Glossary of AWS terms

T2: T2 instances are Burstable Performance Instances that provide a baseline level of CPU performance with the ability to burst above the baseline. The baseline performance and ability to burst are governed by CPU Credits. Each T2 instance receives CPU Credits continuously at a set rate depending on the instance size. T2 instances accrue CPU Credits when they are idle, and use CPU credits when they are active. T2 instances are a good choice for workloads that don’t use the full CPU often or consistently, but occasionally need to burst (e.g. web servers, developer environments and small databases).

Burstable Performance Instances: Provide a baseline level of CPU performance with the ability to burst above the baseline.

M4: M4 family is the latest generation of General Purpose Instances. This family provides a balance of compute, memory, and network resources.

M3: This family includes the M3 instance types and provides a balance of compute, memory, and network resources.

C4: C4 instances are the latest generation of Compute-Optimized instances, featuring the highest performing processors and the lowest price/compute performance in EC2.

C3: Compute-Optimized instances used for high performance front-end fleets, web-servers, batch processing, distributed analytics, high performance science and engineering applications, ad serving, MMO gaming, and video-encoding.

R3: R3 instances are optimized for memory-intensive applications and have the lowest cost per GiB of RAM among Amazon EC2 instance types. These memory-optimized instances are recommended for high performance databases, distributed memory caches, in-memory analytics, genome assembly and analysis, larger deployments of SAP, Microsoft SharePoint, and other enterprise applications.

G2: This family includes G2 instances intended for graphics and general purpose GPU compute applications.

I2: This family includes the High Storage Instances that provide very fast SSD-backed instance storage optimized for very high random I/O performance, and provide high IOPS at a low cost.

D2: D2 instances feature up to 48 TB of HDD-based local storage, deliver high disk throughput, and offer the lowest price per disk throughput performance on Amazon EC2.

X1: X1 instances family feature up to 2 TB of memory, a full order of magnitude larger than the current generation of high-memory instances. These instances are designed for demanding enterprise workloads including production installations of SAP HANA, Microsoft SQL Server, Apache Spark, and Presto. Recently, x1.32xlarge was announced that has 128 vCPUs and 2 TBs of RAM.

Regions: Amazon EC2 is hosted in multiple locations world-wide. These locations are composed of regions and Availability Zones. Each Region is a separate geographic area. Each region has multiple, isolated locations known as Availability Zones. Amazon EC2 provides you the ability to place resources, such as instances, and data in multiple locations. Resources aren't replicated across regions unless you do so specifically.

Availability Zone: Availability zone is an isolated location designated by Amazon to host clients’ EC2 usage. Amazon EC2 is hosted in multiple regions across the world and Availability Zones are a geographic subset under each region. Amazon encourages clients to host their instances in two or more Availability Zones to ensure high availability.

Elastic Block Storage: Amazon EBS provides the following volume types, which differ in performance characteristics and price, so that you can tailor your storage performance and cost to the needs of your applications.

  • General Purpose SSD: General purpose SSD volume balances price and performance for a wide variety of transactional workloads.
    • Recommended for most workloads
    • System boot volumes
    • Virtual desktops
    • Low-latency interactive apps
    • Development and test environments
  • Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1): Highest-performance SSD volume designed for mission-critical applications.
    • Critical business applications that require sustained IOPS performance, or more than 10,000 IOPS or 160 MiB/s of throughput per volume
    • Large database workloads, such as:
        • MongoDB
        • Cassandra
        • Microsoft SQL Server
        • MySQL
        • PostgreSQL
        • Oracle
  • Throughput Optimized HDD (st1): Low cost HDD volume designed for frequently accessed, throughput-intensive workloads
    • Streaming workloads requiring consistent, fast throughput at a low price
    • Big data
    • Data warehouses
    • Log processing
    • Cannot be a boot volume
  • Cold HDD (sc1): Lowest cost HDD volume designed for less frequently accessed workloads
    • Throughput-oriented storage for large volumes of data that is infrequently accessed
    • Scenarios where the lowest storage cost is important
    • Cannot be a boot volume
  • EBS Magnetic (Previous Generation): EBS Magnetic volumes hard disk drives (HDDs) and can be used for workloads with smaller datasets where data is accessed infrequently or when performance consistency isn't of primary importance. EBS Magnetic volumes provide approximately 100 IOPS on average, with an ability to burst to hundreds of IOPS, and support volumes from 1GB to 1TB in size.

Object Storage: Simple Storage Service (S3): A storage web service that provide storage through web services interfaces such as REST, SOAP and BitTorrent. Amazon intends to allow users to reduce storage cost by maximizing the benefits of economies of scale.

Relational Database Service (RDS): A web service that allows users to set up, operate and scale a relational database in the cloud. Using this feature, users can resize their capacity and manage database administration tasks which can save them time and cost.

Amazon Aurora: A relational database engine that combines the speed and reliability of high-end commercial databases with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of open source databases. Deliver up to 5x the throughput of standard MySQL running on the same hardware.

