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Christina Gorton for ExamPro

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All the Clouds in AWS

Cloud Services

I often hear AWS users complain that there are too many services with "cloud" in the name. These services are usually completely different from one another which leads to even more confusion.

In this quick post I will list all of the current services with Cloud in their name and what they are used for.

Types of Services:


CloudFormation: Is infrastructure as code. It gives you the ability to use a templating script like yaml or json to set up services.

How it works

  • Use yaml or json to code your infrastructure from scratch
  • upload your local code to a S3 bucket.
  • Use AWS CloudFormation to create a stack based on your template code.
  • AWS CloudFormation will provisdion and configure the stacks and resources for you.


CloudTrail is a log of all actions that have taken place inside your AWS environment.

  • CloudTrail answers: "Who did what on AWS?"
  • It is a web service that records API activity in your AWS account
  • Logs information on:
    • who made a request
    • the services used
    • the actions performed
    • parameters for the actions
    • the response elements returned


CloudFront is a Content Distribution Network. It creates a cached copy of your website and copies to servers located near people trying to download a website.


CloudWatch focuses on the activity of AWS services and resources, reporting on their health and performance.

  • CloudWatch answers: "What is happening on AWS?"
  • monitors AWS resources and applications
  • collects and tracks metrics
  • collects and monitors log files
  • with CloudWatch you can set alarms

Cloud Watch is also a collection of multiple services.

CloudWatch Logs: any custom log data, memory usage, Rails logs or Nginx logs

CloudWatch Metrics: metrics that are based off of logs like memory usage

CloudWatch Events: trigger an event based on a condition like "Every hour take a snapshot of the server"

CloudWatch Alarms: triggers notifications based on metrics

CloudWatch Dashboard: create visualizations based on metrics

Cloud Search

CloudSearch is a search engine used for sites like an e-commerce website that you want to add a search input too.

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