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The Cloud That Gives You Wings: Introduction to AWS EC2

AWS EC2

Before we talk about AWS EC2 let’s try to answer a question, What exactly cloud computing is?

I would say that it’s a service that basically offers computing, storage, networking, database management, logs, and analytics over the internet.

One thing I really like about cloud computing is that you don’t have to worry about overusing a service or any budget. As long as you’re good enough to navigate a particular platform, you can get the most out of it and you’re more apt to use any resources wisely.
Not-like on-premise wherein at the time of planning for an application infrastructure, it requires all of your CTOs, Architects, and Business analytics to all sit together and figure out that, max to max, how many users will be hitting your server. Then a computing calculation is done to predict the maximum number of servers you need to buy. Which in turn results either over-estimation or under-estimation, in any way it will definitely affect the budget.
In cloud computing you can make use of auto-scaling feature of cloud computing which will scale up and down automatically as per the demand, and makes your life easy!
Lets talk about the Computing service provided by AWS called EC2 today. EC2 helps you build scalable applications and run them anywhere with low cost, high scalability, and flexibility. Get an introduction to EC2 so you can start using this powerful AWS feature right away!
Would you like to learn about AWS from the very beginning? Read this blog on 'What is AWS?'

What is AWS EC2?

The full form of EC2 is Elastic Compute Cloud. It is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud.
The word ‘elastic’ in the name ‘Elastic Compute Cloud’ reflects the service’s ability to adjust to changing workloads and provision or de-provision resources based on the demand.
Amazon EC2’s simple web interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction. It provides you with complete control of your computing resources and lets you run on Amazon’s proven computing environment.
In a nutshell, EC2 is a virtualized computer which has the operating system, CPU, HDD, and any other hardware features of your choice. There can be more than one such virtualized EC2 running on one physical machine.

How are EC2 re-sizable?

Server instances are re-sizable because you can scale them up or down as your computing needs change.

If your instance has plenty of capacity, but it is not being used, then you can reduce the number of instances by scaling down the current server instance. In addition, if an instance is too big for its workload, then scaling up will increase its performance by adding more CPUs and memory. You can also terminate an instance to save on costs when there is no need for it anymore.

So what is an Instance?

An instance is a virtual server in the cloud. You can launch different types of instances, each with different compute and memory capacities. When you launch an instance, you select an Amazon Machine Image (AMI), which contains the operating system and software configuration for your instance. You can also choose to launch instances with preconfigured applications from the AWS Marketplace.

Benefits of AWS EC2

Now that we have gone over what AWS EC2 is, let’s explore its benefits and how it is an integral part of the AWS system.

  • Pay-as-you-go
  • Elasticity
  • Increased Reliability
  • Auto-scaling

Pay-as-you-go:

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a pay-as-you-go cloud computing service that allows you to launch virtual machines (VMs), which are basically servers, on demand. This means that you only pay for the compute time that you use, which can save you a lot of money compared to traditional server hosting options.

Elasticity:

By its very nature, the EC2 is elastic, meaning a user can launch, terminate, and create server instances as required, paying by the second for active servers.

Reliability:

You can store more than one copy of your application in more than one data center so that when one data center is having a problem, the application will not go down completely, making it reliable.

Auto Scaling:

In AWS EC2 resources are automatically scaled according to demand, either scaling up or scaling down as demand increases or decreases.

Types of AWS EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud offers a variety of computing instances, each with different capabilities.

  1. The most common instance type is the general purpose instance, which is a good all-around choice for many applications.
  2. If you need more CPU power, you can choose an compute-optimized instance.
  3. For applications that need lots of memory, there are memory-optimized instances.
  4. For storage-intensive applications, there are storage-optimized instances.
  5. There are also instances designed for special purposes like graphic rendering and video encoding called GPU instances.

There are instances optimized for different workloads for each type of instance:AWS EC2

AWS Security: How should I secure my AWS EC2?

  • By controlling network access to your instances, for example, by configuring your VPC and security groups.
  • Manage the credentials you use to connect to your instances.
  • Manage the guest operating system and software, including updates and security patches.
  • Configure the AWS IAM roles attached to the instance and the permissions associated with each.

AWS EC2 is a cloud computing platform that offers pay-as-you-go pricing. This means that you only pay for the resources that you use, and you can scale up or down as needed. Plus, there are no long-term contracts, so you can cancel at any time.

Basically there are 3 models of billing or pricing:

  1. On Demand : With an on-demand instance type, it is more of a pay-as-you-go situation where billing only occurs when a machine is active. This is the most expensive. We can start or shut down the machine whenever necessary.
  2. Reserved : This sort of reservation would cover the EC2 machines for the long term, for a time of up to one year or three years. There is a discount with this type of reservation. Unless you plan to make use of the machine you will be charged for the full duration whether we do or not.

Final thoughts:

Ok! Well we went through the EC2 basics! The AWS EC2 is the go-to solution for developers for its various benefits, to include Scalable, Elastic, reliable, and so on. Beyond these benefits, AWS EC2 is also secure and deploying on AWS is very quick and easy which is why so many large companies (e.g. Dropbox, Reddit) rely on Amazon Web Services to grow. So, why not you also try Launching Amazon EC2 Instance with Amazon Machine Images (AMI) and let me know your thoughts in comments section.

If you are interested in learning cloud computing and making a career in AWS cloud please take a look on our AWS cloud Practitioner course  .

Happy Cloud computing!!!

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