Glacier: A secure, durable, and extremely low-cost cloud storage service for data archiving and long-term backup. Amazon Glacier is optimized for infrequently accessed data where a retrieval time of several hours is suitable.

Dynamo DB: A NoSQL database service offered by Amazon that allows guaranteed throughput and low latency, making it suitable for users interested in gaming, ad tech, mobile and other applications.

Elastic MapReduce (EMR): Allows any AWS user to process large amounts of data using a fully managed Hadoop framework. This feature runs on the EC2 and S3 infrastructure. Can run popular frameworks such as Apache Spark, Apache Tez, and Presto.

Kinesis: A platform for streaming data on AWS, offering powerful services to make it easy to load and analyze streaming data, and also providing the ability to build custom streaming data applications for specialized needs.

Redshift: A database service that provides petabyte-scale data warehousing with column-based storage and multi-node compute. Users can use this service to more efficiently analyze their data using existing business intelligence tools.

Amazon Machine Learning: A managed service for building machine learning (ML) models and generating predictions, enabling the development of robust, scalable smart applications. Amazon Machine Learning enables you to use powerful machine learning technology without requiring an extensive background in machine learning algorithms and techniques.

Amazon Elasticsearch Service: An open-source search and analytics engine for use cases such as log analytics, real-time application monitoring, and click-stream analytics.

Virtual Private Cloud (VPC): A feature offered by AWS that allows users to provision a logically isolated section of the Cloud where they can launch AWS resources in a user-defined virtual network. This feature allows users to have complete control over their virtual networking environment including selection of IP address ranges, subnet creation, and configuration of route tables and network gateways.

Public IP: A public IP address is reachable from the Internet. You can use public IP addresses for communication between your instances and the Internet. Amazon provides instances with IP addresses and DNS hostnames. These can vary depending on whether the instance was launched in the EC2-Classic platform or in a virtual private cloud (VPC).

Hybrid Cloud: Hybrid cloud computing refers to policy-based and coordinated service provisioning, use and management across a mixture of internal and external cloud services. AWS offers integrated networking, security and access controls, data integration and life-cycle management, and resource and deployment management capabilities to enable hybrid architectures.

DNS: The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical decentralized naming system for computers, services, or any resource connected to the Internet or a private network. AWS provides a service called Route 53 -  A scalable DNS that helps businesses and developers to effectively route their end users in Internet applications by translating website addresses to the IP addresses.

Network ACLs: A network access control list (ACL) is an optional layer of security for your VPC that acts as a firewall for controlling traffic in and out of one or more subnets.

Amazon S3 Access Control Lists (ACLs): These enable you to manage access to buckets and objects. Each bucket and object has an ACL attached to it as a subresource. It defines which AWS accounts or groups are granted access and the type of access. When a request is received against a resource, Amazon S3 checks the corresponding ACL to verify the requester has the necessary access permissions.

AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF): A web application firewall that helps protect web applications from common web exploits that could affect application availability, compromise security, or consume excessive resources.

EC2 Pricing Models:

  • On Demand: On-Demand instances allows for payment of compute capacity by the hour with no long-term commitments or upfront payments. Clients can increase or decrease compute capacity depending on the demands of the application and only pay the specified hourly rate for the instances they use.
  • Reserved Instance: A purchase option which allows users to minimize cost by purchasing instances in bulk ahead of time. Users can buy these instances on a monthly basis ranging from 1 month to 36 months. Users can also choose the amount of money they put upfront.
    • No upfront 1 year: Receive discounting by reserving an instance without any upfront commitments
    • Partial Upfront: Receive increased discounting by making a partial upfront payment on EC2 fees. There are 2 available terms - 1 year and 3 year.
    • All Upfront: Receive the maximum available discount by making an all upfront payment on EC2 fees. There are 2 available terms - 1 year and 3 year.
  • Spot Instance: Spot instances provide the ability for customers to purchase compute capacity with no upfront commitment and at hourly rates usually lower than the On-Demand rate. Spot instances allow clients to specify the maximum hourly price that they are willing to pay to run a particular instance type. Amazon EC2 sets a Spot Price for each instance type in each Availability Zone, which is the price all customers will pay to run a Spot instance for that given period. The Spot Price fluctuates based on supply and demand for instances, but customers will never pay more than the maximum price they have specified. If the Spot Price moves higher than a customer’s maximum price, the customer’s instance will be shut down by Amazon EC2. Other than those differences, Spot instances perform exactly the same as On-Demand or Reserved Instances.
  • Dedicated Hosts: A Dedicated Host is a physical EC2 server with instance capacity fully dedicated for clients’ use. Dedicated Hosts can help reduce costs by allowing clients to use their existing server-bound software licenses, including Windows Server, SQL Server, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (subject to license terms), and can also help meet compliance requirements. Dedicated Hosts can be purchased On-Demand (hourly). Reservations can provide up to a 70% discount compared to the On-Demand price.