AWS S3, Data Transfer Among Its Most Popular Services: Report

AWS users liked S3 and Data Transfer, but customers were less impressed with Kinesis Streams, according to a report by third-party management platform for AWS customers, 2nd Watch.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

July 7, 2016

5 Min Read
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Amazon Web Services started out in 2006 with its EC2 compute and Simple Storage Service. It now offers dozens of different cloud services, and one of its third-party partners -- 2nd Watch -- has tallied which ones are among the most popular.

2nd Watch inspected the activity of 100,000 running instances within its customer base during the first quarter of 2016 to tally up which services they were using. The Seattle-based company is one of several that provides a front-end platform for creating workloads and managing a customer's virtual servers on the AWS cloud.

It's no surprise that Amazon S3 storage and AWS Data Transfer Service are now used by 100% of customers, while EC2 compute is used by 99%. That stands to reason, since compute and storage are the leading reasons users move into the cloud in the first place.

But some services either didn't register above 10% of users -- only those that did were reported -- or were not included in the survey. AWS Database Migration Service does not appear in the results, possibly because it's too new to have been included for a comparison with the prior year.

This is the second year that 2nd Watch has conducted the survey.

Another service that didn't make it into the results, but would have been interesting to include, was AWS Aurora, Amazon's cloud database as a service. AWS has invested high hopes in the Aurora relational system after investing in re-architecting MySQL as a multi-server system that could scale out as the database task scaled up. At its 2015 ReInvent event in Las Vegas, AWS officials announced Aurora as a preview service and urged customers to think of Aurora as a replacement for their proprietary databases.

Aurora became generally available March 15 and at the time, AWS announced that it had migrated 1,000 enterprise systems onto it.

Of the 30 services that were included, the ones that scored the highest after S3 and EC2 was Amazon Simple Notification Service, where customers use a push messaging system to send whatever messages they wish to systems and mobile devices, It was used by 89% of the instances surveyed.

Not far behind was the AWS Key Management Service at 87%. KMS is used for the creation and secure storage of encryption keys used in encrypting data created and/or stored in the cloud.

Amazon SQS or Simple Queue Service, where one part of an application creates messages to another part and they must be queued up until each can be processed in turn, came in at 79%.

AWS CloudTrail was used by 73% of the instances.

CloudTrail is a service that records in a log file all API calls to your Amazon account. The file includes the identity of the API caller, the time of the call, the source IP address, and the request parameters submitted by the call. It also cites the response elements returned. Such information can tell an Amazon customer how many calls are coming to the account from the AWS Management Console being used on-premises, the calls coming from AWS software development kits, or command line tools. Such information provides strong indicators of who is using the account and how they are using it. It can also be used to investigate suspicious calls and pursue would-be intruders.

Amazon Relational Database Service includes availability of Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, MariaDB, and PostgreSQL to run on EC2. AWS Aurora, however, is a separate managed service. Amazon RDS was used by 67% of the 100,000 instances surveyed, as was Amazon Route 53. Route 53 is Amazon's Domain Name Service, named for the port where Domain Name Service requests are routed and handled.

Amazon VPC, it virtual private cloud service, established a virtual private network connection to a customer's instances. It was used by 47% of the instances surveyed.

Amazon SES or Simple Email Service for sends hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of outgoing emails is used by 46%.

Perhaps surprisingly, Amazon CloudWatch, the service for granting visibility into your running instances in EC2, is used by only 41%. CloudWatch provides a set of metrics for free for any given account and can be expanded with metrics defined by the user and added to the account for a fee. In addition to instances in the EC2 cloud, CloudWatch can monitor and report on DynamoDB tables and RDS database instances. CloudWatch is not used by more customers perhaps because application monitoring is an area that has been rapidly developed by third parties that specialize in it, such as Compuware's Gomez, New Relic, AppDynamics, and Datadog.

[Want to learn about a major new Aurora user? Read Zynga Adopts Aurora Database, More Amazon Services.]

Amazon CloudFront content delivery service was used by 36%, as was Amazon Elasticache data caching service. Amazon SimpleDB comes in at 33% usage.

Dropping down into less popular tiers: Amazon DynamoDB NoSQL system and AWS Config configuration service, both at 27%. Amazon Glacier infrequently used storage was 26%; AWS Lambda event management service, 21%; and AWS Marketplace and AWS Directory Service both came in at 20%.

Amazon Workspace, or virtual desktops for end users, was used by 19%. The Amazon data warehouse, RedShift, was used by 17%, and Amazon Direct Connect, its secure, high-speed private line access, was used by 16%.

The services registering the lowest usage among the instances surveyed were: Amazon Elastisearch and Amazon Storage Gateway, both 11%, and Amazon Kinesis Streams data streaming service at 10%.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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