October 24, 2012, 2:54 PM — If your company hasn't ventured an Amazon cloud deployment already, the day may be fast approaching. Amazon's pay-as-you-go cloud is no longer "just" a popular playground for developers, a magnet for technology startups, and the clandestine home of "shadow IT" projects. It's also increasingly a component of official IT operations.
Working with the Amazon EC2 cloud isn't especially difficult, but it is different. This quick guide will get you up and running and on your way to cloud mastery. When your company finally embarks on that Amazon deployment or the next stop in your career requires cloud skills, you'll be ready to answer the call.
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Learning your way around AmazonA first look at the Amazon Web Services dashboard confronts a bewildering array of services. Where to start? The truth is that a few of these resources will do almost everything you need. Others you may use little or not at all. The following services are the ones that will loom largest on your radar.
EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud). EC2 instances are the servers on which you run your workload. Although you use a Web interface or API call to provision the servers and bring them into your collection, ultimately they are real computers with CPUs, memory, and access to physical storage.
S3 (Simple Storage Service). So-called simple storage, S3 is used for persistent and very cheap storage. S3 integrates with CloudFront, Amazon's content delivery solution. If you have website content such as graphics images and CSS, these files would typically be stored in S3 and fetched by your Web server at delivery time.