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AWS Technical Essentials is an overview of the suite of tools and technologies that make up Amazon Web Services (AWS). This course covers a wide range of topics inside of AWS’ cloud service including EC2, S3, RDS, DynamoDB, Route53, VPC, and more. The goal of this course is to familiarize you with AWS and provide a solid foundation before you dive deeper into any one feature or product....
AWS Technical Essentials is an overview of the suite of tools and technologies that make up Amazon Web Services (AWS). This course covers a wide range of topics inside of AWS’ cloud service including EC2, S3, RDS, DynamoDB, Route53, VPC, and more. The goal of this course is to familiarize you with AWS and provide a solid foundation before you dive deeper into any one feature or product.

Recommended Experience
  • Basic systems administration
  • General programming and development
Recommended Equipment
  • Internet access and Chrome 45 or greater
Related Certifications
  • n/a
Related Job Functions
  • Web programming and software engineering
  • Systems architecture
  • Project manager
Ben Finkel has been a CBT Nuggets trainer since 2014. He is a Google Authorized Trainer and certified with both Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. He has more than 18 years of experience in the field of software engineering in a variety of industries including health care, financial, and pharmaceutical research.

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1. What is Amazon Web Services (AWS) (13 min)
2. AWS Infrastructure and Services (11 min)
3. Demo: AWS Management Console (11 min)
4. AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) (11 min)
5. Storage Options for EC2 Instances (10 min)
6. Advanced EC2 Features (11 min)
7. Demo: AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) (17 min)
8. AWS Simple Storage Service (S3) (9 min)
9. AWS S3 Concepts (9 min)
10. Advanced S3 Features (10 min)
11. Demo: AWS Simple Storage Service (S3) (12 min)
12. Demo: AWS Elastic Block Store (EBS) (11 min)
13. Demo: AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) (16 min)
14. AWS Shared Responsibility Model (12 min)
15. Demo: Security Group and Network ACLs (12 min)
16. AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) (13 min)
17. Demo: Identity and Access Management (12 min)
18. AWS Relational Database Service (RDS) (11 min)
19. Demo: AWS Relational Database Service (RDS) (11 min)
20. AWS NoSQL DynamoDB (14 min)
21. Demo: AWS NoSQL DynamoDB (6 min)
22. AWS Auto Scaling (13 min)

What is Amazon Web Services (AWS)


What is Amazon Web Services? Hey everyone. Ben Finkel here. And in this Nugget is an introduction to our Amazon Web Services Technical Essentials course. I want to answer the question that's gnawing at the hearts and minds of everyone, what the heck is Amazon Web Services?


We'll we're going to take a brief look at exactly what the public cloud is so we can understand what we mean when we talk about a public cloud service. We'll talk about why Amazon and what Amazon brings to table specifically for public cloud services.


And we want to briefly talk about what I like to call scalability in you. What elasticity in the cloud means for us and how we can take advantage of it in order to produce awesome and cost effective applications. It seems unlikely that if you're in the IT industry, over the past few years you have not heard the phrase the cloud.


It has become-- and I'm making air quotes with my fingers there-- it has become the buzz word to end all buzz words in IT today. And that's because it can mean a lot of different things. And in fact, it does mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.


And you've got all sorts of different clouds. Public clouds, private clouds, hybrid clouds. You've got cloud services, cloud infrastructure, cloud platforms, cloud software. The list goes on and on and on. Well Amazon Web Services, or AWS as we're going to be calling it for most of the series-- is a public cloud service.


And that's kind of the definition of cloud that I want to focus on. This is going to be a very broad and large definition of cloud. But I think you'll be able to understand from this original definition and the history of AWS, how it sort of filters down into all these different things that we consider a cloud.


Now the first thing that I want you to note is that you have in fact used the cloud before, almost without a doubt. It is impossible to imagine living in today's world and not having used the cloud. So if you have any online email services, say, Gmail or Hotmail, those are cloud based applications.


Ever used Facebook or Yahoo Fantasy football? Or hey, have you ever watched a video at cbtnuggets.com? Guess what, you've used the cloud. And think about what makes those applications great. You can A, access them from anywhere and get access to your same private data.


So if you make an update your Facebook page on your phone, later that day you can sit down at your desktop and you can see those updates that you made on your desktop. Completely different computer, completely different device because the information was stored in-- and again, I'm making the air quotes here-- the cloud.


Or maybe you read your email on multiple different devices. Even your work email, your Outlook Web Access or something similar to that. That is all cloud based service and we call that software as a service. We're going to talk about this idea of as a service a little bit later.


But those are called software as a service and they're cloud based applications. For the purposes of this series and AWS, if you're going to use AWS, we're talking a little bit more fundamental in software as a service. We're actually talking about the tools and utilities that Amazon provides that allow you to build software as a service.


