Introduction to AWS and SysOps

Learn about cloud computing and why we need it. Discover the importance of AWS and AWS certifications.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing means the on-demand delivery of computing services and IT resources (like servers, storage disks, tapes, networking, and analytics) over the internet. The concept of cloud computing is relatively new to the IT world. However, it has gained immense popularity in recent years, and it won’t be an exaggeration to say that cloud computing is here to stay. It’s no longer just for tech giants and Fortune 500 companies. The on-demand capabilities of the cloud bring a whole new world of opportunities for start-ups and small enterprises.

Why do we need cloud computing?

Let’s go back to a world without cloud providers. We’ve programmed a production-ready application. How will we deploy this application?

We’ll have to buy servers, storage, network, and security devices for the application and then configure these devices manually. This was the traditional way of deploying websites and applications 10 to 20 years ago. By the time the application is set up, we’ve invested thousands of dollars and a lot of time into configuring the hardware for our application.

This is the problem statement that cloud providers solve. We can have a virtual server on the cloud provider with a few clicks and tweaks. With a few clicks more, we can have a database for the application. Cloud providers today offer highly advanced features aimed at solving traditional application deployment issues. As of now, the cloud providers like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have data centers worldwide and provide hundreds of services for their users.

What is AWS?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud provider. At the time of writing, AWS provides over 200 cloud services and operates in 84 data centers called Availability Zones (AZ) spread across 26 geographical locations (called regions) across the globe.

AWS was first released in 2006, and its first service was Simple Queue Service (SQS), followed by AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Initially, AWS was only targeted as a hosting platform, but over the years, it has grown exponentially and is now the world’s leading cloud provider.

It’s trusted by the most popular brands and companies across the world. Here are some of the brands that use AWS as their cloud provider.

AWS certifications

An enormous customer base creates a need for professionals like AWS developers, architects, Systems Operator (SysOps) Administrators, and other experts. For this reason, AWS has come up with examinations and certifications based on the AWS Cloud platform.

AWS certifications are an excellent way to prove your skills for the next job or improve your current role. The exam preparation will help improve your understanding of the AWS platform and your ability to design and maintain complex architectures.

Here’s a list of all AWS certifications:

  • Foundational: No prior experience required.
    • AWS Cloud Practitioner
  • Associate: Prior cloud and strong on-site IT experience recommended.
    • AWS Solutions Architect Associate
    • AWS Data Engineer Associate
    • AWS Developer Associate
    • AWS SysOps Administrator Associate
  • Professional: Two years of prior AWS Cloud experience is recommended.
    • AWS Solutions Architect Professional
    • AWS DevOps Engineer Professional
  • Specialty: More than two years of prior AWS Cloud experience is recommended.
    • AWS Advanced Networking - Specialty
    • AWS Data Analytics - Specialty
    • AWS Security - Specialty
    • AWS Machine Learning -Specialty
    • Systems Applications and Products (SAP) on AWS - Specialty
    • AWS Database - Specialty

At the time of writing, AWS has 13 certifications in total. This course will help you study for the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate exam.

What is a SysOps Administrator?

A SysOps Administrator is a trained AWS Administrator who operates on and maintains infrastructure and handles security and permissions for an AWS account. Primarily, a SysOps Administrator has two prominent roles:

  • Configure and provision new AWS services.
  • Monitor and maintain these services.

As simple as it sounds, the role of a SysOps Administrator is critical and essential to an organization. A SysOps Administrator should:

  • Understand the metrics and logs of services, especially AWS CloudWatch.
  • Know common AWS errors and their resolutions.
  • Understand all the AWS monitoring services and know how to automate foolproof restoration and recovery mechanisms to maintain application availability and integrity.
  • Follow the best practices when developing cloud solutions.
  • Create and maintain backups of data in multiple services.
  • Implement the best security and monitoring for the cloud resources to avoid any security breaches.
  • Understand infrastructure as code (IaC) and standard errors using AWS CloudFormation.
  • Efficiently implement cost management strategies and monitor the billing dashboard closely.
  • Set up rules and alarms to prevent unwanted scenarios.
  • Set up networks, logs, gateways, networking and cryptography libraries (NACLs), and route tables in a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).