Four Tips on How to Get the Most Out of Your Amazon Cloud Service


The Amazon cloud service allows you to test and experiment with new technologies without having to buy additional servers.

One of the biggest benefits of using public cloud services for your cloud needs is the ability to create and run a server on the fly without having to deal with long-term or upfront costs. This kind of agility is what encouraged a lot of business owners to use Amazon Web Services.

However, how do you take full advantage of Amazon AWS as well as other public cloud platforms? Here are a few tips.

1. Find ways to share data on Amazon AWS.

One of the Amazon services you need to know is the Amazon Simple Storage Service. Amazon S3 is simply a cloud storage offering that gives you the storage capacity to retrieve or store data. It does not matter how big it is; you will get scalable, fast and reliable data storage without having to pay through the nose. In this age of big data, you will find yourself needing to store and access big amounts of data that continue to grow every single day. You could also package this data and sell it to third parties, or make this information available to partners, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders.

There is no sense in using your own network and infrastructure if you want to store, access and share data. You can easily put it on Amazon S3 and use Amazon CloudFront to manage access using signed URLs. This will help ease any bottlenecks when you share data on your own network, especially when there are a lot of users downloading it or if you are dealing with huge chunks of data.

ARM, a global manufacturer of processors, has been sharing big amounts of data with other firms. One of its biggest datasets is more than 5 terabytes and it continues to grow. When partner firms try to download, ARM engineering platform lead architect Olly Stephens says that this used to mean several days of stress transferring the data from their servers to the customers. The bottleneck was solved when ARM uploaded its huge dataset to AWS S3. Customers can now download the data from Amazon’s servers instead of ARM’s servers.

2. Consider variable pricing.

Traditionally, running your workloads in-house is more affordable than running it on the cloud. But that is if you only look at fixed pricing. The good news is that you can use variable pricing to help you cut on costs.

If you use AWS EC2, you should know AWS Spot Instance pricing. It is a pricing model that allows you to save money when the demand for the AWS EC2 service is low. This will help offset the higher costs in running your workloads on Amazon cloud service, and could probably prove cheaper than running it in-house if you play your cards right.

There are, however, two drawbacks with this approach. One is that you may pay a higher rate when demand is high. Also, Spot Instances undergo periodic interruptions, so only workloads that are not sensitive should be put under this platform.

ARM runs its overnight endurance tests using AWS Spot Instances. These tests are completed by 8 in the morning of the next day, ensuring that the demand is low. Stephens related that the money they were able to save were then reallocated for additional tests, or used for other tests and some other uses.

3. Make allowances because integration is not always smooth sailing.

While it is easy to get AWS services for your needs, integrating your current system with the new systems and apps using Amazon services might not be as easy.

This is especially true when you have complex IT processes that you are also modifying. For instance, the Financial Times used Amazon AWS for its data platform but it found that integrating its cloud-based platform with its legacy systems, which handled subscriber data, was more difficult and more complex than the company had anticipated.

Adding to the complexity was that the membership platform, as well as the publishing systems, were also being transformed. That means that the integration tools that they were considering when they first started are not enough.

4. Do not shut out other technologies that may present fewer risks.

The Amazon cloud service allows you to test and experiment with new technologies without having to buy additional servers. That means that when a new technology comes out, you can immediately try it out without waiting to get new hardware and even spending on it. If you find that it is not fit for your needs, then you can just abandon it.

Using on-premise systems means that you have a long-term commitment to the software you are planning to test out. If you fail, then you are stuck with hardware that you would probably not use. With Amazon Cloud Service, you can make mistakes and fail, and you would not have to wait or waste money doing so. You can innovate services faster and thresh out kinks firmly, in such a way that was never possible with onsite systems.

The United Kingdom Met Office, which is tasked to forecast weather and climate, collects at least 300 million observations from all over the world. It uses these data for more than four million climate and weather forecasts. The organization has been testing its Web applications using storage technologies that are run on AWS. It was then able to determine which storage backend was the right one according to the service involved.

Met Office chief enterprise architect James Tomkins says that the biggest advantage of using ASW is that it enabled their designers and programmers to fail fast without the exorbitant costs of on premise systems.

Four Cornerstone can help you get your mind around Amazon Web Services so that you can have an easier time using its services and get the most out of your investments. We can also help you take full advantage of other cloud platforms that you are considering.

All it takes is to fill out our short contact form or call us at +1 (817) 377-1144. Tell us what you need and we can tell you how we could help.

Photo courtesy of simone.brunozzi.

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