides a scalable database server with MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, and PostgreSQL support.[31]
  • Amazon Redshift provides petabyte-scale data warehousing with column-based storage and multi-node compute.
  • Amazon SimpleDB allows developers to run queries on structured data. It operates in concert with EC2 and S3 to provide "the core functionality of a database".
  • AWS Data Pipeline provides reliable service for data transfer between different AWS compute and storage services (e.g., Amazon S3, Amazon RDS, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon EMR). In other words this service is simply a data-driven workload management system, which provides a simple management API for managing and monitoring of data-driven workloads in cloud applications.[32]
  • Amazon Kinesis streams data in real time with the ability to process thousands of data streams on a per-second basis. The service, designed for real-time apps, allows developers to pull any amount of data, from any number of sources, scaling up or down as needed.


  • Amazon CloudFormation provides a file-based interface for provisioning other AWS resources.
  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk provides quick deployment and management of applications in the cloud.
  • AWS OpsWorks provides configuration of EC2 services using Chef.
  • AWS CodeDeploy provides automated code deployment to EC2 instances.


  • Amazon Identity and Access Management (IAM) is an implicit service, the authentication infrastructure used to authenticate access to the various services.
  • AWS Directory Service a managed service that allows you to connect your AWS resources with an existing on-premises Microsoft Active Directory or to set up a new, stand-alone directory in the AWS Cloud.
  • Amazon CloudWatch, provides monitoring for AWS cloud resources and applications, starting with EC2.
  • AWS Management Console (AWS Console), A web-based point and click interface to manage and monitor the Amazon infrastructure suite including (but not limited to) EC2, EBS, S3, SQS, Amazon Elastic MapReduce, and Amazon CloudFront. Amazon also makes available a mobile application for Android which has support for some of the management features from the console.
  • Amazon CloudHSM - The AWS CloudHSM service helps you meet corporate, contractual and regulatory compliance requirements for data security by using dedicated Hardware Security Module (HSM) appliances within the AWS cloud.
  • AWS Key Management Service (KMS) a managed service that makes it easy for you to create and control the encryption keys used to encrypt your data.

Application services

  • Amazon CloudSearch provides basic full-text search and indexing of textual content.
  • Amazon DevPay, currently in limited beta version, is a billing and account management system for applications that developers have built atop Amazon Web Services.
  • Amazon Elastic Transcoder (ETS) provides video transcoding of S3 hosted videos, marketed primarily as a way to convert source files into mobile-ready versions.
  • Amazon Flexible Payments Service (FPS) provides an interface for micropayments.
  • Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) provides bulk and transactional email sending.
  • Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) provides a hosted message queue for web applications.
  • Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) provides a hosted multi-protocol "push" messaging for applications.
  • Amazon Simple Workflow (SWF) is a workflow service for building scalable, resilient applications.
  • Amazon Cognito a simple user identity and data synchronization service that helps you securely manage and synchronize app data for your users across their mobile devices.[33]
  • Amazon AppStream a flexible, low-latency service that lets you stream resource intensive applications and games from the cloud.


  • Amazon Machine Learning a service that makes it easy for developers of all skill levels to use machine learning technology.


  • Amazon Fulfillment Web Service provides a programmatic web service for sellers to ship items to and from Amazon using Fulfillment by Amazon. This service will no longer be supported by Amazon. All of the functionality of this service is now transferred to Amazon marketplace Web service.
  • Amazon Historical Pricing provides access to Amazon's historical sales data from its affiliates. (It appears that this service has been discontinued.)
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk (Mturk) manages small units of work distributed among many persons.
  • Amazon Product Advertising API formerly known as Amazon Associates Web Service (A2S) and Amazon E-Commerce Service (ECS), provides access to Amazon's product data and electronic commerce functionality.
  • Amazon Gift Code On Demand (AGCOD) for Corporate Customers[34] enables companies to distribute Amazon gift cards (gift codes) instantly in any denomination, integrating Amazon's gift-card technology into customer loyalty, employee incentive and payment disbursement platforms.
  • AWS Partner Network (APN) provides technology partners and consulting partners with the technical information and sales and marketing support to increase business opportunities through AWS and with businesses using AWS. Launched in April 2012, the APN is made up of Technology Partners including Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), tool providers, platform providers, and others.[35][36][37] Consulting Partners include System Integrators (SIs), agencies, consultancies, Managed Service Providers (MSPs), and others. Potential Technology and Consulting Partners must meet technical and non-technical training requirements set by AWS.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Amazon Web Services About Us". September 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "What is Cloud Computing by Amazon Web Services | AWS". Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  3. ^ Estimate: Amazon Cloud Backed by 450,000 Servers
  4. ^ AWS GovCloud (US) Region FAQs
  5. ^ "Just how big is Amazon’s AWS business? (hint: it’s absolutely massive)". Retrieved 2014-12-22. 
  6. ^ "Benjamin Black – EC2 Origins". 2009-01-25. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  7. ^ "Amazon Web Services Blog: Amazon Simple Queue Service Beta". 2004-11-09. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  8. ^ Bort, Julie (28 March 2012). "Amazon's Game-Changing Cloud Was Built By Some Guys In South Africa". Business Insider. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  9. ^ " Release". Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  10. ^ "2011 AWS Tour Australia, Closing Keynote: How migrated to AWS, by Jon Jenkins". Amazon Web Services. 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  11. ^ "Summary of outage occurring April 20–22, 2011". 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  12. ^ "Summary of the AWS Service Event in the US East Region". 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  13. ^ "Summary of the October 22, 2012 AWS Service Event in the US-East Region". 2012-10-22. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  14. ^ "Amazon Web Services Announces First Global Customer and Partner Conference: AWS re: Invent". 2012-05-09. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  15. ^ Bishop, Bryan. "Netflix streaming down on some devices due to Amazon issues". The Verge. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  16. ^ "Summary of the December 24, 2012 Amazon ELB Service Event in the US-East Region". 2012-12-24. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  17. ^ "Summary of the December 24, 2012 Amazon ELB Service Event in the US-East Region". 2012-12-24. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  18. ^ "AWS began offering a certification program for computer engineers with expertise in cloud computing.". 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2013-11-08. 
  19. ^ "AWS was awarded an Agency Authority to Operate (ATO) from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)". 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2013-11-08. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Cloud Computing 2013: The Amazon Gorilla Invades The Enterprise". Wikibon. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  28. ^ David Pomerantz (19 November 2014). "Amazon Web Services commits to 100% renewable energy in potential breakthrough". Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  29. ^ BBC News, Business: Amazon web services 'growing fast', 24 April 2015
  30. ^ "AWS Lambda". Amazon Web Services. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  31. ^ Jack Clark (15 November 2013). "Make room, guys. Here comes the Postgres with the mostess on AWS". The Register. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  32. ^ AWS Data Pipeline. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  33. ^ "Amazon Web Services". AWS Products. Amazon Web Services. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  34. ^ Amazon Media Room: Press Releases. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  35. ^ Darrow, Barb. Amazon, seeking to relieve partner angst, launches partner program, GigaOM, April 18, 2012, Retrieved February 27, 2013
  36. ^ Ricknäs, Mikael. Amazon lays groundwork for AWS Partner Network, Computerworld, IDG, April 18, 2012, Retrieved February 27, 2013
  37. ^ Sharwood, Simon. Amazon Web services revamps partner program, The Register, April 18, 2012, Retrieved February 27, 2013

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