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AWS Essentials eBook Sample Chapters

This post is a selection of sample chapters from my eBook “AWS Essentials”.  

Click here to Purchase the Full Book Now!

Chapter 0: Introducing AWS

Welcome!  Thank you for choosing this book to introduce you to the Essentials of Amazon Web Services, AWS.
Chapter one will begin your instruction but first I want to give you an intro to what is included. I want to explain how this book is going to raise your AWS proficiency and why that means this investment is about to pay you back big time.

The Number One Question I hear is, “Why should I pick AWS over the alternatives?”

The cloud is the cloud is the cloud, right?  From an outside perspective all cloud providers may seem similar.  How could one service have any clear advantage over another?
In a nutshell the advantages to AWS are:

Choosing AWS services – given the low cost and stable infrastructure – is one of the most strategic moves you can make for the technology in your business today.

How can I be sure?

I have made the switch both in my own business and for my clients.  In all cases the cost of operations has shrunk, reliability has increased, no additional administrative staff have been added, and the ability to integrate with other AWS services became simple.
My business and those of my clients can invest the money we would have spent on higher technology costs on opportunities to expand our businesses and grow our revenue.  It means we do not have to lose sleep at night worrying that a server or piece of network gear might be on its last legs and ready to fail at any moment.  It means that if I want to make use of a new service AWS offers or a service new to my business, implementing it is not going to require jumping through multiple flaming hoops while keeping plates spinning.
AWS is one of the best cures for heartburn over technology worries I have found for my business and one I wholeheartedly recommend to my clients.

Still not convinced?

Here is something to think about.
There are huge companies running on AWS.  Companies like Netflix that have extreme pressure on their ability to deliver on demand entertainment the world over without interruption or down time.  Netflix runs on AWS.
Companies like GE, McDonalds, Harvard Medical School, Kellogg’s, NASA, and Yelp all rely on AWS to deliver infrastructure and computing services.  A pretty impressive alumnus to say the least.
This does not even scratch the surface.  There are tens of thousands of smaller companies depending on AWS for services; everything from virtual desktop computers, to offsite backup, to website hosting, and more.  All of which are available on demand.  No waiting on hardware to be delivered and installed.  Simply select the service you want and fire it right up.
Better yet, the initial investment barrier is removed.  AWS services are “Pay as you go”.  You do not have to invest in a data center, networking, servers, and workstations.  All that is complete and priced into the services that you use.
AWS is light switch technology.  No worrying about all the miles of wiring or the power plants that make delivering electricity possible.  Simply turn it on and it works.

But SOME knowledge is required!

You cannot just dive headfirst into the deep end of AWS and expect not to drown.  You must know the basic strokes that let you swim safely.  That starts with this book.
You must reach a level of understanding and comfort with AWS before you can be confident that what you build for your company will do what you need it to do in an efficient and secure way.
In this book I have one goal in mind.  Helping you get proficient with AWS basics so you have the skills needed to launch your own infrastructure and systems with AWS.
These are not going to be overly lengthy chapters, but they will be filled to the brim with crucial information and exercises.  Do yourself a favor and book time with yourself on your calendar now to go through them and complete the exercises.  Each one will take about 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete.
You will get the most out of them if you complete them in one sitting.
Get ready!  Chapter One is coming up.  You are going to learn what you need to know to setup your Amazon Web Services account and establish the security you need to protect your systems from hordes of marauding invaders.

Chapter 01: Account Setup

In this chapter we are going to study the steps necessary to establish an account with AWS and make sure it is properly secured against misuse.
These are the first two steps to getting you up and running on AWS.  Do them right and you will have a smooth takeoff.
Do not worry, they are not overly complicated.
The AWS services we will be covering in this chapter include:

At the end of the chapter you will be able to:

 

Step One: Setup an AWS Account

Good news!  You probably already have an AWS account.
“What?!  How is that?” you ask.  If you have ever created an account with Amazon to order something that account can utilize AWS.
Simply head over to http://aws.amazon.com and try logging in with your account.
If you want to start from scratch simply click the “Create New AWS Account” button to start the wizard
You will need to supply your email, a password, and a name for your AWS account.
Once that has been entered you are one step away from being able to actively use AWS services.  You will need to supply a billing method before Amazon will start letting you use services.
Amazon bills monthly so you will accumulate charges through the end of the month and then Amazon will automatically charge your selected billing method.
To access your billing options, select Services and then select Billing from the list of services.  This will bring up the billing console.  Click the Payment Methods link and enter a credit card to use as your default payment method.
Viola!  You are all set to start using AWS.

Ways to Access Services in AWS

There are two ways to access services available in your AWS account.  You can either use Access Keys which allow programmatic access to your account or User Credentials with a login and password.
Access keys are very powerful.  If you decide they are needed be very careful to protect them.  If they are discovered by someone with malicious intentions, they can be used to very quickly create services and run up extremely high bills on your account.  For this course we will not be covering Access keys.
Instead, we will use Identities with logins and passwords.  These are familiar to use and can be restricted through groups and security policies so that even if they are exposed the amount of damage that can be done is limited.

 

Creating an Identity with IAM

Using root credentials to log into AWS is a dangerous proposition.  You could accidentally take an action that has permanent effects or broader action than you had intended.  Or, worse, you could expose those credentials to someone with less than scrupulous character that can use them to get up to all kinds of mischief with your account.
This exercise will walk you through creating an administrative account that does not expose the keys to the kingdom.

What you have accomplished

At this point you are on the road to success with AWS.
You have created an account that you will use throughout this course to master the skills that will be presented.  You have secured your root access account by adding a new user identity and you have made that identity a member of an administrators’ group to grant it the privileges it needs to access AWS services.
At this point you are growing more familiar with the AWS interface and starting to navigate it more proficiently.  You have acquired a skill for administering security at the account level in AWS.
You are ready to take on the next AWS challenge heading your way.

Up Next

In the next chapter, we will continue your AWS education with an introduction to EC2, Amazon’s service for providing virtual servers.
We will use an out of the box solution to launch and configure a fully functional web server and starter website that we will use throughout the rest of the course to build on your knowledge of AWS.

End of Sample

You’ve reached the end of the sample content.  If you enjoyed it and found it useful, there is more to be covered in the full-length book.  In it I cover Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Simple Storage System (S3), Relational Database System (RDS) and Elastic File System (EFS).
Each of these technologies builds on the previous ones to help you gain a complete understanding of the essentials of AWS.  By the end of the book you’ve worked through a full example of building a scalable web farm for your organization or business using Amazon Web Service technology.
You can purchase the full book and continue your AWS education.  Simply use the button  below to purchase and you will receive your digital copy of AWS Essentials.

Click here to Purchase the Full Book Now!
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