AWS: The complete guide to Amazon's cloud

Amazon launched its cloud in 2006 and since then it has come to dominate the industry. ZDNet crunches the numbers, unearths hidden history, and presents a complete guide to Amazon Web Services, past and present

Amazon launched its cloud in 2006 and since then it has come to dominate the industry.

ZDNet's complete guide to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and its runaway cloud looks at how the company has built up a huge lead in its sector, counting start-ups and major enterprises among its customers.  

Amazon's APIs are a de facto standard, almost any popular start-up you care to name has used its services, and enterprises are piling into its low-cost infrastructure-as-a-service technology for anything from basic storage to advanced data analytics. With its scale, it is gaining a lead over its competitors that may be hard for them to surmount.

Amazon Web Services: The rise of the utility cloud investigates the scale of AWS. Just how big is its cloud, and what kind of hold does it have over the modern developer-led web?


How did Amazon come to dominate the cloud sector with AWS? Image credit: Shutterstock

It also looks at how much money Amazon makes from AWS, and how it applies its retail skills, tried and tested on, to the cloud arena.

For a better view of the numbers, The rise of AWS: In pictures illustrates the service's growth since 2006. At the same time, Amazon has consistently added new facets to AWS as it broadens the technology away from the commodified storage and compute options, and into more complex areas such as the SSD-backed DynamoDB NoSQL database.

How Amazon exposed its guts: The History of AWS's EC2 charts the inside story of the cornerstone of AWS, the EC2 cloud. We speak to Chris Pinkham, the engineer in charge of Amazon's global infrastructure in the early 2000s, who came up with the idea, and find out how Amazon's aggressive approach to rolling out services put it ahead of the game.

Our guide wraps up with AWS: Can anyone catch Amazon's cloud? Amazon's scale and willingness to settle for lower profit margins has put it ahead of its rivals. The only credible competition seems to be from other major IT companies with deep pockets, such as Google, Microsoft and HP. But can any of these tech giants truly compete?

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