Amazon Web Services is the largest cloud service provider in the world. It may be easier to list the organizations that do not use AWS for the cloud requirements. The scalability and diversity of features provided by AWS make it an excellent choice for organizations in the ever growing digital world.

What is AWS?

Created in 2006 by Amazon, AWS or Amazon Web Services, has grown to be by far the largest cloud service available. The service is continually maintained and updated by Amazon and is now available in almost every country around the world, with data centers in 87 availability zones spread across 27 countries.

AWS is used globally by millions around the world, from small startups benefitting from the pay-as-you-go pricing models, to military and governmental organizations that take advantage of the advanced security and data protection provided by AWS through the bespoke GovCloud feature.

With over 200 active features available and plans for additional data centers – with 21 more planned across 7 more geographical regions – accessibility is just one of the countless reasons AWS has become the most popular cloud service available and continues to grow in popularity.

How does AWS work?

Amazon Web Services allows businesses that use AWS services to store, process and compute their data over the internet. This prevents the need for physical servers and can be very cost efficient for businesses. This data is stored by AWS in vast data centers which are spread around the world.

Unique AWS offerings

AWS offers a massive range of features to all organizations and developers. Below are just a few of the main offerings from AWS’ comprehensive list of services.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)

Allows organizations and developers to rent virtual machines (called “instances”) on which to run their own applications. EC2 instances can be resized and the number of instances can be increased or decreased as needed, allowing payment only for the computing resources used.

AWS Lambda

A serverless compute service that runs code in response to events and automatically manages the compute resources needed to run the code. Organizations therefore pay only for the compute time that their code consumes.

Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS)

Allows developers to run and manage Docker containers on a cluster of EC2 instances. ECS handles the placement and scaling of containers and provides monitoring and logging capabilities.

“Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is highly scalable object storage service which makes it easy to store and retrieve large amounts of data from anywhere on the web.”

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS)

A managed service for running Kubernetes on AWS. EKS makes it easy to deploy, run, and manage containerized applications using Kubernetes.

Amazon Lightsail

A simplified compute service that makes it easy to set up and manage virtual private servers (VPS). Lightsail offers a range of pre-configured instances with different combinations of CPU, memory, and storage.

AWS Batch

A batch processing service that allows developers to run batch computing workloads on AWS. AWS Batch automatically provisions, scales, and manages the compute resources needed to run the workloads.

What sets AWS apart?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is set apart by impressive serverless computing offerings, including AWS Lambda and Amazon API Gateway. These services allow developers to run their code in response to events and automatically manage the underlying compute resources, letting organizations and development teams to build and run applications and backend services without the need to provision, scale, and maintain servers.

Another service that sets AWS apart is Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), which is a highly scalable, object storage service that makes it easy to store and retrieve large amounts of data from anywhere on the web. S3 is a popular choice for storing data for a wide range of applications, including backup and recovery, data analytics, and content distribution.

AWS employs a “shared responsibility model”, meaning AWS and businesses are both responsible for aspects of the services. As standard, AWS manages the infrastructure from the ground level up to the Hypervisor. Beyond the hypervisor, the developer is responsible for managing the operating systems, engines and the data. The Shared responsibility model introduced a relational database which manages everything above the hypervisors. This can be advantageous for organizations that require additional support from AWS.


“AWS allowed us to store information in a cost effective manner while alleviating the burden of supporting the necessary infrastructure since AWS takes care of that. It really is a win-win for us and our customers.”

– Jeff Kimsey, Associate Vice President of Product Management for NASDAQ

Key Features of AWS

It is nearly impossible to cover all of the major features of AWS in a single article. Below is a short list of some of the most useful and impressive features available to organizations and developers that choose to employ AWS.


AWS GovCloud (US) is a cloud computing platform operated by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that is specifically designed to host sensitive workloads for U.S. government agencies and contractors. It is compliant with Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and Department of Defense (DoD) requirements, and is operated in an isolated AWS Region in the United States.

Elastic load balancing

Allows developers to distribute incoming traffic across multiple Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon ECS tasks, or IP addresses to help improve the availability and fault tolerance of their applications.

Amazon virtual private cloud

Allows developers to create a virtual network in the cloud and launch Amazon EC2 instances, database instances, and other resources into it.

“Organizations are only required to pay for the services and resources they use, preventing unnecessarily high bills”

Amazon CloudWatch

A service which allows organizations to monitor and collect metrics for their AWS resources and applications. With CloudWatch, organizations can set alarms to be triggered when certain thresholds are met, and can view and analyze data over time to help identify trends and patterns.

Pay-as-you-go model

Organizations are only required to pay for the services and resources they use, rather than paying an upfront fee. This benefits organizations of all sizes as it prevents unnecessarily high bills for excessive subscriptions.


Snowballs are a data transport service which organizations can use to transfer exabytes of data into and out of the AWS Cloud using physical storage devices.

Utilizing the key benefits of AWS

AWS has been chosen by millions of individuals, organizations and development teams across the globe. The enormous popularity of the platform strongly suggests it would be the right choice for many businesses.

