Getting Started with AWS

An Intro to AWS and Identity Access Management (IAM)

What is AWS?

Amazon Web Services is a cloud platform that allows fast and cheap provisioning of environments. This gives businesses the opportunity to build environments, scale them when their requirements change and test at a low cost, all with a few clicks.

Regions and Availability Zones

In order for this to work, there obviously needs to be some physical hardware infrastructure somewhere. Amazon splits theirs into Regions. Amazon currently has 16 regions (as of writing this), this number is steadily increasing. These regions relate to geographic locations of data centres.

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Edge Locations

As you can imagine, if you are accessing a service that is hosted in a particular Region, let’s say from the US, however are actually based in the UK like me. Then your latency will obviously increase as the data must be transferred across a larger physical distance.

Route 53 — DNS

Route 53 is the AWS Domain Name System (DNS) web service. It’s goal is to translate domain names to IP addresses so web content can be served to users.

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IAM stands for Identity and Access Management. IAM allows you to secure how people access resources and services within AWS. You can create Roles and Groups and assign them to users.

Groups, Users, Roles and Policies

A Group in AWS is just as you would expect. It refers to a cluster of Users. This allows you to apply roles and policies to a group, and every user within that group will automatically have these roles and policies.

API Calls and Authentication

If you have a service that needs to continually connect to AWS, you don’t want to store access keys within the application in order to connect each time. This could allow people to extract them and therefore have access to your AWS instance.

Written by

Data and Productivity Writer — Data Architect at

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