Cloud computing is one of the world’s most rapidly developing technologies. It is successively replacing traditional server solutions, obtaining a larger and larger market share. The research company Gartner predicts that in 2019, total public cloud spending will increase by 17.5% to as much as USD 214 billion. For comparison, the expected revenue in the Polish budget for 2019 is assumed to amount to PLN 387.7 billion, which is nearly USD 100 billion. It is undoubtedly a large and attractive market.
What actually is the cloud?
Before we get to the origins of Amazon AWS, it is worth mentioning what a cloud actually is. According to the definition from the AWS website, Cloud Computing is the on-demand delivery of computing power, storage, databases, applications and other IT resources available online and accounted for using the use of pay-as-you-go model.
We can distinguish three types of clouds: public, private and hybrid.
A public cloud is commonly available and can therefore be used by practically anyone. The resources are available online, however only those actually used are paid for. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform are examples of such clouds.
A private cloud is created by a company for their own use and is available only to a limited number of users. It is a great solution for companies which are not yet convinced about using the public cloud and prefer to manage their infrastructure on their own. Some of the clouds in this category are Openstack and VMware.
A hybrid cloud is a mixture of the other two types. This means that a given company keeps their systems or applications both in a private and a public cloud. It is currently the most popular type of cloud.
Public cloud market leaders
Who is at the forefront amongst the major public cloud providers? A company which was best known for long time as an online bookstore. It is Amazon and its Amazon Web Services holding as much as 47% of the market share. The remaining providers should not be as surprising. Second place is held by Microsoft and its cloud Azure (22%). Third place belongs to the category Other (minor cloud providers, such as Rackspace, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud etc.), Google Cloud Platform (8%) is fourth on the list and the Chinese giant Alibaba (7%) holds the fifth position.
This situation is changing rapidly, however. According to the data presented by Gartner and Goldman Sachs, the clouds that belonged to the category Other had as much as 52% of the market share in 2016. Amazon Web Services was a runner up with 35% and Microsoft Azure had only 8%.
Advantages of migrating to a cloud
Why is it a good idea to move to a cloud and what benefits does it bring? Before the cloud was created, relevant servers had to be ensured on the basis of expected load estimates. Usually with a safety margin, just in case. Since the cloud has appeared, this is no longer necessary. There is a possibility of configuration that will reduce or increase resources depending on the current demand.
The cloud also means a high level of safety. It is no longer necessary to build huge and expensive server rooms in order to achieve it. These days, everybody has access to the most advanced solutions, so far being affordable only for the richest companies. All that for a price within everyone’s reach. Furthermore, the cloud is much more flexible than the conventional server solution. Implementing changes is much quicker and does not require a long working process of a team of administrators. This makes the cloud a perfect solution for companies that are growing rapidly or those which often perform implementations. It is perfectly compatible with DevOps.
The long distance between the user and the server room slows down operation of a website or application. Therefore, if you expand to the market of another country, it is advisable that the servers be located close to your Customers. In the case of a cloud, this issue no longer exists. A network of data centers all over the world allows you to not have to be concerned about what happens if you expand to new markets. Creating new infrastructure in a given region is fairly simple and substantially faster than in the case of the ‘on premises’ model (infrastructure belongs to the Customer).
Famous users of cloud
If you think this technology has nothing to do with you, you are quite wrong. You have used it on multiple occasions. For instance, when watching films on Netflix or booking accommodation on AirBnb. One of the world’s largest publishers, Ringier Axel Springer (the owner of Onet), is abandoning his own cloud in Poland which has been developed for years, and has started migrating to AWS.
What is Amazon Web Services (AWS)?
Amazon Web Services is the world’s largest and most popular public cloud. It currently offers over 160 services in a very wide range. These are, for example, computing power, artificial intelligence, blockchain, Internet of Things, Augmented Reality or even the Amazon Ground Station service designed for satellites.
Why has AWS become so popular? Probably there were multiple factors. According to Amazon, those are:
the widest available offer
the largest community of users and partners
the fastest pace of implementing innovations
the highest level of safety
a large number of implementations that have verified its abilities.
How did it start?
