By Kelly Dent
Take even a cursory glance at AWS’s vast catalog of products, and you’ll see a staggering range of flexible, cost-effective services and tools.
Any one of these products can help businesses start operating in the cloud quickly and easily—but how many of these products do AWS professionals use at any given time? Which products are the most popular, and what do the real experts have to say about it all?
Thanks to our very first independent salary survey, we’re about to find out. Here’s a closer look at the 43 most popular AWS products as voted for by our respondents—we’ll be discussing the top 20 in detail.
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Amazon EC2 provides users with cloud infrastructure and on-demand compute resources which are scalable and flexible. On 21 November 2018, mere days before this year’s re:Invent conference, AWS announced the release of a powerful new feature for Amazon EC2: predictive scaling. This eagerly-awaited feature can be added to a user’s existing scaling configurations using a checkbox, and uses custom parameters to predict the length of an SQS queue.
Once a virtual machine is selected, users can choose the operating system (OS) required to deploy an Amazon Machine Image (AMI). Customers can then select a pre-configured AMI, install their own operating system, or purchase a new one via AWS Marketplace. EC2 makes it possible for users to develop and deploy apps in the AWS cloud, scaling up or down as necessary within the virtual environment.
|Top 3 Certifications held by professionals using Amazon EC2
● AWS Certified Cloud Solutions Architect (Associate) [50%]
● AWS Certified Developer (Associate) [26.24%]
● AWS Certified SysOps Administrator (Associate) [22.28%]
According to the Jefferson Frank Salary Survey, the overwhelming majority of comments surrounding EC2 were positive, praising the product for its high levels of scalability, speedy spin up times, and cost-saving capabilities. When it came to pricing, however, some respondents remarked that while spot instances allow for considerable savings, the complexity of EC2’s pricing models can be a challenge when it comes to managing costs:
“Main benefits are load balancing and autoscaling features.” AWS Professional, USA (Financial Services)
“Instance size upgrade requires shutdown.” Amazon Employee, USA
“Infrastructure as a service is not much better than someone else running my data center.” AWS Professional, USA
“Easy and fast, can be expensive for certain types of workload.” AWS Professional, Sweden (Consultancy)
“Main benefit is elasticity and the ease of provisioning, the main drawback is the lack of flexibility in their cross region/zone networking.” AWS Professional, USA (Consultancy)
“It’s not as granular as ECD/EKS.” AWS Professional, USA
Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling helps users preserve availability across their apps and can automatically add or remove instances based on the customer’s specific needs. By utilizing this product’s fleet management features, users can maintain the overall health and availability of their system more effectively. The dynamic and predictive scaling capabilities offered by EC2 Auto Scaling makes adding or removing instances more straightforward, and more responsive to any changes in demand.
One of the main benefits offered by EC2 Auto Scaling is its ability to improve fault tolerance and ensure high levels of availability, a sentiment echoed by respondents in our survey.
“Never have to worry about manually scripting of health checks.” AWS Professional, USA (Education)
“We can scale up/down the number of instances based on need very quickly.” AWS Professional, USA
“No downtime, high availability.” AWS Professional, USA
Amazon EBS offers customers high availability and data encryption across block-level storage volumes for each instance launched in the cloud. This product provides users with various EBS volume options across a range of workloads and use cases; users can choose to have their volumes supported by a solid state drive (SD) or hard disk drive (HDD), depending on their requirements.
The majority of respondents using Amazon EBS noted the product’s ease of configuration and deployment, storage flexibility, and straightforward storage management.
“Benefit: Scalable disks; Drawback: Cannot reduce the size.” AWS Professional, China
“On-demand storage, but can be limiting in configuration.” AWS Professional, USA
“Solid storage to couple with EC2, sometimes slow to deploy.” AWS Professional, USA (Independent Software Vendor)
Amazon Simple Storage Service, also known as Amazon S3, provides web-based storage services intended for online backup and data archiving. This product offers users low-cost storage for backup and archiving as well as disaster recovery, boasting enviable durability and high availability levels.
|49% of respondents currently using Amazon S3 reported that their employer had moved to AWS cloud from an on-premise environment, while 10% had migrated to AWS from another cloud provider.|
Asked about the pros and cons of working with Amazon S3, respondents cited the product’s reliability, availability, and cost-effectiveness among its advantages. The main disadvantages mentioned include the limited file system support and the complexity that comes with viewing a bucket containing thousands of objects.
“Super cheap, easy to use for basic storage uses, cumbersome interface.” AWS Professional, USA
“Inexpensive data storage…Files must be managed or they can get out of hand.” AWS Professional, USA
“Main benefits are ease of use and price, drawback is the eventual consistency model.” AWS Professional, USA (Consultancy)
“Great storage solution with powerful access and retention management. Cross-account access is a nightmare though.” AWS Professional, Sweden (Media and Publishing)
Amazon CloudWatch checks for a range of pre-configured triggers such as messages in line, EC2 at over 80% utilization, and network offline. Once identified, CloudWatch initiates a specific workflow, like running procedures to handle messages, launching another instance, or sending out alerts, to deal with the situation automatically.
