Five AWS Tools to Make Life in the Cloud Easier

With the pandemic restricting travel, causing shipping delays and creating an increased need for additional computing power, it’s become especially difficult to run your own data center. I’ve found that Amazon Web Services (AWS) is now more valuable than ever by providing everything you need to manage a data center right at your fingertips, from wherever you are in the world. Here are five AWS tools, and how I’ve seen our clients benefit from their use.

I use CloudWatch to monitor server health for my clients, because I can search for errors across all of their servers in one spot. Another useful tool is alarm consolidation. For example, if multiple services or applications are affected by a single issue, you can receive a single notification and not be bothered by multiple alarms.

ECS (Elastic Container Service) Auto Scaling
Auto scaling within the ECS cluster can increase or decrease your server’s capacity based on defined conditions, while also replacing any unhealthy servers that are detected. It helps you save money by only using what you need, when you need it. One of our clients in the healthcare industry uses this tool to automatically scale up when they have a big sales event and need additional bandwidth to handle the large influx of customers.

CloudFront Content Delivery Network
CloudFront makes it easier for users to access your images, videos and data from a server location nearest to them, thereby improving speed and load times. Because the servers are distributed, CloudFront provides automatic failover in case one source is down. One of our automotive clients uses it to store all of their source files. Every time a website loads, it’s also loading many different files in the background (i.e., JavaScript files, files that tell which logos and background colors should appear, etc.) so by storing all of that information on the content delivery network, it can be retrieved more efficiently so pages load more quickly.

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS)
When you use RDS, you can easily set up, operate and scale a relational database in the Cloud. The most popular providers include MS SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. A current client is migrating their applications from Oracle to PostgreSQL, and they’re using RDS so that they no longer have to manage hardware, backups or patching. Clients using MS SQL Server are also able to rid themselves of licensing tasks that IT administrators would normally deal with.

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
S3 is an object storage service that provides scalable storage in the Cloud, along with managed security. A client of mine uses S3 to securely store their customers’ personal information. This client has a mobile app that leases vehicles to companies and contractors, so the driver of the vehicle uses the app to attach important documents like their insurance card and driver’s license. They needed a secure space where they would feel comfortable storing all of this personal data, and S3 has been the perfect solution.

These AWS tools are great for clients of all sizes and in all industries because of their immense scalability. Whether you use a powerful Windows 2019 server or a Linux server with a free operating system and a small processor, AWS can help you handle data efficiently, and grow with you as needed.

About the Author:

David Sullivan is a Principal Consultant at Sparq and has over 25 years of software development experience in the healthcare, finance, and automotive industries. He’s managed data centers ranging in size from hall closets to multi-rack, collocated telecom centers. His current focus at Sparq is front-end web application development.

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