Amazon AWS: How the Start of Tomorrow’s Internet Began

Amazon AWS: How the Start of Tomorrow’s Internet Began

01 Dec 2020


Akash Shakya

Have you ever wondered how Amazon’s Web Services came to be? If so, we are here to give you the history of AWS and even tell you what it looks like in the present day.

Knowing how this tech giant came to be can be an inspiration for your company or even help to give you the creative juice you need for your next endeavor. You can even have the option to use this service for your company after your web applications have been built. To learn how AWS started, keep reading below. 

What Is Amazon Web Services?

AWS or Amazon Web Services consists of several cloud computing services and products. This division of Amazon provides things such as servers, remote computing, networking, storage, security, mobile development, and email. 

When looking at AWS it can easily divide into 3 main products. These are EC2, Glacier, and S3. EC2 is Amazon’s machine service and Glacier is their low-cost cloud storage system. S3 is Amazon’s storage system.

You may have already guessed it but AWS is very large. It’s so present and big in today’s computing world that it’s outpaced, competitors. 

AWS has 76 availability zones. These zones are where the servers are located. These regions, also known as service regions, are divided to allow users to set specific geographical limits on their services if desired. AWS locations also provide security due to the diversity of each physical location. 

The span of AWS is all over the world. There are AWS locations in 245 territories and countries.

How Did AWS Come to Be?

It’s no secret that AWS is a big player in today’s computing world. Some are even curious about how Amazon came up with the idea of AWS.

The truth is that it happened by luck. Not a single person working for the company came up with the idea and brought it to the table. Today the leader of AWS is Andy Jassy.

Jassy has stated that there was no “ah-ha” moment when it came to turning the online bookstore into a trillion-dollar tech market. The idea of AWS simply emerged into the company.

The idea of AWS grew organically from Amazon’s frustration with its ability to support current customers and launch new products. AWS was simply stumbled upon when trying to find a solution for this constant need.

The need Amazon was looking for at the time was to have faster technology deployment. Little did they know that the creation of AWS would lead to a game-changing approach to the overall technology development of the world. 

The Beginning of AWS

Jassy was a Harvard MBA that joined Amazon back when it was just an online bookstore. In the early 2000s, he took a unique position as Jeff Bezos’s shadow performing as chief of staff and technical advisor.

Working closely with Bezos and seeing the issues that Amazon was facing is what led to the groundwork of AWS. By the time Jassy was working closely with Amazon’s leader Bezos decided that he wanted Amazon to be more than just an online bookseller.

Amazon then launched the business of its third-party affiliates which allowed users to sell items and people to buy them from third-party sellers. From there they began building a new web infrastructure to support other large retail partners.

Jassy worked at Bezos’s side almost daily to help get the new vision for Amazon up and running. Most of their time together was actively surveying the business as a whole and asking themselves what was doing well within the business and what wasn’t.

After this, they began to identify issues within the company. Not soon after they figured out the best solution to solve their problems, and this was AWS.

The 3 Realizations That Led to the Creation of AWS

Before deciding that AWS was the best way to solve Amazon’s problems they had to go through a few steps beforehand. Jassy states that he and Bezos had 3 realizations before concluding AWS.

Realization 1 – Storage Solutions

The first realization came as Jassy and Bezos examined the company closely. They found out that the business was lacking at accurately predicting the time in which it would take to complete a project. This was a common factor both internally and externally.

They then concluded that too much time was being spent on building the old infrastructure, namely database and storage solutions. Over and over again this area was being tweaked and worked on to have no clear solution. That’s when Jassyy and Bezos pulled the plug on Amazon’s development process and then discovered a need for reliable and scalable infrastructure services. 

Realization 2 – There’s a Market

After deciding that Amazon needed a scalable and reliable infrastructure they began hearing similar things from their partners. The partners that were speaking out and agreeing with Jassy and Bezos understood the space and were also expressing the same frustrations Jassy and Bezos had.

It started with 1 CEO, which then leads to 2, and then it grew to 3. This means that 3 CEOs were declaring that infrastructure services were a top priority. They then asked Amazon to take a hard look at their infrastructures and help them with data warehousing.

Jassy and Bezos took a look at each company’s infrastructure to find out that it was all hard to manage, too expensive, required too much commitment, and involved expensive upgrades. 

Realization 3 – Infrastructure Is Key

When Jassy and Bezos asked each other what Amazon was doing right, one thing made the top of their lists – building good infrastructure services. In the first 10 years of Amazon Jassy and Bezos realized that they had built a scalable, reliable, and cost-effective way to grow the business.

