What is AWS? Definition for the non-IT person

AWS stands for Amazon Web Services and is one of the world’s most comprehensive and widely adopted cloud platforms.

What does that mean?

Every company or business, irrespective of its scale, needs to run a website or an E-commerce platform. The usual traffic on these cannot be handled by a basic laptop. It needs a dedicated server, something with better specifications and an infrastructure that can maintain its downtime. A good server needs a fast and reliable Internet connection, apart from a host of other things like stable power, power backup to prevent corruption and good cooling in case you start scaling further up.

And it doesn’t stop here.

Your dedicated server will require an entire team dedicated to just managing the same. Throw in a bit of maintenance and monitoring charges, and you are looking at a lump sum upfront cost of INR 4 Lakhs and maybe a lakh or two of annual operating cost.

So much just to run a website for your company!

There are some other major disadvantages with this system. Investing in a server is a one-way street. So in case, you plan to scale up, you may need to buy more servers or upgrade the existing servers, which means more cost. In many cases, companies ended up buying servers they did not need, incurring a further cost for unused space.

In short, owning a server costs a company not just in terms of financial expenditure but also in the form of time consumed and finances expended.

Now, what if some companies rented out these servers and provided the entire infrastructure along with that? What if you can finally focus only on running the business and the rest of the IT department riff-raff is managed by the organisation renting those servers? Why build expensive, almost-instantly-out-of-date data centres for a large firm when you could just rent the same? Or, in a startup’s case, why not get access to the same tech as a global conglomerate while paying, primarily, à la carte?

This realisation was the dawn of cloud computing, a huge potential market need that Amazon cashed into.

Cloud computing is like enjoying a car ride without owning a car. You don’t have to buy, maintain or even operate the vehicle but can still use it on a pay-as-you-use basis.

With the invention of cloud computing, companies now don’t need to invest in owning servers, but can just pay a nominal rent for these servers, to run their website and E-commerce platforms.

Cloud computing introduced the options of offering Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), which many companies like Amazon and Google provide. Today, great volumes of data could be stored effortlessly, and in a centralised manner, easily accessible over the Internet.

Amazon’s AWS is an umbrella offering which primarily includes various branded IaaS and PaaS Solutions. Millions of global users trust AWS to power their infrastructure and a host of various applications. AWS, owing to its 14-year long history in research and development, now operates in a plethora of domains and is capable of delivering customised packages to organisations of every type and size. Some facts about AWS:

  • Amazon owns the largest data centres/server farms in the world. They are located in 9 major regions around the globe: 3 in the US and 6 scattered strategically around the globe.
  • In 2013, Amazon won a coveted contract to create the GovCloud, a private cloud exclusively developed for the US government.
  • AWS aims to help organisations in every industry lower their infrastructural costs, become more agile and innovate faster.
  • It allows users to build and run virtually any type of app WITHOUT any upfront costs or ongoing commitments, by providing on-demand delivery of online tech services with a ‘pay-as-you-go’ pricing.

Interested in learning why AWS is the best option out there when it comes to cloud computing services? Then, check out our article on ‘Why AWS is here to stay’.

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