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AWS for SMBs: A Roadmap for Success

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a powerful, comprehensive cloud computing tool that helps businesses scale and grow. Like any powerful tool, AWS is complex and requires proper monitoring and management to maximize return on investment, performance and data security.

To ensure success with AWS, many small and medium enterprises choose to work with subject matter experts like Belston Technologies.

Small and medium companies do not always have the tools and/or experience to derive full value from AWS. Learning AWS is complex and, to optimize its performance, your team must be able to properly identify and configure your instance(s). Once your environment is up and running, proper management and monitoring offers critical benefits including:

  • Properly sized instances eliminate unnecessary and wasted resources.
  • Ongoing security and reliability monitoring, patching and Anti-Virus to maintain availability and protect your AWS environment.

As all small and medium enterprises know, hiring, training and retaining expert technology staff is expensive, especially for new technologies like AWS.

What follows is an AWS Cheat Sheet from Belston Technologies that provides an overview of how to use AWS. If you do not want to go it alone, you can engage our team for support.

 

Getting Started with AWS

 

Selecting the Right AWS Instance(s)

Choosing the right AWS instance(s) to meet your business needs is critical and requires careful consideration. Before selecting the right solution for performance testing, you must:

  • Assess your application requirements.
  • Understand the use cases for each type of instance within AWS.

Amazon EC2 offers several options across nine different instance types – each with one or more size options, organized into several distinct instance families optimized for different types of applications.

These tiers include the Free Tier, General Purpose, T2, M Class, C Class, R Class GPU, I2 and D2 instances.

When you configure the instance you must select the type operating system(s) and if you want 32-bit or 64-bit architecture.

AWS Administration

Amazon provides the administration and security of the Base OS and Hypervisor layers but your OS instance is your responsibility. Patching and keeping AV current is key to reducing security risks and optimizing your instance(s).


Configuring Your AWS Environment

When setting up your instance(s) you must pick the region(s) in which you want your instance(s) to reside.

Amazon EC2 is hosted across numerous geographic regions composed of isolated locations called Availability Zones. Amazon EC2 allows you to place resources like instances and data in multiple locations.**

Points to consider:

  • Resources do not replicate across regions automatically.
  • It is best to choose regions that position instances close to customers or meet your legal or business requirements.

 

**Launching instances in separate Availability Zones protects your applications from a single-location failure. (Though unlikely, a failure can occur that affects the availability of instances in the same location. If all your instances are hosted in the affected location, none would be available.)

 

When properly configured, Auto Scaling enables you to follow the demand curve for your applications closely, reducing the need to manually provision Amazon EC2 capacity in advance. Setting up the Elastic Beanstalk service properly can help maintain application availability and scale your capacity according to defined conditions.

 

Database Instances

 

When you provision a Multi-AZ DB Instance, Amazon RDS synchronously replicates the data to a standby instance in a different Availability Zone (AZ) for redundancy purposes. To ensure the DB can handle the needed performance it is important to use provision IOPS, specify both volume size and volume performance and attach multiple volumes to an Amazon EC2 instance and stripe across them.

 

Monitoring and Management

 

Partnering with a subject matter expert like Belston Technologies ensures that your AWS footprint is configured optimally for your application(s), and effectively monitored and managed for ongoing success and security.

Almost every time a customer asks us for help with their AWS environment we quickly see that they are paying for more compute than they need. Unfortunately, simply increasing the size of your compute instance will not necessarily improve the performance of your application, website, etc. Proper monitoring and management will add a level of precision that will save you money as it allows you to scale back and only pay for what you need.

Belston Technologies has extensive AWS expertise backed by our ITIL-based CMOC (Customer Management & Operations Center). Our 24X7 monitoring proactively identifies potential issues. Our CMOC monitors the following important AWS metrics:

  • CPU Utilization, Network Traffic, Disk I/O current availability and health status of the EC2 instances
  • Metrics of Attached EBS Volumes to provide valuable insight into volume traffic, latency, volume IO, bandwidth, throughput, etc.
  • Current availability and health status of the RDS instances
  • The number of active database connections, throughput details, network read/write latency, and the average number of disk read/write operations per second

 

Belston can help with all your AWS needs such as:

  • Set-up and Provisioning
  • Monitoring and Management
  • Security
  • Data Backup
  • Load Testing
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