This article is part of an Essential Guide, our editor-selected collection of our best articles, videos and other content on this topic. Explore more in this guide:
4. - AWS glossary of terms: Read more in this section
- Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)
- Amazon Kinesis
- Amazon RedShift
- Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)
- Amazon's data-flow PaaS: AppStream and Kinesis
- cloud computing
- elastic load balancing
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- public cloud
- virtual machine (VM)
Explore other sections in this guide:
- 1. - Learning all about AWS
- 2. - AWS advice concerning over-provisioning
- 3. - What do you know about AWS services?
The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a Web-based service that allows business subscribers to run application programs in the Amazon.com computing environment. The EC2 can serve as a practically unlimited set of virtual machines.
To use the EC2, a subscriber creates an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) containing the operating system, application programs and configuration settings. Then the AMI is uploaded to the Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and registered with Amazon EC2, creating a so-called AMI identifier (AMI ID). Once this has been done, the subscriber can requisition virtual machines on an as-needed basis. Capacity can be increased or decreased in real time from as few as one to more than 1000 virtual machines simultaneously. Billing takes place according to the computing and network resources consumed.