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Yogesh Mali
Yogesh Mali

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7 AWS Services Every Developer Should Know About

In this post, I will describe the 7 AWS Services a developer should know about. As a developer, it is important to understand when and how to use these services.

Even though moving the infrastructure to the cloud movement began in the last decade, it has picked up the speed in the last 5-6 years. As always, Amazon had been leading on this front. Now the most companies use cloud whether AWS, Google, or Microsoft Azure services for cloud infrastructure.

Amazon Web Services offer a number of services, but we will look at the 7 AWS services only. These services help users to administrator their applications smoothly. If you are building an application and using old on-premise infrastructure, you will be better off moving to the cloud. The dilemma comes what services to use, which Cloud service to choose.

7 AWS Services to Know

  • Elastic Container Service (ECS)
  • Lambda
  • Simple Storage Service (S3)
  • DynamoDB
  • Route53
  • Elastic Load Balancer(ELB)
  • Kinesis

Elastic Container Service

ECS is a container orchestration service. What does container orchestration mean?

  • Basically, you build your application.
  • Deploy that application on a docker container.
  • Push the docker image to ECR (Elastic Container Repository).
  • Build your elastic container service while using the docker image from ECR.

ECS does a good job of choosing what EC2 instance to use, how to identify a load balancer to use, and how many instances to run for your service.

ECS easily integrates with other cloud services that Amazon offers. These services include Amazon Route53, Secrets Manager, Identity and Access Management, and Cloudwatch.

While deploying your service on ECS, you can choose an EC2 container or AWS Fargate container. AWS Fargate is a serverless compute engine that works with both Elastic Container Service or Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS).

EC2 is an Elastic Cloud Computing service that offers a server instance. You can choose what you want on your server instance installed.


If you have heard the word “Serverless”, it is the AWS Lambda that has made it popular. You can write your code without provisioning or managing servers. The selling point of Lambda is that you don’t have to worry about backend infrastructure. Lambda takes care of that, you only pay for the compute time you use. So this makes writing efficient code even more important.

The alacrity with which Lambda handles running your code, it makes Lambda one of the most useful services. Lambda is definitely the most useful when you want to automate repetitive tasks.

Running an entire application on Lambda may not be the best idea. If it’s a static website, then surely you can use Lambda. But a scalable and dynamic application, you will be better off using an EC2 instance than Lambda.

One heuristic to consider to decide when to use Lambda – If you have a code that will not change, but will also perform repetitive tasks without much monitoring efforts, then use Lambda.

Simple Storage Service (S3)

S3 is a Simple Cloud Storage. Irrespective of what kind of application you build, you have to store static files somewhere. AWS offers a simple and effective service called S3.

To understand S3 is to understand a hash table. Usually, when you store any file on S3, the service generates a random string as a key to identify that file. The file is the blob format data.

S3 is targeted towards application builders to individual users. The advantages of S3 are scalability, high availability, performance, and security. S3 can also be used for redundancy. One thing to remember that you can not use S3 to host a static website, especially if you want to use it with HTTPS.


DyanmoDB is a No-SQL database service. The advantages of DynamoDB over regular DB are:

  • High performance even at a scale
  • A simple API allowing for simple key-value access Dynamo DB is a partitioned B-Tree Data structure. The performance in DynamoDB remains consistent irrespective of the data you are inserting in it. Key-Value pair makes it easy to access Dyanmo DB.

You can get aggregated or sorted data from a regular relational database. But with DynamoDB, your application has to do everything on its own. Once the application fetches the data from DynamoDB, it can get a single data or a contiguous range of data. This is the key point in deciding if you want to use DynamoDB or not.


Route53 as the name suggests is a DNS service that translates a domain name to IP address. When a request comes from an application to AWS infrastructure, Route53 translates that request to either load balancers or EC2 instance or S3 bucket.

Route53 may not have many advantages over any other infrastructure, but as a developer knowing about Route53 is important. Once you deploy your application in AWS, you will need to make sure it is accessible to users. From a network perspective, understanding Route53 is important.

Route53 integrates well with ELB (Elastic Load Balancer).


ELB is an elastic load balancer service. It offers a load balancer for application and for the network. So we can say application load balancer (ALB) or network load balancer (NLB).

Application load balancer basically routes the traffic from the internet to your application and vice versa. ALBs offer different features like routing rules, sticky sessions, authentications.

Network load balancers route the network packets. NLB is a network router and not an HTTP request router.

Both NLBs and ALBs support TLS/HTTPS and integrates with AWS Certificate Manager. NLBs and ALBs don’t validate certificates, but since these load balancers run in a VPC, there is a protection from spoofing and man-in-the-middle attack.

One disadvantage of ALBs is that it adds a few milliseconds to each request, increasing the latency in the process. AWS handles scaling ALB automatically based on the demand for your service.


Kinesis is a streaming service. It basically collects, processes, and analyzes real-time data. Once the data arrives in the streaming service, you can build an event to handle the data. Kinesis steam is a highly durable linked list.

You can have multiple applications consuming data from Kinesis. As data streaming getting more and more popular, kinesis offers a lot of flexibility.


There are a lot of other AWS services like SQS, Cloud Formation, Cognito, API Gateway, Step Functions, etc. Here I described 7 AWS services that you will end up using the most frequently. Also, I want to thank Daniel Vassallo and his insightful book The Good Parts of AWS.

Original post for this was published on my blog betterjavacode

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