Main AWS Concepts: Regions, Availability zones, Instances, Storage and Web Console

Let's define some of the main AWS concepts, just to make sure we're speaking the same language and we're using the same terms with the same meaning.

First of all, AWS, the platform itself, Amazon Web Services, it has a global infrastructure and which is divided into regions and availability zones. Each region has multiple availability zones. On the map you can see some of them, they have two. Others might have three, and in the northern Virginia you have five availability zones. Think about availability zone as a data center. Say you might have multiple data centers. It's very important when you building your infrastructure as a service, your low level infrastructure, to build resiliency by deploying Instances into multiple availability zones. So if a meteor strikes, or you have a tsunami, or you have a terrorist attack to one data center, one availability zone, then you can easily serve your requests to your clients from a different availability zone, or even a different region, which could be a better idea especially if you have a global need to reach a global users.

Speaking of the Instances, Instance is the major building block. Usually when we talk about Instances, we're referring to the EC2 Instance or other services, such as RDS, they might also have Instances. But typically, when you talk about an Instance, that's a compute Instance. Instance, it's a normal VM, virtual machine, but only in the Cloud. So you have a particular size CPU, you have RAM, you have particular Operation System, OS, such as Ubuntu or CentOS.

Storage, Storage could be multiple things. First of all, Elastic Block Storage. This is what we use with most of the Instances, most of the EC2 Instances. You can attach and detach them, and basically your OS boots them. You can store certain information without having to constantly run your Instances, so we can stop an Instance and then resume by attaching the same EBS volume. Then Storage obviously could be in the Database. So there is a separate service such as RDS, Relational Database Service, which offers most major popular databases, such as MySQL, Oracle, etc.,etc.

And then, Simple Storage Service. So Simple Storage Service, it's very different from EBS or RDS, Simple Storage Service works via HTTP and you can put pretty much any object into it. So it's a object store, and the way it works, basically you can easily replicate it in multiple regions. It has the support for versioning, it has the support for the HTTP interface, so a lot of people, a lot of teams on projects, they use S3, not just as a storage for their applications, but also to store some static contents, such as images, browser JavaScript, CSS, HTML, etc., etc., because it had this global delivery and it had the HTTP web server already built in. And, if you use that instead of spawning your own HTTP servers for static content, basically you have almost infinite scale with S3.

And then there is web console, so Web console it's the website, It's one of the clients to work with AWS platforms. There are other clients and you can build your own because everything that platform has, it's supposed to be the HTTP RESTful api. But most of the people, especially beginners to AWS, as I assume you are, they are more comfortable with the web interface, with the browser website interface, which is the web console, another name is dashboard, AWS dashboard. So that's what we will be using in this course, primarily Web console. It's not for advanced developers... not for advanced people, because advanced developers they need more features, and they tend to automate, optimize and automate a lot of things, which is hard when you're dealing with Web Interface.

But for our purposes, that's what we'll be using. We'll be using web console, and it's a great, great, great interface because it's very intuitive, it has a lot of help. And it does a lot of things for you depending on the service. For example, elastic container services would do a lot of things for you, it will create a lot of resources for you when using the Web console.