Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides a flexible, cost-effective, scalable, and easy-to-use cloud computing platform that is suitable for research, educational use, individual use, and organizations of all sizes. The most central and well-known of these services is Amazon EC2
What Can I Do with AWS?
Whether you want to do things such as store content in the cloud, build a static website, deploy a web application, run data-and compute-intensive workloads, or build dependable backup solutions, the AWS cloud computing platform provides you the flexibility you need regardless of your use case or industry.
Here is a small list of common cloud-based scenarios, ranging from simple applications to complex implementations, with information on how you can get started:
Store private content in the cloud. You can use Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to store content such as images and files in the cloud and control access to it.
Deploy an application. You can deploy a Java, PHP, or .NET application quickly without having to worry about the AWS infrastructure.
Launch a server in the cloud. Use web service interfaces to launch instances with the operating system and custom application environment you want. To learn how to launch, connect to, and terminate an EC2 instance, go to the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Getting Started Guide.
Manage large data sets. Learn how to use AWS cloud services to manage data sets that are too large to be hosted in traditional relational databases and are too inefficient to analyze using non-distributed applications. For information, go to Getting Started Guide: Analyzing Big Data with AWS.
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It presents a true virtual computing environment, allowing you to use web service interfaces to launch instances with a variety of operating systems, load them with your custom application environment, manage your network's access permissions, and run your image using as many or few systems as you desire.
To use Amazon EC2, you simply:
Select a pre-configured, templated Amazon Machine Image (AMI) to get up and running immediately. Or create an AMI containing your applications, libraries, data, and associated configuration settings.
Configure security and network access on your Amazon EC2 instance.
Choose which instance type(s) you want, then start, terminate, and monitor as many instances of your AMI as needed, using the web service APIs or the variety of management tools provided.
Determine whether you want to run in multiple locations, utilize static IP endpoints, or attach persistent block storage to your instances.
Pay only for the resources that you actually consume, like instance-hours or data transfer.
For information about getting started with EC2, go to Getting Started with Amazon EC2.
How Do I Get Started with AWS?
All the basic information you need to know before you get started with AWS can be found in this How to site (eg. How to sign up, How to access AWS, etc.)
You can alway find useful information about the services ranging from introductions to advanced features in the Documentation site.
While AWS is characterized for being affordable, there are two options available to make it even more affordable - that is, free. On the one hand, there are Grants to students. On the other, a one year limited free trial for new members. These two options are described below:
AWS in Education
AWS in Education provides Project Grants supporting free usage of AWS to student organizations and student entrepreneurial projects. To apply, please visit AWS Education, look for the Student section, and fill out the form.
AWS's Free Usage Tier offers you an opportunity to test drive several key AWS products for free, up to a certain level of usage. By following the guidelines of the offer, you can gain experience working in the cloud at no charge for an entire year. When your free usage expires, or if your application use exceeds the provisions of the free usage tier, you simply pay the standard, pay-as-you-go service rates.
Here are some of the things you can do with services when you try out the AWS free usage tier:
Launch an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance
Store content and control access to that content using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)
Deploy a sample web application
Deploy a static web site
For information about getting started in the AWS free usage tier, go to Getting Started Guide: AWS Free Usage Tier.