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Amazon Web Services, provides highly secure on-demand cloud computing services to individuals, governments and companies on a subscription basis. These services act as building blocks that would help deploy any application in the cloud.

The wide range of infrastructure services range from storage options to networking, databases and computing power. These services would help you enjoy higher yields in productivity and innovation through cost cutting techniques as they migrate to the cloud.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is presently the leading public cloud services provider in the world, offering more than 100 AWS services spanning over 19 categories.

AWS Services
Image Credit: Amazon Web Services

Lets look at 7 important services offered by AWS that would be perfect for your next mobile app development project.

1. AWS Lambda

Recently, the term “serverless” has been doing the rounds. It is not that servers do not exist, they are there, but you don’t have to manage them anymore. With AWS Lambda, you can run the code according to events without provisioning the servers or managing them. Just upload the code and Lambda will manage the rest, including scalability.

The user doesn’t have to indulge in server administration. The code can be set up to automatically trigger from other AWS services or it can be called directly from any web or mobile app.

How it Works:

The code (referred to as “Lambda function”) is uploaded to AWS Lambda. Each function includes the code and its associated configuration information, including the function name and resource requirements. These functions can be set to automatically run the code in response to multiple events.

How AWS Lambda Works
Image Credit: Amazon Web Services

With no connections in the underlying infrastructure, Lambda functions are “stateless”. There’s complete freedom to launch any number of copies of the function, making scalability possible and easy. AWS Lambda executes the code only when it’s needed, and scales as per demand, automatically.

It runs your code in high availability compute infrastructure and performs the following functions − server and operating system maintenance, capacity provisioning and automatic scaling, code and security patch deployment, and code monitoring and logging.

Key Features:

Add custom logic to other AWS services: You can add custom logic to AWS resources like Amazon S3 buckets and Amazon DynamoDB tables. This is an amazing feature that lets you apply compute data while it enters and exits the cloud.

Build custom back-end services for apps: This feature lets you can create events for any kind of platform, making it easier for you to make updates and changes. This reduces battery drain as well since the backend applications are triggered on-demand.

No new languages, tools, or frameworks to learn: It supports code written in several programming languages. This saves the developer time, as he doesn’t have to learn any new languages or frameworks, and has the freedom to use third-party libraries too.

Administration is completely automated: Whenever you need to update, release a new patch, add new servers or resize the current ones, you can rely on Lambda to get it done.

Built-in fault tolerance for reliable operational performance: To ensure code protection across multiple machines, data centres and even individual centerstage, Lambda ensures built-in fault tolerance.

Automatic scaling based on incoming requests: Lambda automatically invokes your code to scale and support all the requests that come in, even at spike periods, and with no compromise in performance or consistency.

Integrated security model: You can configure AWS Lambda to access resources behind a virtual private cloud. This lets you leverage the advantages of custom security groups and network access control lists too.

Flexible resource allocation: Gives you the freedom to allocate resources proportional to CPU power, network bandwidth, and disk I/O as per your functions.

2. Amazon DynamoDB

Amazon DynamoDB is a fully managed NoSQL cloud database service that would help you store and retrieve any amount of data or traffic depending on demand. The database service is extremely fast, providing consistent, single-digit millisecond latency at any scale.

Since it allows for automatic partitioning, scalability is a major highlight, and any product needing data, volume, growth, etc. can go on without any kind of user interference. The reliability and scalability advantages of the service make it an ideal choice for gaming, web, ad tech, mobile, IoT apps and several other applications. It is also specially adapted for supporting multiple document types and key value store models.

How it Works:

As DynamoDB works with Java, Javascript, Node.js, PHP, Python and Ruby and NET, you can decide on your favorite programming language before getting started with it. Once you create the database table, you can also set the target utilization for auto scaling.

You can configure the service to handle various database management tasks like hardware or software provisioning, setup and configuration, software patching, operating a distributed database cluster and partitioning data over multiple instances for scaling purposes.

Key Features:

DynamoDB Accelerator (DAX) in-memory cache: DynamoDB Accelerator (DAX) is a fully- managed in-memory cache for DynamoDB and it helps reduce time from milliseconds to microseconds. This is a time-saver for demanding applications, as it improves performance by 10x.

Global tables for a multi-region, multi-master database: It capitalizes on the fully managed, multi-region, and multi-master database to deliver fast local, read and write performance for global applications that require heavy scalability.

Full backups and restore: Full backup of data in Amazon DynamoDB table means no slowing down of performance as the entire backup process is done in seconds, irrespective of the size of the tables.