Allow you to create your own awesome applications that other people can use. And I'm going to pull up the definition from Wikipedia for cloud computing here. A model for enabling ubiquitous on demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources, which can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort.


And holy cow that is a mouthful. But I actually think it's a pretty good definition of the cloud, at least the public cloud services that we are going to be talking about when we talk about AWS. However, if you're new to cloud, if you're fresh and you're coming at this without any history or any background, it's tough to parse that sentence into something understandable and legible.


So I want to break down the things that I think make the cloud the cloud. I want to break down from this sentence, which again, like I said, is a pretty good definition. What makes the cloud, what makes AWS, AWS? And the first thing that we want to talk about is the pool of configurable resources, a pool of resources.


Think about a gigantic collection of servers and hard drives and databases and networking equipment. And the power, the redundant power to keep that all up and running, a secure building in which to store it all. This sounds a lot like a data center.


And that's more or less exactly what it is. You can think of the pool of resources as a data center-- or in the case of AWS, many data centers, that's an S some parentheses for plural. So AWS has many, many of these data centers which are a gigantic pool of resources from which you can carve out a little piece to use for your application.


It's a pool of resources that you and I could never afford to build and maintain on our own. It's such an enormous pool of resource is that Amazon uses it for all of their product offerings. The Amazon website that you've been to many, many times, that runs on AWS services.


And it's so big, this pool of resources, that even after that application which is snappy and fast and I can remember the last time it was down, there's still a ton of leftover resources that you and I can take advantage of. Now these resources are shared and that's going to be really important concept as you work in the cloud.


In a public cloud service, I'm not the only one using these resources. Obviously like I just described, I'm sharing them with Amazon. But I'm also sharing them with everyone else who using AWS. We are all taking advantage of this same pool of resources.


The idea being that none of us individually could afford to build and maintain this pool of resources. But collectively, the money that we're going to pay for our usage is going to enable Amazon to run this and maintain this for us. Another key point here is the rapid provisioning and release that they mention here in this part of the sentence.


So yes, we can very quickly create new instances or new hard drives or new networks, whatever the case might be. And if you think about, well, take an example of my previous job at a large bank, a large financial institution. We had what I would consider a private cloud.


We had our own data center that was exclusively for us. And whenever I needed a new computer to spin up a new application for one of my clients, well, I didn't get a new computer. They didn't physically put a new computer into a rack for me. I filled out a form and I sent down to the IT department there.


And a few weeks later they would come back and say OK, you have a new virtual machine. Here's the IP address. They installed the operating system. They configured it the way I wanted it. But even when that was happening really, really quickly, you know we're talking about a couple of weeks turn around and if you work at a larger organization, you've likely experienced a similar thing.


When we talk about AWS, all of that goes out the window. When I say rapid, I'm talking minutes. Once you decide that you need a new machine and you've decided how it needs to be configured, that new virtual machine can be available in a couple of minutes.


That new hard drive space can be available inside of a couple of minutes. Oftentimes, you don't even have to provision. You simply upload files or upload data and the new space you need is going to be provisioned for you dynamically or automatically.


And all that feeds into the third and most important point about AWS and other public cloud services, is that everything is on demand. We said on demand right here at the very top of that sentence. These services are available on demand, when you need them.


This is called as a service. And the idea behind as a service-- and you're going to hear this phrase all the time when you're working in the cloud-- platform is a service. Infrastructure is a service. Storage, databases, software as a service like I just mentioned earlier.


The idea with as a service is that you can gain access to these resources, you provision them and release them as needed on an on demand basis and pay as you go for those services. The best analogy I can think of is something like your utility bill. Think about your natural gas or your electricity that's delivered to your house.


You don't have anything to do with the infrastructure that supplies your house with electricity. The electric company built that and yes, you had to get hooked up to initially but then when you want to turn a light on, you just flick a switch and turn it on.


And what happens? You start drawing more power off of the grid. And you pay for that electricity. As you're using it, you pay for that electricity or rather you accrue a bill. And then when you're done, you turn that light off and you stop using up that power from the grid.


And at the end of the month, you get a bill for exactly how much you used. The bill for my particular electric company comes in kilowatt hours, which is basically the number kilowatt hours that I use. So I'm paying for only what I use. And I can flick that switch and start using more.


And flick that switch off and start using less. We call this scalability or as a service. And the same idea is-- and we're achieving that same idea in AWS with the services, the computing resources that AWS has available for us. We often describe this with the word scalability or elasticity.


In fact, they have the word "elastic" right in the name of a fair number of AWS products and services. The Elastic Beanstalk comes to mind. So the idea with scalability is that you can both scale up and scale down your services very, very easily depending on your need.


When I talk about scaling, I'm talking about the ability to change your implementation to respond to changing traffic patterns. So think about a retail website during well, Black Friday, for instance. That's a big shopping weekend here in the United States.


