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To understand what Amazon Web Services (AWS) is, it helps to understand what cloud computing is. In Key Attributes Distinguish Cloud Computing Services, Gartner defines cloud computing as “a style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service to external customers using Internet technologies.” Put simply, in much the same way that national electric grids enable homes and businesses to plug into a centrally managed, efficient, and cost-effective energy source, cloud computing enables you to obtain flexible, secure, and cost-effective IT infrastructure from a vendor experienced in running large-scale networks and computing environments. Cloud computing liberates you from devoting people and budget to activities that don’t directly contribute to your bottom line, while still ensuring that you can obtain the infrastructure functionality that you need to keep your business applications running. Specifically, the AWS cloud capabilities include compute power, storage, databases, messaging, and other building block services.
AWS provides a flexible, cost-effective, scalable, and easy-to-use cloud computing platform that is suitable for research, educational use, individual use, and organizations of all sizes. It’s easy to access AWS cloud services via the Internet. Because the AWS cloud computing model allows you to pay for services on-demand and to use as much or as little at any given time as you need, you can replace up-front capital infrastructure expenses with low variable costs that scale as your needs change.
AWS offers services in many areas to fit your needs, as shown in the diagram. To see a description of the AWS products, go to http://aws.amazon.com/products/.
For more information about AWS, go to the Overview of Amazon Web Services whitepaper.
To learn what you can do with AWS and how to get started, see the following topics:
What Can I Do with AWS? — Learn what you can do with AWS including deploying a web application and storing files in the cloud.
How Do I Get Started with AWS? — Learn how to sign up for AWS, use the AWS free usage tier, access AWS, and manage your account.
Where Do I Go to Find Out More About AWS?— Learn where to find additional resources.