Secure encryption: The service promises fully managed encryption at rest using AWS KMS or Key Management Service. It removes all operational hassles and complexities when you want to store and save sensitive data.

Automatic, seamless scaling: This allows for automatic throughput capacity management in response to changing demands, with zero downtime. It looks at the actual traffic patterns and is prepared to handle sudden splurge in traffic.

Support for key-value data structures and documents: It provides support for querying, and updating collections of objects identified using nuances like keys and values to show where the actual content is stored. It also supports the storing, querying, and updating of documents.

Amazon DynamoDB Console and APIs: It allows you to easily create and update tables, monitor tables, add or delete items, and set alarms. You can also define the time in which particular items in the table must be available, after which they will expire.

Develop locally, scale globally: It is easy to develop and test applications locally, on your laptop or in the Amazon C2 Instance. And when you are ready to scale, you can easily upload it in the AWS Cloud with Amazon DynamoDB.

DynamoDB Streams to track changes: DynamoDB Streams makes it easier for you to capture and process changes to DynamoDB data and tables. This would help you track and resolve issues quickly.

Triggers: AWS Lambda can interact with DynamoDB to execute a custom function when there are changes detected in a table.

3. AWS Device Farm

AWS Device Farm is an app testing service. You can test all kinds of apps on real mobile devices hosted by AWS. You can use the service in two different ways:

  • Automated Testing – Test the app parallelly against many physical devices in the AWS Cloud
  • Remote Access - Interact with devices in real time from a web browser

You can test your iOS, Android, and web applications against real mobile devices in the cloud app, so it would look like real users are using them, with real gestures, swiping and interactions. You can view video, screenshots, logs and performance data of your app, so you can instantly know what to fix, and where.

How Automated Testing Works:

To make use of the functionalities of AWS Device Farm, you have to first select the app type - native, hybrid or web app. Developers can then access the devices directly through their local host machines to identify bugs and performance issues.

How Remote Access works:

When you select a particular device based on make, model and OS version, it will be displayed on your browser. The developer can interact with the device to reproduce issues or test new functionality.

Key Features:

Test accuracy: Tests are highly accurate because you can use real, physical devices. So you can test your Android, iOS or Fire OS app on devices hosted by AWS, after uploading your own tests or built-in compatibility tests.

Configure and simulate real world environment: You can stimulate dynamic environments by changing the parameters of your test scripts. You can test apps in real time on real devices to gauge real world customer scenarios through a varied set of device configurations.

Development workflow integration: Device Farm comes with service plugins and API to help initiate the test automatically, and get the results from CI (Continuous Integration) environments and IDEs.

Faster way to reproduce and fix bugs: You can manually create issues and run automated tests in parallel, after which you can check the videos, logs and performance data to understand where the problems lie.

Secure testing: You can perform a series of clean up tasks, including uninstallation of the app after test execution. The device will also be removed, and not available. This ensures safety and security of your app.

4. Amazon Cognito

Amazon Cognito is a user-state synchronization service that lets you create unique identities for your users. It enables secure app authentication, allowing developers to easily add user sign-up, sign-in, and access control for web and mobile apps.

How it Works:

Once you sign up for an AWS account, all you need to do is add the Amazon Cognito SDK to your application and write a few lines of code. Next, you can initialise the Cognito credentials provider and use the Amazon Cognito management console to create a new Identity Pool.

The Cognito credentials provider will generate or retrieve unique identifiers for your users, set authentication tokens, set the verification process to identify and verify the identities and generate a valid token when the user sends in the details.

Key Features:

Secure directory: Amazon Cognito User Pools generate a secure user directory that has an amazing scalability of hundreds of millions of users. Authentication tokens are set to validate each user.

Social and enterprise identity providers: App users can sign in through social identity providers (Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.) and through enterprise identity providers like Microsoft Active Directory through Security Assertion Markup Language 2.0 (SAML).

Built-in customisable UI: Android, iOS, and JavaScript SDKs for Amazon Cognito helps you add user sign-up and sign-in pages to your applications.

Standards based authentication: It uses common identity management standards like OpenID Connect, OAuth 2.0 and SAML 2.0. This gives users a temporary set of limited credentials to access your AWS resources.

Security and compliance: You can meet several security and compliance requirements even for applications requiring high-level security. It is HIPAA eligible and has PCI DSS, SOC, and ISO/IEC 27001, ISO/EIC 27017, ISO/EIC 27018, and ISO 9001 compliance as well.

