AWS Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing AWS and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting or using the search box below.

  • A

    AWS Spot Instance

    AWS Spot Instance is a purchasing option that allows a customer to purchase unused Amazon EC2 computer capacity at a highly-reduced rate.  

  • AWS Step Functions

    AWS Step Functions is a cloud service from Amazon Web Services that enables a developer to manage and visualize the components of distributed, multi-component applications.

  • AWS Storage Gateway (Amazon Web Services Storage Gateway)

    AWS Storage Gateway securely transfers application data between on-premises software and cloud-based storage to improve application scalability and help an enterprise save costs.

  • AWS Support (Amazon Web Services Support)

    AWS Support provides advice and tools for developers in the AWS cloud. The service is billed monthly and has four tiers of support plans.

  • AWS Test Drive

    The AWS Test Drive is a free Amazon Web Services tool that allows consulting and technology partners to test third-party software environments.

  • AWS Trusted Advisor (Amazon Web Services Trusted Advisor)

    AWS Trusted Advisor is a product that allows a cloud administrator to provision Amazon Web Services resources according to best practices in four categories: cost optimization, security, fault tolerance and performance improvement.

  • AWS Web Application Firewall (AWS WAF)

    AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF) is a security system that controls incoming and outgoing traffic for applications and websites based in the Amazon Web Services public cloud.

  • AWS X-Ray

    AWS X-Ray is an application performance management service that enables a developer to analyze and debug applications in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud.

  • B


    Boto is a software development kit (SDK) designed to improve the use of the Python programming language in Amazon Web Services. The Boto project started as a customer-contributed library to help developers build Python-based applications in the cloud, converting application programming interface (API) responses from AWS into Python classes.

  • bucket (AWS bucket)

    A bucket is a logical unit of storage in Amazon Web Services (AWS) object storage service, Simple Storage Solution S3. Buckets are used to store objects, which consist of data and metadata that describes the data.

  • C

    Chef (software)

    Chef is an open source systems management and cloud infrastructure automation platform.

  • CloudWatch (Amazon CloudWatch)

    Amazon CloudWatch is a component of Amazon Web Services (AWS) that provides monitoring for AWS resources and the customer applications running on the Amazon infrastructure.

  • content delivery network (CDN)

    A content delivery network ensures end users can view and access content quickly. IT teams use a CDN server geographically close to the end user to improve reliability.

  • D

    data lake

    A data lake is a large object-based storage repository that holds data in its native format until it is needed. While a hierarchical data warehouse stores data in files or folders, a data lake uses a flat architecture to store data.

  • E

    Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)

    Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) is a load-balancing service for Amazon Web Services (AWS) deployments.