A Beginners Look at AWS

Andrew Richards
3 min readOct 13, 2020

Maybe you are a budding software developer and you’ve been hearing about AWS and you are wondering it is exactly. You’ve heard a bunch of acronyms like S3 and EC2 and are afraid of how complicated it seems.

Well this article is to clear up some basics about AWS and the services that it includes.

AWS stands for Amazon Web Services. They key phrase being “Web Services”. AWS is not one thing, it is a suite of services that help companies and web developers do anything ranging from storing files on the cloud with S3, to running a computer instance on the cloud with EC2, easily deploying apps with Elastic Beanstalk, and even purchasing domains Route 53.

These are only a few of the many AWS services. I will detail some of the most basic services you should know in AWS.


EC2 stands for Elastic Cloud Computing. It is a product that revolutionized computing by reducing the time required to obtain and boot new server instances from hours / days to minutes.

Imagine a genetics company that needs to crunch a ton of data. Instead of having to provision their own servers, they can with a few clicks of a button reserve computing power over the internet.

The Elastic part comes when you think about how that same genetics company might only want a few hours of server time a week to crunch their computations. It allows them to pay for only what they use. Which is why EC2 changed the economics of computing.


EBS stands for Elastic Block Storage. This is a service that allows you to attach volumes to EC2 instances. Essentially it is a hard drive in the cloud that you can attach to the instance such as an SSD.


RDS stands for Relational Database Service. Perhaps this one might make a bit more sense to you right off the bat if you’ve used a database like Postgres or MySQL.

RDS allows you to create a database using MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Aurora, MariaDB or Amazon’s own DynamoDB.


DynamoDB is Amazon’s no SQL database service.


S3 stands for Simple Secure Storage, and you can think of it like dropbox with a bit more functionality. You can use S3 to store files but you can also use it to store the files for your website and connect it with Amazon’s DNS Route 53.

Route 53

Route 53 is Amazon’s DNS aka Domain Name Service. Think of it exactly like Amazon’s version of Godaddy.

These are a few of the most common technologies you will see in AWS. Hopefully this clears up some confusion you may have had about what AWS is and what it’s services are. But this is by no means a comprehensive list. AWS has many services that would take an entire course to go over.

I suggest this Udemy course if you are hoping to take an AWS certification test in the future:

Thank you for reading. Please follow me on Twitter @thedrewprint and find me on LinkedIn — Andrew M Richards.