Users praised the product for enabling simple, hands-off management of security procedures.
“Can be used to aggregate metrics, create resource alarms, create actions based off of events and string matches etc. No drawbacks.” AWS Professional, USA
“Enables full automation of monitoring and implementation of security best practices.” AWS Professional, USA (Hospitality)
Amazon RDS is a managed relational database web service which gives users the tools to set up, operate, and scale a database. The service helps users manage general database administration tasks, and is frequently applauded as a cost-effective, resizable, industry-standard service.
“Easier to manage than MySQL on EC2; regular backups; can be expensive relative to EC2.” AWS Professional, UK
“Can be expensive, but amazingly easy to setup, configure and run.” AWS Professional, USA
“RDS offers vast amount of types and engines! Setup is quick and easy. I don’t see any drawbacks.” AWS Professional, USA
AWS Lambda is a serverless compute tool that runs backend code when prompted by specific events, managing any underlying resources for the user as necessary. It operates on a pay-per-run basis, and no EC2 servers are required.
“Easy to develop and execute code with your background servers.” AWS Professional, USA
“Excellent in almost any way, except in cases when you need always-on/low latency.” AWS Professional, Germany
“Very convenient and fast service, many languages to choose from, extremely reliable. However, not having a very powerful way for debugging makes it a bit hard. Cloud9 is not totally stable for enterprise usage.” AWS Professional, Canada
“Cheap, no need to worry about underlying infrastructure.” AWS Professional, UK
Amazon SNS is a service used to send email, SMS, SQS or HTML endpoint messages . Users must characterize the publisher and subscriber, and the product can also operate as an email server.
Amazon SNS’s main strength lies in its ease of use, as reported by respondents in the survey.
“Easy to use.” AWS Professional, AWS Professional, Norway
“Simple to use, highly scalable.” AWS Professional, USA
AWS CloudFormation is a product which assists users in modelling and setting up their AWS resources so that less time is spent on resource management, and more time can be allocated to applications.
“Easy way to manage infrastructure.” AWS Professional, USA
“Benefit is automation and repeatability, drawback is lack of support for newly launched AWS services.” AWS Professional, Australia
“Great for automation of AWS resources but limited to only AWS components.” AWS Professional, USA
“It’s extremely fast and useful for multi-account setup. As a drawback, not all parameters can be set automatically and it’s not multi-cloud.” AWS Professional, Canada
ELB is a load-balancing service for AWS deployments. This tool automatically distributes any incoming app traffic and scales available resources in response to traffic demands.
“Pro: internal/external LB within a region; Con: complexities with multi-region ELB.” AWS Professional, USA
“Lack of external monitoring.” AWS Professional, USA
“Application LB is one of the greatest features. Path routing is amazing.” AWS Professional, India
Amazon DynamoDB is a fast, managed NoSQL database product stores and retrieves data in a straightforward and cost-effective way, regardless of the amount of data required.
“Fast, fast, fast. Not great when complex data models are necessary.” AWS Professional, USA
“Benefits – Cost-effective and quick to build and use. Drawbacks – Possible Hot Sharding and run away autoscaling.” AWS Professional, USA
“Managed, scalable, fast and ease of integration with other services.” AWS Professional, USA
Amazon SQS is a fully-managed message queuing product which cuts out the costs and complexity that typically comes with managing this kind of service. It allows users to decouple and scale serverless apps, microservices, and distributed systems.
According to our respondents, the main advantage of using Amazon SQS is that it is a cheap queue solution, however high latency levels were reported when asked about pain points associated with this product.
Amazon EFS offers customers straightforward, scalable, elastic file storage for use across AWS services and a host of on-premise resources. It is often praised as an easy-to-use service, and utilizes a streamlined interface that allows users to create and configure their systems quickly, with minimal hassle.
According to our respondents, Amazon EFS’s main strength lies in its pricing and ease of deployment. The only drawback cited were burst credits.
Amazon SES is a highly flexible, cost-effective, and scalable email send/receive platform aimed primarily at companies and developers. This product is specifically designed to assist digital marketers and app developers in sending out any marketing, notification, and transactional communications via email.
AWS Auto Scaling automatically monitors and fine-tunes compute resources to facilitate sustained performance across apps operating in the AWS cloud.
“Helps scale up or down EC2 instances based on demand.” AWS Professional, USA
“Easy to autoscale instances.” AWS Professional, Germany
This application program interface (API) provides call-recording and log-monitoring services in the AWS cloud. AWS CloudTrail enables users to record API calls, automatically sending logs to that customer’s Amazon S3 storage buckets.
“Benefit is security visibility of API calls generally, drawback is not all services are verbose and often there’s a 15 minute lag on information.” AWS Professional, Australia
“Not all services use it. Don’t have standard reporting/SIEM capability. You have to build it.” AWS Professional, USA
Amazon Glacier is a super low-cost storage solution offering solid security features for backup and data archiving; customers can use this product to store data cheaply for months, years, or decades. With Glacier, users are able to offload time-consuming administrative tasks, minimizing concerns about capacity planning, hardware requirements, data replication, failure detection, or data recovery.