They did notice that when looking at this infrastructure that Amazon grew so fast that some of the aspects of the laid out infrastructure became entangled. They then decided that to develop infrastructures for external partners they would need a way to communicate through-hardened APIs.

This meant that they would have to go through and straighten out the entangled parts of their platform. By the time they straightened everything out they learned even more. This experience changed how Amazon thought and approached development.

They began to separate data from presentation. This began by operating under the idea that the merchant associates would do interesting things with the data than Amazon would ever have the time for.

This is exactly what happened when Amazon let loose. Customers who used new API increased their conversion rates

AWS Is Born

After the 3 realizations, Amazon decided that having their team dedicated to this infrastructure would be best. The AWS team began under Amazon’s roof as a start-up. 

From here Amazon began looking closely at what the business would look like under a broader scope. They then came up with the mission to help developers build their tech infrastructures on top of an Amazon cloud computing platform. 

This led to the team asking questions about the infrastructure service market and their position and opportunity in the world. Overall these questions were vital to the beginning of their startup to make it successful.

The questions asked were as follows:

  • Does the market need a better solution than what exists now?
  • Is there a big enough space for this to become a significant part of Amazon?
  • Does Amazon have the ability to provide users with a successful product?
  • Does Amazon have a different approach than others?

The answer to all these questions was yes. When it came to approaching, Amazon knew that this particular idea had not been considered. Since they were creating their approach from scratch they asked themselves what the key components of this operating system should be and what Amazon could do to help.

Since this was an idea never thought of before Amazon knew they could contribute a lot of ideas and resources. The AWS OP1 or the first version of the operating plan was made with 57 people.

The biggest decision at this time as if they should build one system and test it out before building more. They decided to build a platform that included all 3 aspects of a computing solution, database solution, and storage solution. In March 2006, AWS was launched for the first time.

The Reliability of AWS

AWS is known well for its reliability and security. This is one of the many reasons companies choose to use AWS for their infrastructure.

AWS is known to be more secure than a company that hosts its website or storage in-house. Each data centre across the world is monitored and maintained daily to ensure this level of security and reliability.

Another thing that makes AWS so reliable is the number of data centres that are scattered across the globe. This helps to ensure that if one data centre catches on fire that data will not be permanently lost. 

AWS is also so secure because it keeps its data centres hidden as well as they can. These centres are placed in locations that are out of the way and they only give access to a handful of workers.

It’s good to note that the people who have access to these centres are deemed essential for them. So this means there won’t be anyone that isn’t trussed near your data.

Lastly, since Amazon keeps a close eye on its centres anything that can go wrong will be identified fast and fixed in a reasonable time. If a power outage were to happen, Amazon would identify the issue and work to fix it as soon as it’s brought to Amazon’s attention.

Their centres are monitored 24 hours a day. This makes it more secure than IT outfits or even your in-house setup.

AWS Today

AWS is less than 20 years old. This infrastructure system began what is now known as a shift in the global technology landscape. 

Cloud computing has been so successful and popular in the last few years that it has increased the pace of which technology develops. It also has increased the amount of data in the world by a substantial amount.

AWS has a known reputation for being the leader in infrastructure as a service market in today’s world. This infrastructure as a service wave is hitting every industry sector from the government to cell phone and computer companies.

AWS has received a few awards that highlight its power and level of innovation. In May of 2013, AWS received the Agency Authority to Operate (ATO) from the United States Department of Health and Human Services. This award came from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program or FedRAMP.

Since this studious award, AWS has been known as reliable and secure. Even the United State’s CIA is fully on AWS.

AWS Competition

In today’s world, there is always competition. From athletics to the computing world there always seems to be someone that is trying to do better than your original idea.

With AWS there is no current competitor on the market. There are a few reasons why people think AWS is still the leader without any challengers. 

It could be due to the thought that cloud computing won’t last long or shouldn’t have gotten traction in the first place. Also, AWS has such a large revenue that having a competitor come close will be near to impossible. 

Now You Know the History of AWS

You are now aware of how AWS came to be. From the issues that lead to the creation of AWS to how AWS is still important today, you are now well versed in the history of this Amazon tech giant.

With Amazon becoming an industry leader in everything, it’s crucial to stay informed and educated.

In fact, be the most informed tech person in the room. For more interesting reading and website building services be sure to check out the rest of our website. 

Akash Shakya

Coming from distributed computing background, Akash manages the Sydney operations. He is highly technical yet very business focused and is always driven to create successful business products for our clients.

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