A Brief History of Amazon Web Services

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) is used by companies big and small, across the globe. But where did it come from? Well, the short answer is Amazon – one of the world’s biggest companies, renowned for its global ecommerce services. But there’s a lot more to the story than that alone.

In this post, we look at the history of AWS, where it came from and how it’s changed over the years.

Not so humble beginnings

Despite only seeming to take off in recent years, AWS was actually launched way back in 2002. As a subsidiary of Amazon, it’s fair to say the platform had plenty of resources at its disposal, initially focussing on tools and services for cloud computing. However, over the first few years of its existence, the platform’s focus was shifted with a vision of automated, standardised computing infrastructure, offering virtual servers to users across the world.

In 2004, AWS released its first product – Simple Queue Service (SQS). SQS facilitates the sending of messages online between consumers and companies. While similar technology was available through IBM and Microsoft, AWS offered the whole thing as a service. There was no need for users to maintain servers – a huge disruption to the industry.

Following this realise, AWS began working on their elastic cloud service (EC2), now one of their keystone products.

2006 relaunch

With this new, clearer focus, AWS relaunched in 2006, offering SQS, EC2 and Amazon cloud storage. In short, they provided a full suite of services to developers, other sites and businesses – as a service. There was no need to worry about where to store data, whether that data will be secure and how much it would all cost.

This proved particularly popular with developers, with 150,000 signing up to AWS by its 2006 re-launch. At the end of 2007 and 2008, Amazon launched S3 and EC2, respectively, in Europe. This significantly reduced latency and bandwidth for European users – allowing AWS to take off in another market.

The rise of competitors

2008 was the first sign of competition for AWS, as Google launched its own platform-as-a-service offering. The Google App Engine allowed users to develop and host web applications through Google’s managed data centres as part of the Google Cloud.

Almost two years later, Microsoft joined the market with Azure. Because so many enterprise-level data centres and businesses already used Microsoft products, Azure had a considerable advantage over both AWS and Google.

Virtual Private Cloud

After its relaunch, Amazon continued to release new products to bolster its as-a-service offering. In 2009, they launched the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). This allowed customers to create their own isolated network within the AWS cloud. Rather than simply targeting developers, this focussed on companies who would need to move larger workloads to the cloud on a more permanent basis.

Continued expansion

In April 2010, Amazon further expanded its reach setting up a ‘region’ in Singapore with local data centres. This was the first Asia-Pacific AWS region, providing better bandwidth and lower latency for their Asian customer base. This expansion was continued in 2011 with the Asia-Pacific Northeast region in Tokyo, Japan and 2012 with Asia-Pacific Southeast in Sydney, Australia.

In 2012, AWS also launched its ‘sa-east-1’ region in Sao Paulo, Brazil – the first South American AWS region. AWS now has over 20 availability zones worldwide, spread across the US, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. At the end of 2018, they even announced plans for data centres in Cape Town, South Africa, putting them in every one of the world’s continents except Antarctica.

AWS Re:Invent

In 2012, AWS held its first developer conference in Las Vegas. Re:Invent was held in Las Vegas, which has become an annual event. The conference attracts over 30,000 people every year, with local events in different regions across the globe.

Re:Invent conferences have become the place for new product announcements and launched. At 2018, AWS announced Outposts – a dedicated hybrid cloud product. The fully-managed service provides customers with ready-made hardware and software for on-premises data centres, so applications can be run cloud-natively.

The AWS of today – and the future

AWS now has more than 100 services, providing everything businesses need to work seamlessly in the cloud. Best of all, they’re constantly developing new services and feature to keep their customers at the forefront of cloud computing.

If you want to find out more about how AWS can help your company, feel free to get in touch with the team at Green Cloud Hosting. We’re part of the AWS partner network, meaning we have all the expertise and experience necessary to guide you through AWS consultancy, migration and management.

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