October 27, 2022

3 Reasons Why Moonward Is Loving AWS

The most exciting thing about tech is its ability to create new opportunities for its consumers. 

A particularly exciting platform in the tech space is AWS (Amazon Web Services). Yes, Amazon, as in Jeffrey Bezos' Amazon.

Moonward uses AWS in the majority of our projects. From a developer perspective, AWS has such a great depth of products, and all of them are awesome. It is clear that they understand the development process well, and know what tools developers are asking for and need.

What is AWS? 

AWS is a collection of on-demand cloud computing resources that covers a wide range of tools. Ranging from file storage using S3, cloud servers using EC2, global content delivery networks using CloudFront, cloud-native databases using RDS, and even Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) services. 

AWS is also a great tool for budgeting as it provides its services on a pay-as-you-go basis which means you only pay for what you use. We can also use cost management tools like AWS Budgets to set alerts when we are nearing a particular cost threshold, meaning that there are no surprises when the monthly bill arrives.

What is Cloud?

The Cloud is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage. 

Although it can sound a bit magical, the general rules that underpin the tech haven’t changed. You still have servers stored somewhere (in this case remotely). Cloud computing forgoes the need for on-premises servers, removing the risk of a single point of failure, such as a power outage or a natural disaster. 

AWS and most cloud computing resources will give you the opportunity to store your data in a location of your choice, based on the region and availability of certain zones. We will get into why this is important later.

3 Reasons Why Moonward Is Loving AWS

Although Moonward uses a whole host of AWS tools and services, we wanted to highlight a few in particular that we are loving and using right now.

1. AWS and Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is vital. We only need to look at what has happened recently in Australia with Optus and Medibank, to understand the power of sensitive data falling into the wrong hands. Read our blog on what developers can learn from the Optus data leak here.

The suite of tools that AWS provides is some of the best available, and Moonward uses them throughout our products to secure their infrastructure. 

A few cybersecurity tools that we really enjoy are VPCs, subnets and security groups. VPCs and subnets mean we can make certain resources only available to other services in our cloud, restricting access to the public internet. Public subnets that we want to be accessible to the outside world (such as a domain) are also contained within the layers of security provided by the VPC. Check out my diagram below to give you an example of how this works. 

A diagram of Amazon VPC and subnets
AWS VPC and Subnets

Another great security feature AWS offers is geographic restrictions/geo-blocking. This allows us to restrict access to our content (in this case a web app or static website) from countries that have a history of carrying out cyber attacks. Although there are ways for tech-savvy people to get around this, it is a solid first line of defence. 

2. AWS for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

I’m sure when we think about Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), we still think of The Matrix or I, Robot. But ML and AI are very real and are being harnessed by tech companies all around the world right now to streamline their systems and improve their user's experience.  

ML is a branch of AI that focuses on using data and algorithms to imitate the way that humans learn, gradually improving their accuracy. AWS provides a number of services that allow developers to harness the power of machine learning, without needing to overcome the high barrier to entry that is often associated with the AI space. Developing machine learning algorithms from scratch is a costly exercise that requires specific knowledge. Thankfully we can offload that responsibility to AWS and use the algorithm through a well-documented and maintained API/ SDK. This allows us to spend more time on the things we excel at, such as building great products and delivering value to our clients.  

Some examples of tools that we are using are content moderation and image processing, such as recognising and labelling inappropriate content in photos. As well as real-time speech-to-text recognition and text to speech. A good example of this in practice is TikTok's speech-to-text. 

Some screenshots from TikTok
TikTok's speech-to-text

Here are the links to the tools we are using: 

- Amazon Polly

- Amazon Transcribe

- Amazon Rekognition

3. AWS and Cloud Development Kits 

The AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK) allows us to build and configure cloud resources with code. While this change might seem trivial from the outside looking in, its popularity makes sense as it puts the development team back in a place they are comfortable with. This familiar environment results in faster adoption and increased productivity over the traditional method of deploying cloud resources through the AWS console.

It also means that Moonward can build and store these cloud resources in order to quickly deploy the infrastructure where needed. This removes the risk of developer error, reducing cost, time and security risks, meaning we as a team have more headspace to think about what makes the software product that we are working on unique. 

Of course, I have only touched on a handful of AWS products in this blog. There are so many services offered by AWS that could enhance your app. Stay tuned for more!

At Moonward, we are AWS experts, book a free 30 minute strategy call to talk more. 

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