How Legos explain everything you need to know about AWS
The basic lego unit is the 1x1. It’s the smallest block, connects to any other piece and hurts a lot when you step on it with bare feet.
In AWS, the equivalent of the 1x1 is a Virtual Machine (VM). And yes, a lot of the “managed” services like RDS, ELB, and EMR are abstracted to provide the convenience of the service without managing the underlying infrastructure but behind the scenes, they all use virtual machines.
The building blocks of AWS are Storage, Compute, Networking, Security, Monitoring, Media Processing, Analytics, and AI - think of these like your starter set of legos. Your lego baseplate - the single, flat piece that serves as a stable platform on which to build your lego masterpiece - is Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).
Once you’ve mastered creating simple buildings and boxes on top of your baseplate using your starter lego set, you can graduate to a full-blown lego kit with triangles, curved pieces and half moons to create more sophisticated things like castles, cars and bridges. In a similar fashion, after you get the hang of the AWS basics, you can add more specialized AWS services like DynamoDB, ElastiCache, Systems Manager, EFS, and Lambda.
No matter how sophisticated you get, everything is still rooted in those basic 1x1 building blocks - the VMs.
But legos aren’t just about size or shape - they’re also about color. You can have the same lego in a variety of different colors just like AWS services are variations of others. For example, Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS), Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS), and Fargate serve the same purpose but just do it in a slightly different way wheras Elastic Beanstalk, OpsWorks, and CloudFormation all allow you to manage your infrastructure in an automated way but with different levels of control.
What you build with legos or AWS, and how you build it, is limited only by your imagination. But beware - just like creating a tower of legos, unless you build a sound structure, your building will fall over. A tall skinny tower without an intelligently-designed structure will eventually collapse, and the same holds true in AWS - with experience, expertise and continued education, you can create a structure that is built strong enough to support your application and users.