Generous free tier

AWS offers 25GB of storage, 1 million requests sent through AWS Lambda and 1 million publishes for free to all users.


As standard, AWS manages everything up to the hypervisor, so organizations can rely on AWS for the infrastructure management.


Data is encrypted and shared among well protected data centers, ensuring some of the highest levels of security available.


The size of AWS data centers means there is no upper limit to the amount of cloud capacity available. Ongoing growth of AWS means it is unlikely that any organization will ever come close to the maximum capacity.

High Performance

The distribution of data centers for AWS means organizations and end-users receive microsecond latency from anywhere in the world. AWS also ensures data is stored as close to the end-user base as possible.


AWS offers a wide ecosystem, consisting of over 200 features that can be employed by any organization. All of these features are additionally supported by the AWS support staff.

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Understanding the limitations of AWS

Excessive security

Security can be restrictive for organizations as limits are put in on the amount of users, developer access and data access. The limits can’t be changed or removed by standard organizations.

Unpredictable pricing

The pay as you go model can be very unpredictable at times for organizations, occasionally leading to surprising bills. This is often exacerbated by the serverless offerings of AWS.

Regional limits

Despite the global availability of AWS, certain features are not universally available and rollouts often happen at different times, often leading to difficulties in synchronization.

Support fee

Although AWS offers a large amount of support for all users, including developers, organizations and end users, this comes with a costly subscription fee.

Brief history of AWS


Chris Pinkham and Benjamin Black proposed a change to the internal infrastructure of Amazon. As this infrastructure already outstripped the competitors, they proposed Amazon could sell the infrastructure as a service, then officially launching Amazon Web Services with Simple Storage Service (S3) and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) as the main features.

2007 – 2013

One year after release, AWS had already gained 180,000 developers Amazon officially migrated all data over to AWS servers. AWS then launched a comprehensive training and certification programme for engineers, aimed to increase popularity for the service and act as a recruitment drive for AWS itself. The success of this programme lead to massive growth for AWS.

2014 Onwards

AWS committed to achieve 100% renewable energy. The target for this was set as 2030, however this will likely be achieved by 2025. Revenue for AWS reached $6 billion per year, growing by 90% per year. AWS launched the Machine Learning Speciality Certifications, focussed on training engineers in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

AWS customer successes

AWS is the most widely used cloud computing service in the world. It controls over 42% of the market share, which is approximately equal to the market share of the next three largest providers combined.

Netflix: When expanding into multiple countries, Netflix required a cloud provider that could match their rapid growth while providing minimal latency and a seamless user experience. The range of geographical locations for data centers made AWS the best choice for Netflix, who continue to use AWS to date.

Amazon: It may seem obvious that Amazon uses AWS, however Amazon is almost uniquely situated to be able to make use of essentially every single feature offered by AWS. With one of the largest data sets and diversity of applications developed by Amazon, it is one of the most comprehensive use cases for AWS

NASA: At the time of migration to AWS, NASA had 10 centers throughout the US. These centers were spread geographically, meaning the experience for end users wishing to view data from NASA difficult. Wanting to create an easy access platform to allow the public to view their research while also handling all the incoming data made AWS the perfect choice for NASA.

Facebook: As one of the largest and most widespread social media platforms in the world, Facebook is estimated to generate over 4 petabytes (4 million Gigabytes) of data per day. As there are very few cloud service providers that can handle that amount of data, AWS is best viable option for Facebook when trying to store this enormous amount of data.

United States Government and Military make use of AWS due to their enormous storage requirements as well as the data security required for protecting their sensitive data. The security and scale of AWS will have been pivotal when deciding which cloud provider to use.

“The DOD chose Amazon Web Services for the pilot cloud program because it was the only cloud provider authorized to handle high-risk unclassified data at the highest level. The DOD is working closely with Amazon to make sure security stays at the forefront of the program.”

– Spokesperson for the US Department of Defence

Asked Questions.

Explore commonly asked questions about AWS, what it’s used for, who uses it, and understanding some core Amazon Web Services features and principals.

AWS offers a generous free tier, which is available to all organizations. This includes 25GB of data storage and 1 million Lambda requests per month. Once this free tier is exceeded, AWS is available on a pay as you go model.

Depending on the organization, AWS may or may not require coding. As AWS acts as a host, it does not require coding from developers, however applications hosted on AWS will require coding before they are able to be hosted.

With AWS, organizations only need to pay for their exact usage. Once organizations have exceeded the free tier of AWS, pricing works on a pay as you go model. This means businesses can reduce their costs, without the need to pay for an excessive subscription. Estimates on pricing can be gathered from the AWS website.

AWS can be accessed from over 190 countries worldwide. This access can be both storage and recall. The volume of geographical and availability zones allows end users to access the cloud wherever they are, provided they have an internet connection, with microsecond latency.

Do you have a project in mind?

Let’s discuss the future of your organization and how we can guide you on your journey to successful digital transformation.