The origins of AWS are in another project. Amazon was planning to create an e-commerce platform for the purposes of the salespeople cooperating with them. During that process they realised several changes were necessary in the infrastructure they were using. It delayed the speed of implementations; therefore, it was considered a serious limiting factor.
The platform was launched in July, 2002. It was, however, nowhere near what we currently refer to as AWS. Indeed, it offered a couple of tools and services, but was not yet commonly available. It was in 2003 when Chris Pinkham and Benjamin Black created a document presenting their vision of an ideal infrastructure. It was supposed to be standardised, automated and based on Internet services. It was at that point the idea was born that the platform can deliver computer infrastructure to others through the IaaS model (Infrastructure as a Service).
The first service offered by AWS was launched in November, 2004. It was Amazon SQS (Simple Queue Service) responsible for queuing messages (currently works with microservices, distributed systems and serverless applications). Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) was added in March, 2006, which was technically unlimited storage space. The same year Amazon Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2) was created. It is considered the most important Amazon Web Service. It allows for rental of virtual servers through the IaaS model. So far it had only been available for AWS Customers. It was introduced for common use in August, 2007.
That was the beginning. Much has changed since that time. The number of services offered by AWS has increased from a few to 165. AWS have not become complacent, however. New services are being added and old ones improved nearly every day. Rumour has it there are Amazon employees responsible exclusively for informing others about daily changes in the offer.
Qualifications concerning clouds are currently highly valued and sought-after. In order to confirm them, a certification programme was introduced in 2013. Today, 17 years after the activity was started, AWS has become a significant part of Amazon’s income, which is 10% of the total sales. That is not all, however. The sales of this solution increase by over 30% every quarter of the year.
The AWS major services
One of the most popular and one of the oldest is Amazon S3 mentioned earlier. S3 is an abbreviation of Simple Storage Service. As the name suggests, its purpose is data storage. It is scalable, easily accessible and very efficient. It allows for storage of a practically unlimited amount of data. What’s important is that it is quite durable as well. It was designed to ensure write endurance at a level of 11 nines, which is 99.999999999%. It means that in the case of storing 10 million files/objects there, statistically, you will lose one of them every 10,000 years.
Amazon EC2 stands for Elastic Cloud Compute and offers virtual servers on the cloud. It provides the users with computing power they can choose as per their needs. Creating EC2 instances is quite fast and intuitive. As long as your requirements are not particularly sophisticated, you can enjoy having your own server within a few minutes. It is worth spending more time on this, however, and make sure the configuration is safe and right for your needs. Amongst the most frequently used improvements are Load Balancing and Auto Scaling which allow for creating architecture resistant to sudden load changes.
Amazon VPC refers to Virtual Private Cloud. It allows for creation of a logically isolated private network within AWS infrastructure. It provides total control over the virtual environment, i.e. the possibility to create your own set of IP addresses (IPv4 or IPv6), sub-networks and routing tables.
Amazon RDS – a relational database from AWS (Relational Database Service) with a scaling feature. It is easy to start and operate. Several engines are available to choose from, depending on your needs. These are Aurora, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle Database and SQL Server.
Amazon Lambda – a service in the FaaS model. Read more about its advantages here . It lets you launch the code without the need to create infrastructure. Due to the lack of servers, management is not required. It is settled on a pay-as-you-go basis which means no costs when your code is not executed.
Amazon Cloudfront – stands for CDN service (Content Delivery Network). It allows for shortening the time needed to deliver the content to the user. Thanks to the global network of so called Edge Locations, which allow for caching files/content, the distance between the browser and the server is reduced and thus they are loaded faster.
The cloud is an enormous technological breakthrough. Implementation of the cloud strategy is not only a novelty anymore, but is a priority on which the companies should develop their advantage over competitors. According to analysts from Gartner, which was mentioned earlier, it is highly probable that those who have not yet developed a cloud strategy are already behind the rapidly developing market. Today, IT organisations no longer wonder if applications should be moved to a cloud. They work in it natively, accepting the speed and innovations of implementations of cloud providers as the foundations of their business.
Are you considering implementation of a cloud strategy? Maybe you have already got infrastructure in a cloud and you need help in managing it? With us this is not an issue. Write to us and ask how we can help you.