5. Amazon Pinpoint

If you have been relying on targeted push notifications to increase mobile engagement, Amazon Pinpoint just makes it easier to not only run targeted campaigns, but measure results as well. You can also engage your users through SMS, email and mobile push messages including:

  • Targeted messages like promotional alerts or customer retention campaigns
  • Direct messages like order confirmations or password reset messages

How it Works:

Through AWS Mobile SDK Integration, you can can gather customer analytics data and create customer segments. Personalized multi-channel messages can then be deployed to app users.

Key Features:

Track customer analytics: Integrate Amazon Pinpoint into your apps to track and measure usage data, understand how customers interact with the apps and how they respond to your messages.

Global reach: Enjoy a global reach of over 200 countries, and send messages through any mode of communication users prefer.

Application analytics: Learn all about how your customers use your app through AWS Mobile SDK. This data can be exported to external databases and applications for monitoring purposes.

A/B testing: A/B testing is available to ensure intended users respond to messages.

Track campaign metrics: You can monitor the messages sent to users, and analyze them to optimize future campaigns. This would include monitoring how many of them acted on the message, how many ignored, and how many opted out.

6. Amazon S3

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is a cloud object storage service to store and retrieve data from anywhere. It can collect data from corporate applications, mobile apps, websites, IoT sensors and other devices.

S3 has different storage classes designed for different purposes:

  • S3 Standard for general-purpose storage of frequently accessed data
  • S3 Standard-Infrequent Access and S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access for long-lived data that will be less frequently accessed
  • Amazon Glacier for long-term archive

There are different kinds of data policies that would help determine the process through which data is managed. The user can select the concerned storage plan, and migrate all the data there without making any changes to the end application.

How it Works:

Data is stored as objects within resources referred to as "buckets". A bucket can store as many objects as required, with each object being up to 5TB in size. The user can read, write and delete the objects within the bucket through access controls set individually for each object or for a bucket as a whole.

User permissions can be set for accessing the objects within the bucket and the access logs that can be viewed at any time. The user can choose any AWS Region bucket to store to minimize latency and costs, and stay within regulations.

Key Features:

Data availability, durability and scalability: You can have backup of all your data and save it against malicious or accidental deletion. You can control who can access your data through control mechanisms and VPC Endpoints, making it reliable.

Query in place functionality: Amazon comes with a suite of tools that would help you run Big Data analytics on the stored data.

Flexible data management: Amazon S3 helps you manage your storage by providing actionable insights regarding usage patterns.

Comprehensive security and compliance capabilities: It has three different forms of encryption to ensure the user gets their desired levels of security. It supports security standards and compliance certifications like PCI-DSS, HIPAA/HITECH, FedRAMP, EU Data Protection Directive and FISMA.

Simple, reliable APIs for easy data transfer: The flexible data transfer feature of S3 makes it easy to transfer large amounts of data through a dedicated network connection.

7. Amazon CloudFront

Amazon CloudFront is a global content delivery network (CDN) service offered by AWS. It securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to your viewers quickly with high transfer speed and low latency. There’s a global network of 116 Points of Presence in 56 cities across 24 countries in North America, South America, Asia, Australia and Europe.

How it Works:

Static and dynamic files stored in origin servers are distributed to the end user through Amazon CloudFront. The origin server is registered with CloudFront using an API call, which returns a CloudFront.net domain name that can be used to distribute the content.

The content requests will be routed to a suitable edge location that will retrieve the file’s local copy. If a local copy is not available, then a copy will be taken from the origin server server.

Key Features:

High-end security: Commendable levels of security is ensured through the end-to-end HTTPS connection between the end user and the origin server.

Media streaming: Just like with other aspects of AWS, media streaming is made possible through a variety of options, and is implemented using a huge variety of protocols layered on top of HTTP.

Programmable content delivery with AWS Lambda: This lets you configure multiple origin servers and cache behaviours based on the usage pattern of your application.

Reporting and analytics tools: CloudFront offers number of options for all your reporting needs, right from tracking your most popular objects to learning more about your end users.

Conclusion

These AWS services provide a varied set of infrastructure services delivered as a utility, on demand with the advantage of pay-as-you-go pricing. This is a major boon for enterprises because they can instantly respond to changing business requirements and never falter when the demand goes up during peak seasons. You can make use of these AWS services to revolutionize your mobile app development, scale apps seamlessly and make them work optimally.

Interested in incorporating AWS cloud services in your next mobile app? We can guide you!

Contact Us Today!

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