Amazon launched AWS over 11 years ago, and it’s fair to say they’ve been the leader in Infrastructure as a Service for nearly all of the time since then. However when it comes to higher, application level services, they’ve lagged a bit behind the competition. However with the recent launch of several new offerings, they’re beginning to close that gap. At Amazon re:Invent 2016 in November, they launched a suite of services focused around Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing.
This past Wednesday evening, at our HQ in New York, Boyle Software’s VP of R&D Lev Gimelfarb gave an excellent TechTalk on his latest development effort: Stacy. It was a fantastic way to reinvigorate our TechTalk series after a long hiatus! We had a good turn out of Boyle Software employees as well as several colleagues, clients, and friends. Pizza was consumed, beverages were imbibed, and we all learned some new things…
Serving a website from Amazon S3 is great: it’s fast, it’s inexpensive, and it doesn’t require maintaining a web server. But this simplicity can be limiting, coming at a price: you can only serve absolutely static files; there is no server-side logic whatsoever.
On the other hand, we are now seeing the rise of so called “API-first content management systems.” These systems, in true cloud spirit, are usually provided as a hosted service, give you a standardized user interface for structuring and managing your content, but do not deal with any aspects of your content presentation. They don’t deal with themes, templates, pages, etc. Instead, you have a fast and simple RESTful API that gives you access to your content and you are free to render it with whatever presentation you want outside of the CMS.
Amazon recently announced their Elastic File System (EFS) service is now available for production use. The service was previously only available in preview mode for a single region, but is now available in production for the US West Oregon, US East Virginia and EU Ireland regions. EFS is a service similar to Elastic Block Storage (EBS) which provides disk mounted storage for EC2 instances, with a couple of key differences.
Amazon just announced a new Transfer Acceleration that allows for a 300% increase in S3 bucket data transfer speeds.
For those not familiar with it, AWS CloudFormation allows you to create and update any number of AWS resources in an automated and repeatable way. Basically, you can create a JSON template which specifies all the resources for a given “stack,” upload it to CloudFormation, and the service takes care of provisioning and updating all those resources automatically.
There are many ways of implementing a high quality service to support high-load websites. Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages. In building out our own HeartyHosting platform, we have explored many of these various solutions. Below I have tried to combine the advantages, simplicity, and affordability. You will notice that in all cases, we found Amazon Web Services (AWS) to be a superior platform – which is why it is so central to HeartyHosting!