Amazon’s AWS cloud service platform has emerged as an exceptional provider of cloud services, dwarfing the successes made by rivals, such as Microsoft’s Azure or the Google Cloud Platform. Amazon’s disclosure of its near 17 percent operating profit margin in the first quarter of 2015 easily earned it the reputation of one of the top best and thriving cloud service providers in the industry. Recent details also highlight how AWS is putting Microsoft Azure to shame. In the June quarter, for instance, Microsoft Azure reported sales of $400 million; whereas, AWS reported four times higher than Azure’s.
However, as a small-and-medium-sized business becoming familiar with the features and services of the AWS, it is essential to gauge cloud computing to its utmost potential. Otherwise, you only shoot yourself in the foot when you realize the opportunities you are neglecting in developing sustainable competitive advantages against your rivals.
An immense benefit of using cloud services, such as that of AWS, is being able to develop applications for your cloud network. However, the process of application development is not exactly as taking a walk in the park. Rather, it requires paying heed to a complex set of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’, without which your applications can end up being a nightmare for you.
For a start, be sure never to store any application state on your servers. This is so that you do not lose the application state when the server crashes. For best practices, be sure to store your session on a central database instead on your local file system. Similarly, uploads should be made directly on the S3 instead of the local file system and any lengthy tasks should be carried out through an asynchronous queue, such as SQS.
Simplifying your operations
There are a variety of tools and features that you can adopt to simplify and speed up your operations, helping you save considerable time. Using the AWS CLI (Command Line Interface) is one great example. This lets you configure and manage multiple AWS services and use it through scripts via automation.
Essentially, it is a beneficial tool for helping you finish all types of tasks efficiently and quickly. It allows you to display the size and contents of an S3 bucket and also check your CloudFormation templates.
Another tool you can use is the Elastic Beanstalk. This helps you create applications at the fraction of the time you would spent otherwise. More importantly, you do not need to use any additional tools or software and can easily be deployed to manage numerous applications.
The cloud can be a convenient place for data credential to get mixed up or lost. So if your applications have AWS credentials written all over it, you are headed in the wrong direction. Make sure to use EC2 role and not your applications through an IAM account. The key is to set the rules and permissions of a specific role and have it assigned to an EC2 instance.
As a matter of fact, Amazon has also announced its new Config Rules feature. This helps organizations decide how each instance should be configured and how it should respond according to a set policy. For instance, you can decide to have all instances to operate in a Virtual Private Network and remove the ones which do not.
This will help you have better control of your cloud data and ensure security is maintained and not compromised in any way.
Saving cloud costs
You may just convince yourself to settle for a cheaper cloud service provider than AWS. The number of your IT projects might just be squeezing most of your budget. However, you can substantially reduce your costs by purchasing reserved EC2 instances. This allows you to pay an up-front and one-time fee in return for a discount between 40 and 50 percent on EC2, ElastiCache, DyanmoDB, and RDS instances.
You can choose either the one-year or three-year term and organizations can witness significant gains in profitability as a result of buying reserved EC2 instances.
AWS service limits
Make sure you become familiar with AWS service limits before you decide on using it. This is because the service limits are not brought to the limelight until you deploy AWS, after which you can request the AWS consulting team to increase your limits. However, bear in mind that having your limits increased is a time-consuming process, so be sure to send your request many days in advance.
More importantly, you should also know which service limits are global and which are regional. This way you won’t be giving your organization unexpected surprises, and ensure that your cloud network operates in the most efficient and effective way possible.