AWS CLI is a straightforward product used to manage a customer’s AWS services. Through this tool, users can download, configure, and control multiple services, as well as automate them via the appropriate scripts.
“Flexible and vast, ease of use in filtering/querying.” AWS Professional, USA
“Simple interface for manual and automated use.” AWS Professional, USA
“Powerful, but has a steep learning curve if you don’t have much CLI experience.” AWS Professional, UK
AWS IAM lets customers manager access to and control of any assets operating in the AWS cloud through multi-factor authentication, and the configuration of group policies.
“Complex but powerful.” AWS Professional, USA
“It allows you to lock things down really easily.” AWS Professional, USA
Amazon ECS is a highly scalable container management service. The product supports Docker containers and allows users to run and scale containerized apps quickly and easily.
“Simplicity and security in operation.” AWS Professional, Brazil
“Easy to deploy a containerized application.” AWS Professional, UK
“Great environment to deploy K8 nodes.” AWS Professional, USA
21. AWS Management Console (37%): The AWS Management Console is a web app which provides a built-in user interface to carry out crucial tasks, such as like managing S3 buckets, and launching and using instances.
22. Amazon API Gateway (35%): Amazon API Gateway allows developers to create, maintain, audit, and secure APIs of any size. Customers can also build gateways that access AWS or other cloud services.
23. Amazon Redshift (33%): This fully-managed data warehouse gives its users the opportunity to begin with only a few hundred gigabytes of data, with the flexibility to scale to a petabyte and beyond. This allows users to access fresh business insights, no matter how much or how little data they’re using.
24. Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR) (32%): Amazon ECR is a completely managed Docker container registry, and makes it straightforward for developers when it comes to storing, managing, and deploying container images.
25. Amazon ElastiCache (32%): This product provides its users with fully managed Redis and Memcached resources, through which customers can easily launch, run, and scale some of the most widely-used open source data stores.
26. AWS Config (32%): AWS Config allows users to assess the configurations of their various AWS resources. It constantly monitors and records resource settings, and provides customers with the option to automate its auditing processes.
27. AWS Cost Explorer (32%): AWS Cost Explorer gives customers a direct way to view, digest, and manage AWS costs and usage levels across any set period of time. Users can easily run reports that provide quick insight into what they’re spending and what they’re using.
28. AWS Elastic Beanstalk (32%): With Elastic Beanstalk, users can deploy and manage applications effortlessly, without concerning themselves with the underlying infrastructure running those apps. It essentially makes management easier without taking away from the range of choice or level of control users enjoy.
29. AWS Certificate Manager (30%): This product enables users to handle the creation and management of complex public SSL/TLS certificates for any websites or apps running on AWS.
30. AWS CodeDeploy (30%): AWS CodeDeploy automates code deployment to EC2, as well as any on-premises servers. Overall, CodeDeploy speeds up the rate at which developers are able to release code or additional features for a specific app, with fewer errors.
31. Amazon Aurora (29%): This relational database offering is MySQL and PostgreSQL-compatible, and amalgamates the performance and availability of traditional databases with the simple, cost-efficient nature of their open source counterparts.
32. AWS CodePipeline (89%): AWS CodePipeline makes it possible for users to automate software deployment. Developers can easily model, visualize and deploy code as and when it’s required.
33. AWS CodeCommit (27%): AWS CodeCommit stores source code and takes care of version control for AWS public cloud users. It allows IT teams to collaborate on projects more effectively through continuous integration and app delivery.
34. Amazon Kinesis (27%): Amazon Kinesis helps process big data in real time, and is capable of handling hundreds of terabytes per hour.
35. AWS Cost and Usage Report (25%): This product generates aggregated reports over the course of a month, breaking down usage and costs for its users.
36. Amazon EMR (25%): This managed cluster platform facilitates more efficient running of big data frameworks on AWS, enabling users to process and analyze massive amounts of data.
37. AWS Key Management Service (KMS) (24%): Amazon KMS is used by administrators to create and manage the keys which encrypt data across their AWS-based products.
38. AWS Trusted Advisor (23%): AWS Trusted Advisor gives cloud administrators the tools they need to provision AWS resources in line with best practices, compiled according to the cumulative, historical experiences of AWS customers.
39. Amazon Elasticsearch Service (ES) (22%): Amazon ES provides users with a managed service that makes clusters in the AWS cloud easier to deploy, run, and scale.
40. AWS Marketplace (21%): AWS Marketplace is an online shop where AWS customers can find, buy, and migrate the software and services needed to craft products and start running their business.
41. Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS) (21%): Amazon EKS is a managed product which allows users to run Kubernetes on AWS cloud.
42. AWS CodeBuild (21%): This continuous integration service is a fully managed offering that compiles source code, carries out tests, and creates ready-to-deploy software packages. Using CodeBuild, customers no longer need to provision, manage, or scale their own on-premise servers.
43. AWS Storage Gateway (20%): This hybrid storage service allows users to smoothly integrate on-premises applications with AWS cloud storage.
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