When Black Friday rolls around, a retail website is going to get hammered. Usage is going to spike. And you're going to need more resources supporting that website so that it doesn't crash, doesn't go down. In a traditional data center environment, well what do you got to do?


You got to go out and plug more computers in, build these computers, order them from the vendor, first of all. Build them, install operating systems, configure those things, plug them in, make sure everything's working right. Oh my gosh, that's a headache.


You need weeks and weeks of lead time to support that. And then when Black Friday is done, you've got all these computers that you don't need anymore. We'll scalability in the cloud means that you can spin up resources to handle that extra traffic. It offers two really great features to us.


One, it's cost effective. Like I was just describing, you don't have to buy these things in advance. You're only paying for them on demand and as you need them. And secondly, the way it's effective and I think this is a little more subtle and not often brought up, but it's easy to on ramp our services into the cloud.


So if you will have an existing implementation, you probably already work at a company. You've got a lot software. You don't have to go all or nothing into the cloud with all of your software or an entire implementation. You could say, you know what, we're just going to scale up slowly and start moving some of our things onto the cloud.


We are going to on ramp our services gradually over months or even years so that we can ensure that we take advantage of the cloud in the best way and we don't have downtime for our customers and our applications remain highly available and very reliable.


By the way, this is also often called a hybrid cloud. And that's where your services are halfway in the cloud-- halfway in the public cloud like Amazon Web Services and halfway in your own private data center. So Amazon Web Services is a public cloud provider.


It's a gigantic pool of configurable resources that you can easily scale up and scale down to use at a reasonable cost without paying the fixed overhead. Now I called this the history of Amazon Web Services so why don't we talk a little bit about the history of Amazon Web Services.


And the history of Amazon in general, is a pretty amazing history. They started back in 1994. We saw the online bookstore launched in 1995. I can't believe it was that long ago now. In 2006, is when they first launched Amazon Web Services so it's been around a long, long time now.


And what's cool about Amazon Web Services is they've been continually growing and expanding it. So back in 2006, we saw the launch of some of their foundational services, EC2 and S3. Those are virtual compute machines and virtual storage. In 2009, we had RDS, relational database as a service available inside of web services.


Elastic Beanstalk, Glacier, DynamoDB, Lambda most recently in 2016. And this is by no means a comprehensive list of services. Later in a future Nugget, we're going to look at the console where we can see all the products and features that Amazon offers.


And it's also the jaw dropping because they offer a ton of different features. But we want to highlight the fact that over the years AWS has been really diligent about expanding their offerings, making sure that the features and products are available inside of the cloud that allow us to take enormous advantage of the power and the resources that are available to us.


And we're not the only ones who are doing this. In case you're thinking, well the cloud is kind of this newfangled thing. It's only for start ups and hip kids in Brooklyn, it's not. It's for everyone. And everyone is actually already in the cloud. The private sector is there in huge ways.


Some notable Amazon Web Services customers are Airbnb, Unilever, and Samsung. CBT Nuggets, you're watching this video delivered from Amazon Web Services right now. We use them to back up our own product. And they have the public sector, companies like or rather agencies like the FDA, NASA, and CDC are all relying on Amazon Web Services.


And the reason I bring this up is because of regulation. You may be thinking to yourself that hey, I've got a huge regulatory environment that I have to deal with. I'm working with DOD contracts. I'm working with private health data. I'm working with PCI, credit card data.


Well Amazon is built and designed to deal with that data for you. It's one of the number one pushbacks that I always hear when I talk about going to the cloud is people say, well, our data's private. We can't put it in a public cloud service. But I'm here telling you right now, that these clouds, Amazon Web Services, are in fact rated for storing that data and meeting those regulations that you need to meet for your product.


So that concludes this Nugget on what is Amazon Web Services, AWS. Hopefully at this point you have a good understanding of what AWS is and what a public cloud service, in general, is. A vast pool of computing resources that you can easily scale up inside of to power your own applications.


If you don't feel like you have a firm grasp on it, don't worry, that's OK. We only took a brief introductory look and over the course of the series, we are going to dive into the details. And I promise you that you'll understand by the end all of the different cool awesome things that you can do on AWS.


I hope this has been informative for you and I'd like to thank you for viewing.

AWS Infrastructure and Services

Demo: AWS Management Console

AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)

Storage Options for EC2 Instances

Advanced EC2 Features

Demo: AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)

AWS Simple Storage Service (S3)

AWS S3 Concepts

Advanced S3 Features

Demo: AWS Simple Storage Service (S3)

Demo: AWS Elastic Block Store (EBS)

Demo: AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)

AWS Shared Responsibility Model

Demo: Security Group and Network ACLs

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)

Demo: Identity and Access Management

AWS Relational Database Service (RDS)

Demo: AWS Relational Database Service (RDS)


Demo: AWS NoSQL DynamoDB

AWS Auto Scaling

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Ben Finkel
Nugget trainer since 2014