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This chapter is from the book

Operational Benefits of AWS

Operating in the public cloud has certain benefits. Unlimited access to servers and storage and many management services may make it easier than you expected to operate in the cloud. Table 1-1 summarizes the managed services at AWS that may be able to replace or complement your existing on-premise services and procedures.

Servers—Underutilized servers in your data center are expensive to run and maintain. Moving applications to the public cloud will reduce the size of your on-premise data center. Because you no longer host as many physical servers, your total hosting costs (heating, cooling, and so on) will be lower as well. You also won’t have to pay for as many software licenses at the processer level because you’re not responsible for running hypervisor services; that’s Amazon’s job. You may think that moving to the AWS cloud means virtualized resources and only virtualization. However, at AWS, you can get a variety of compute options with virtualization of any size and scale, from a single-core CPU with 512MB of RAM to hundreds of CPU cores and terabytes of RAM. You can also order a bare-metal server and do whatever you want with it. You can find further details on compute options in Chapter 4.

Storage—Using cloud storage has huge benefits due to the unlimited amount of storage promised by cloud providers. Amazon has many options for storage that are similar, but not exactly the same as your on-premise solutions. For storage area network solutions, Amazon has shareable file solutions: the elastic file system (EFS) for Linux workloads, and FSx, a shared file service specifically for Windows File Server workloads. Virtual hard disks are available using EBS. Unlimited storage, and longer-term archive storage, is provided by S3 and S3 Glacier. Details on all the storage options at AWS can be found in Chapter 6, “Cloud Storage.”

Managed services—AWS has a variety of managed services, as shown in Table 1-1, that may be able to replace or complement your existing services and utilities currently used on-premise once you move to the AWS cloud.

Table 1-1 Managed Services at AWS

IT Operations


AWS Cloud


Nagios, SolarWinds.

CloudWatch monitoring providing metrics for every AWS service. All monitoring and logging data can be stored in S3. All third-party monitoring solutions can access S3 to perform their own custom analysis of log data.

Data backup

Backup tools such as Commvault and NetBackup.

Any third-party vendor that wants to stay in business will be supporting AWS; both Veritas and Commvault have AWS solutions. AWS Storage Gateway can also be installed to cache required content locally, while backing up local disk volumes to an S3 bucket. Backups can be snapshots of local virtual hard disks, or data files from specific volumes can be targeted.


Add additional virtual machines or increase/decrease the size of each virtual machine’s RAM and CPU cores.

Scale horizontally by placing multiple virtual machines (instances) behind a load balancer and add automated scaling based on demand to increase and decrease the required amount of compute power using EC2 Auto Scaling.


Provisioning hardware for testing is expensive.

Provisioning resources for short-term testing at AWS is incredibly inexpensive. Signing up for the AWS free tier allows you to test a variety of AWS services for one year completely free.

Identity management

Active Directory Domain Services for accessing corporate resources.

Extend on-premise Active Directory to the AWS cloud with hosted Directory Services. Utilize AWS single sign-on services (SSO) for managing access to popular business applications that third-party cloud providers are hosting.

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