MIS 3406 PRO Points Assignment
The History of Amazon Web Services and How Companies Utilize It Today
By Natalie Solitario
Amazon Web Services is the world’s most popular cloud-based computing platform. They provide customers with over 200 products and services including Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Elastic Beanstalk, Cloud Watch, S3, and many more. AWS is very appealing to companies because most of their services use a pay-as-you-go model, allowing clients to scale up and down depending on their business needs. Amazon Web Services gives its customers peace of mind because they do not have to monitor and maintain the physical infrastructure on a 24/7 basis. The physical infrastructure is contained in state-of-the-art data centers across the country so clients only have to worry about their cloud computing. AWS also gives customers the ability to customize their cloud architecture as much or as little as they prefer based on their needs.
Amazon Web Services was founded in the early 2000s when Amazon was a much different company than we know it as today. They needed a way to scale their online retailing operations infrastructure so more time could be devoted to customers. Amazon wanted to launch an e-commerce service to help third party retailers build sites on top of Amazon’s retailing site. The first services offered by AWS were database, compute, and storage, but developers were thinking of ways to truly make this operation functional for clients as Infrastructure as a Service.
Amazon Web Services officially came to market in 2006 launching S3 cloud storage and EC2 shortly after. AWS users no longer had to worry about having enough storage for their business operations because Amazon takes care of it all. AWS was the first of its kind for many years. By 2012, Amazon Web Services revenue was estimated to be over $1.5 billion. AWS has grown tremendously with all of its own retail operations using it. In addition to North America, Amazon has data centers all over the world in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, and is continuing to expand. Each of these areas has several Availability Zones to provide security in the event of a disaster or outage. Many companies use Amazon Web Services today as it continues to grow and deliver for all its clients’ needs.
Amazon Web Services has a plethora of notable clients, many of which are Fortune 500 companies or government entities. Some of these clients include: Netflix, Unilever, Disney, Pfizer, Pinterest, Goldman Sachs, ESPN, NASA, the United States Navy, and the British Ministry of Defense. Clients like these use Amazon Web Services for many reasons, but a huge reason is because it is secure, regardless of how large or small your business operations are. AWS is also cost effective and lets businesses manage their costs and see exactly what resources they are utilizing and paying for. Netflix, one of Amazon Web Services’ biggest clients, has used AWS since their early days and pushed them to continue to grow their operations to meet their needs. Netflix moved all of their technological operations to the cloud and now works with AWS for all its large-scale needs, both computing and storage.
As of today, Amazon can successfully handle both massive operations and small to midsize operations. In our MIS 3406 class, we experienced Amazon Web Services firsthand from a business perspective and utilized services we will encounter in future IT careers. We set up our own network on two Availability Zones, configured security, implemented load balancing and auto-scaling with Relational Database Service, and launched an application on top of this infrastructure. We frequently monitored our costs while starting and stopping services as needed to save money. Although our operations were smaller than those of a true business, we learned to appreciate the capabilities AWS holds and be responsible for our own cloud infrastructure. Companies that utilize Amazon Web Services have the potential to improve and further automate their business operations, keeping AWS on top as the world’s most successful cloud service provider.
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