Your Guide to AWS Terminology

Industry Advice Computing and IT

While their business purposes vary, companies of all sizes and industries are shifting to use cloud services. According to Gartner research, spending on cloud computing infrastructure and platforms is at an all-time high at $214.3 billion and is slated to grow exponentially through 2022, giving rise to related jobs in the process.

But as cloud adoption surges and businesses embark on cloud-related projects, a skills gap looms large across the industry. In fact, 94 percent of IT hiring managers say filling cloud-related roles is “at least somewhat difficult” with some even calling the lack of available cloud-related talent a “full-blown crisis.” This means there’s a massive opportunity for professionals that can demonstrate their skills.

Listed as the number one hard skill sought by companies across industries, cloud computing expertise is in high demand. IT professionals can improve their competitive advantage by ensuring their working knowledge of these cloud technologies is up-to-date. You can start by understanding some basic terms and concepts used frequently in the work.

Prepare for a Successful Career in Cloud Computing

Learn how Northeastern’s Graduate Certificate in Cloud Computing can accelerate your career.


What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services over the internet. In the past, companies required local systems and servers to run various applications; now, these processes can be managed in the cloud by an external provider. Due to the relatively lower cost of these IT solutions, many organizations now rely on services provided by popular cloud platforms, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud and Softlayer, Google Cloud Platform, and Salesforce. These web service providers offer a broad range of global, cloud-based IT products, including computing technologies, storage, databases, analytics, networking, mobile, developer tools, management tools, Internet of Things connectivity, security, and enterprise applications. These services help organizations move faster, facilitate agile development, and better manage scalability.

One of the most common providers is Amazon Web Services (AWS), and many working in IT are required to get intimately familiar with the technology. However, the assault of AWS terminology and the confusion as to why everything is prefixed with “cloud” or “elastic” can be a bit overwhelming. To help, here’s a glossary-style cheat sheet with common terms and phrases you’ll come across as you dive deeper into the world of cloud computing.

Common AWS Terms

AWS IoT: AWS IoT is a managed cloud service that lets connected devices easily and securely interact with cloud applic­ations and other devices.

Certif­icate Manager: AWS Certif­icate Manager lets you easily provision, manage, and deploy Secure Sockets Layer/­Tra­nsport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) certif­icates for use with AWS services.

CloudF­orm­ation: AWS CloudF­orm­ation lets you create and update a collection of related AWS resources in a predic­table fashion.

CloudFront: Amazon CloudFront provides a way to distribute content to end-users with low latency and high data transfer speeds.

CloudS­earch: AWS CloudS­earch is a fully managed search service for websites and apps.

CloudTrail: AWS CloudTrail provides increased visibility into user activity by recording API calls made on your account.

Data Pipeline: AWS Data Pipeline is a lightw­eight orches­tration service for periodic, data-d­riven workflows.

DMS: AWS Database Migration Service (DMS) helps you migrate databases to the cloud easily and securely while minimizing downtime.

DynamoDB: Amazon DynamoDB is a scalable NoSQL data store that manages distri­buted replicas of your data for high availa­bility.

EC2: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud.

EC2 Container Service: Amazon ECS allows you to easily run and manage Docker containers across a cluster of Amazon EC2 instances.

Elastic Beanstalk: AWS Elastic Beanstalk is an applic­ation container for deploying and managing applic­ations.

Elasti­Cache: Amazon Elasti­Cache improves applic­ation perfor­mance by allowing you to retrieve inform­ation from an in-memory caching system.

Elastic File System: Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) is a file storage service for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances.

Elasti­csearch Service: Amazon Elasti­csearch Service is a managed service that makes it easy to deploy, operate, and scale Elasti­cse­arch, a popular open-s­ource search and analytics engine.

Elastic Transcoder: Amazon Elastic Transcoder lets you convert your media files in the cloud easily, at low cost, and at scale

EMR: Amazon Elastic MapReduce lets you perform big data tasks such as web indexing, data mining, and log file analysis.

Glacier: Amazon Glacier is a low-cost storage service that provides secure and durable storage for data archiving and backup.

IAM: AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) lets you securely control access to AWS services and resources.

Inspector: Amazon Inspector enables you to analyze the behavior of the applic­ations you run in AWS and helps you to identify potential security issues.

Kinesis: Amazon Kinesis services make it easy to work with real-time streaming data in the AWS cloud.

Lambda: AWS Lambda is a compute service that runs your code in response to events and automa­tically manages the compute resources for you.

Machine Learning: Amazon Machine Learning is a service that enables you to easily build smart applic­ations.

OpsWorks: AWS OpsWorks is a DevOps platform for managing applic­ations of any scale or complexity on the AWS cloud.

RDS: Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale familiar relational databases in the cloud.

Redshift: Amazon Redshift is a fast, fully managed, petaby­te-­scale data warehouse that makes it cost-e­ffe­ctive to analyze all your data using your existing business intell­igence tools.

Route 53: Amazon Route 53 is a scalable and highly available Domain Name System (DNS) and Domain Name Regist­ration service.

SES: Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) enables you to send and receive email.

SNS: Amazon Simple Notifi­cation Service (SNS) lets you publish messages to subscr­ibers or other applic­ations.

Storage Gateway: AWS Storage Gateway securely integrates on-pre­mises IT enviro­nments with cloud storage for backup and disaster recovery.

SQS: Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) offers a reliable, highly scalable, hosted queue for storing messages.

SWF: Amazon Simple Workflow (SWF) coordi­nates all of the processing steps within an applic­ation.

S3: Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data.

VPC: Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) lets you launch AWS resources in a private, isolated cloud.

Want to Learn More about Cloud Computing?

If you’re looking to work directly with a web service provider or as an IT solutions manager that contracts web service providers, these terms will be useful in your everyday role. In order to succeed and advance your career, however, you’ll need a deep working knowledge of web services and cloud computing. Programs like Northeastern’s Cloud Computing Application and Management Graduate Certificate enable students to develop the technical and management skills to address the needs of enterprise cloud computing. Students have an opportunity to learn theoretical and practical, hands-on aspects of distributed systems from both technical and business perspectives, giving them a competitive advantage in the workforce.

To learn more about Northeastern’s Cloud Computing Certificate and related programs, explore our program pages today.

Cloud Computing Certificate