This season (season 4) will cover the groups of services Amazon provides in their AWS offerings.  Each episode will focus on a particular group and review the included services from a high level.  We have created posts over the last year to go a little deeper into each service.  However, this season will give you some great ideas on where to start and what they currently offer.

The Virtual Machine

We start our season with a focus on the “compute” family of services.  These cover a few different ways to handle your cloud-based applications.  The first we look at is the traditional virtual machine.  This service starts with the elastic compute cloud (EC2).  We use this service as part of our Launch Your Internet Business class and embrace the free tier to keep your startup costs down.  The pricing around EC2 can be a little confusing, so Amazon has added LightSail as a more natural way to manage your VM.


The power of a cloud solution and a VM is the ability to be flexible in how many resources it uses.  Amazon has provided Elastic Beanstalk to automate the grow and shrink needs of a VM.  It is not a trivial service to understand.  However, it is very powerful and well worth the time spent mastering that service.  You may find this too much for your needs if you stick a single server and a small number of users.  On the other hand, it is nice to know your site can handle a flood of interest.


Developers have progressed from VMs to containers as the latest hot platform.  Amazon is right there with us and added compute services to run containers on top of EC2 instances.  They have Fargate as an over-arching management service that will help you spin up a container instance without worrying about the underlying VM details.  This is all we want from a container including a lack of need for a system specialist that crafts the adequately sized VM.

The “compute” services are the core of so many of the AWS offerings that this is a perfect place to get started.  Go ahead and take advantage of the free tier to spin up your VM and play around with it for the next year (until the free period expires).  This is as effective a “try before you buy” deal as I have found.

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

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