aws cloud practitioner services overview

AWS Cloud Practitioner Services Overview

This is a list of services you will likely encounter on the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam only.
Here we will cover all the necessary services in high-level detail.


What is Cloud Computing?

Since 2006, AWS began offering Cloud Computing services so that organizations could stop trading capital expense on in-house servers and other expensive datacenter equipment and move to a model in the cloud that would be much more cost effective and scalable.

This idea is called trading capital expense for variable expense by allowing organization’s IT teams pay only for what they use and not waste their money on resources that are not being used.

Over the years, AWS has been successful with their goal by offering a lot of highly reliable, scalable, low-cost infrastructure platforms and services to hundreds of thousands of businesses in 190 countries around the world.

Cloud computing offers organizations on demand compute power, database storage, applications, and other resources in a pay-as-you-go model. All these services are accessible via the internet and allow you to develop and scale your applications in a way that wouldn’t seem possible if you were to try to do this at home… or at least in your on-premise organization.

To learn about the benefits of cloud computing, check out AWS Well Architected Framework Cheatsheet


AWS Access Services

AWS Management Console – The graphical user interface on the AWS website that you can use to interact with the AWS services.

AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) – Programmatic access using your terminal or powershell.

AWS Software Development Kits (SDKs) – Programmatic access through APIs, specifically designed to work with the languages used in your applications.


AWS Compute Services

EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) – Provides virtual servers that are secure and resizable

  • Allows you to scale capacity within minutes in order to meet your needs
  • Offers different payment models
    • On-Demand
    • Reserved
    • Spot
    • Dedicated

EBS (Elastic Block Storage) – Block storage volumes used for EC2 instances

  • High performance volumes (Choose your SSD/HDD type)
  • Highly Available (11x’9’s availability)
  • Allows protection of data by use of snapshots of EBS volumes


AWS Storage Servers

S3 (Simple Storage Service) – Object storage with an easy to use web interface and the ability to access via programmatic access.

  • Highly Durable – Designed for 99.999999999% Durability (11x’9’s)
  • Highly Available – Designed for 99.99% availability (for S3 standard only) 
  • Unlimited storage
  • Secure using SSL, IAM, Encryption at rest, etc
  • Different storage Classes
    • Standard
    • Infrequently Accessed (IA)
    • IA One Zone
    • Intelligent Tiering
    • Glacier
    • Glacier Deep Archive
  • Super cheap!


AWS Database Services

RDS (Relational Database Service) – Provides an efficient way to resize database capacity while managing the administration tasks.

  • Supports various Relational Database types:
    • Amazon Aurora
    • PostgreSQL
    • MySQL
    • MariaDB
    • Oracle
    • Microsoft SQL Server
  • RDS can be highly reliable via Multi-AZ
  • RDS can cache frequently accessed data via Read Replicas

DynamoDB (NoSQL Database) – Fully managed NoSQL database service that is offered by Amazon (think of it as an alternative to MongoDB)

  • Supports key-value data model
  • Flexible and reliable performance which is ideal for mobile apps, games, web apps, IoT (Internet of Things), etc.
  • Highly scalable that is managed by AWS. All you need to do is specify your capacity needs.

ElasticCache – In-memory caching service offered by AWS.

  • Supports two open-source in-memory cache solutions
    • MemcacheD
    • Redis
  • Can improve the performance of your web applications by caching frequently accessed information in cache zone so your servers and databases don’t have to work as hard.

Security Identity and Compliance

IAM (Identity and Access Management) – Enables the security of AWS services by managing the users, groups, and roles.

  • Allows you to create AWS users, groups, and roles and use permissions to grant access to AWS resources
  • Allows users to access AWS resources using a dedicated login portal for your organization
  • Can handle the security controls for each user
  • Allows you to assign a multifactor authentication feature to your root AWS account

Network Services

CloudFront – AWS Content Delivery Network (CDN) service

  • Used to accelerate the delivery of websites, applications, and other hosted web files to various regions across the world
  • Uses IP addresses of the end-users to deliver the content faster by caching your content in edge locations
  • Can work with S3, EC2, ELB, and Route53.
  • Can also work with non-AWS servers that store your files you need to distribute across the globe

Route53 – AWS Domain Name System (DNS) service

  • Register domain names
  • Manage your DNS records for domains
  • Works great with other AWS services such as EC2, S3, RDS, CloudFront and other web services
  • Can perform health checks on your endpoints to make sure you have a good connection


Management Tools

AWS CloudWatch – Monitoring and logging service for all your resources running within AWS

  • Particularly good at gathering metrics, log files, alerting you when there is something wrong with your cloud infrastructure, and can take action for you with automated responses to the events

AWS CloudTrail – Records API calls for services active within your account

  • Covers API calls made from the Management Console, AWS SDK, Command-Line tools, and other AWS Services
  • Records on API calls include the time the API call took place, the source IP address of the API caller, the request parameters, and the response elements
  • Enables security analysis, and compliance auditing

Final Thoughts for the AWS Cloud Practitioner

Like I had mentioned earlier, this AWS Services overview page covers those services you are likely to see on your exam. Because the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam is not very technically in-depth, its safe to say that the general overview on each of the services listed in this blog post is enough for you to understand what you’ll be asked on the real exam.

If you happen to come across any services that you are questioned about during your exam, please feel free to let me know so I can add them to this post!