With so many different Amazon Web Services (AWS) products, it can be intimidating to choose one and get started with AWS. But the best way to learn how to use AWS as a beginner is simply to start using it. And with that in mind, here are 9 tips to help you start using AWS today. The more you use it, the more you’ll learn about how different AWS services work together, which products will suit your needs best, and how much you’ll save by using AWS in general.
9 Tips for Using Amazon Web Services as a Beginner
1) What is AWS?
The AWS solution is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud computing platform. The set of services includes compute, storage, database, analytics, machine learning, IoT, security, and much more. AWS offers over 80 fully featured services from compute to storage to database services that are scalable across a wide range of operating systems and clouds. Whether you offer a guide to Iceland as your main product or service or whether you have a retail outlet, AWS has something you can use.
2) A free tier account is perfect for beginners
Amazon offers its first month of service for free on all of its services. Although this is just enough time to experience what AWS has to offer, it is also good enough time to get started and experience the benefits that AWS provides. By the end of the first month, if you find that AWS is not working out, you can cancel your service and be set back only a couple dollars. But more than likely, once you start using AWS for the first time, you will never want to go back.
3) Understand what S3 does
S3 is Amazon’s Simple Storage Service, which can be used to store any amount of data in the cloud. There are many advantages to using S3, including the cost-effectiveness and the flexibility of file uploading (you can upload anything from 1GB files to 10MB images).
4) Use IAM to protect your data
AWS has IAM to help manage authentication and authorization and provide control over how users access resources. IAM enables users to generate access keys to allow them basic authenticated AWS services, or to create groups of users with varying levels of permissions. For example, you could set up an S3 bucket so that only certain people could access it by creating an AWS account for them and assigning them the appropriate permissions. Be mindful of what is in your data. In terms of where you store your data, don’t store anything sensitive in plain text because even if your server is secure, other hackers might find out about it and break into your system. Encrypting the data is one way to keep it safe from prying eyes, this can be done on both files and databases by choosing Require encryption when setting up the encryption level.
5) Get familiar with the tools available (website, console, SDKs, etc.)
AWS has dozens of tools to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The best way to learn which are right for you is to explore them yourself. Here are some more tips:
- Be patient: Just because it’s taking time doesn’t mean you aren’t learning anything. Remember that every step can be looked up in the Documentation Centre on the AWS website if needed.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions: If there’s something you don’t understand, chances are someone else does too. Join the conversation in one of the many communities where people help each other out with these kinds of questions all the time.
6) Connect everything through CloudFront
Amazon is well-known for offering different services, and their AWS is not one to ignore. As with any new experience, though, knowing how to use it properly can make the difference between success and wasting time and money. Using CloudFront on AWS you can easily connect all your data in one place, making it easier to access and be used effectively. This is particularly useful during travel, if you are booking your flights to Reykjavik, and find yourself questioning how you’ll manage your business remotely, AWS CloudFront can be very useful.
7) Integrate with other systems easily using SSM
If you’re new to AWS, one of the best things to start with is integration. Although you may want to deploy your workloads on EC2 instances and use other AWS services, it’s more difficult to build system-to-system integrations using those resources alone. Integrating using the Server Migration Service allows easy migration of data between on-premises infrastructure and Amazon’s cloud without compromising service levels or customer experience.
8) Free tier can cost you if you go overboard (read the fine print)
Amazon has some awesome offerings when it comes to its AWS products, but one thing to be careful of is the fact that many of the services on the free tier require you to pay at some point if you go over a certain amount of usage. For example, storing data in S3 incurs charges once you hit 5 GBs. Elastic Load Balancing will cost you money once your requests exceed 50 million per month. Make sure to read up on all the details before setting up any product or service.
9) Give every region a try
AWS offers multiple regions around the world, which means you have plenty of options to choose from. You may want to start by exploring AWS’s regions closer to home (like the US East region) to get comfortable with managing cloud resources before moving on to AWS’s more globally-distributed regions. If you’re just getting started, consider staying close to home until you’re comfortable managing your cloud resources in other regions.