What is 'Compute' in AWS

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DevOps Engineer – Professional Certification Preparation for AWS (2019)
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What is Compute?
Summary7m 20s
Start course
Duration1h 36m


Understanding the fundamentals of AWS is critical if you want to deploy services and resources within the AWS Cloud.  The Compute category of services are key resources that allow you to carry out computational abilities via a series of instructions used by applications and systems.  These resources cover a range of different services and features, these being:

  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
  • Elastic Load Balancing
  • Auto Scaling
  • Amazon EC2 Container Service (ECS)
  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk
  • AWS Lambda
  • AWS Batch
  • Amazon Lightsail

This course will provide the fundamental elements of all of these Compute services and features that will allow you to select the most appropriate service for your project and implementations. Each have their advantages by providing something of value that’s different to the others, which will all be discussed.

Topics covered within this course consist of:

  • What is Compute:  This lecture explains what 'Compute' is and what is meant by Compute resources and services
  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2):  This lecture discusses and explains what the EC2 service is and does, and provides a demonstration on how to configure, launch and connect to an EC2 instance
  • Elastic Load Balancing & Auto Scaling:  This lecture explains the differences between Elastic Load Balancing and Auto Scaling and how they can be used to help manage your fleet of EC2 Compute resources
  • Amazon ECS:  This lecture explains how the Amazon ECS service allows you to run Docker-enabled applications packaged as containers across a cluster of EC2 instances without requiring you to manage a complex and administratively heavy cluster management system
  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk: This lecture provides an overview of the AWS Elastic Beanstalk service which helps to install, distribute and deploy web applications
  • AWS Lambda: This lecture explains how AWS Lambda lets your run your own code in response to events in a scalable and highly available serverless environment
  • AWS Batch: This lecture looks at AWS Batch and how this service is used to manage and run batch computing workloads within AWS
  • Amazon Lightsail: This lecture looks at the Amazon Lightsail service which is essentially a Virtual Private Server (VPS) backed by AWS infrastructure

If you want to learn the differences between the different Compute services, then this course is for you! 

With demonstrations provided, along with links to a number of our Labs that allow you to gain hands on experience in using many of these services will give you a solid understanding of the Compute services used within AWS.

If you have thoughts or suggestions for this course, please contact Cloud Academy at


Hello and welcome to this very short lecture where we are going to answer the question: what is compute in AWS?

Before we begin to explore compute services resources and features we must first understand what is meant by the term compute. So what is it? Put simply compute resources can be considered the brains and processing power required by applications and systems to carry out computational abilities via a series of instructions.

So essentially compute is closely related to common server components which many of you will be more familiar with. Such as central processing units - CPU's and random access memory - RAM. With that in mind a physical server within a data center would be considered a compute resource as it may have multiple CPU's and many gigs of RAM to process instructions given by the operating system and applications.

Within AWS there are number of different services and features that offer compute power to provide different functions. Some of these services provide compute which can comprise of utilizing hundreds of EC2 instances virtual servers which may be used continuously for months or even years processing millions upon millions of instructions. On the other end of the scale you may need to utilize a few hundred milliseconds of compute resource to execute just a few lines of code within Lambda before relinquishing that compute power. Lambda is a compute resource in AWS which we'll cover later in this course.

Other features as elastic load balancing, ELB and auto scaling which will be discussed in more detail in a later lecture do not actually function as compute resources themselves. Rather they allow you to control and manage the amount of compute resource used by other services. Such as EC2 whilst maintaining high availability of your EC2 fleet of resources.

As you can see compute resources can be consumed in different quantities for different lengths of time across a range of categories offering a wide scope of performance and benefit options. So it really will depend on your requirements as to which compute resource you use within AWS and this course will discuss them all allowing you to decide which is best for your implementation. That brings us to the end of this very short lecture.

Now we are aware of what compute is let's start by looking at some of the services offered by AWS that provide this compute resource starting with elastic cloud compute; EC2.

About the Author

Learning paths30

Stuart has been working within the IT industry for two decades covering a huge range of topic areas and technologies, from data centre and network infrastructure design, to cloud architecture and implementation.

To date Stuart has created over 40 courses relating to Cloud, most within the AWS category with a heavy focus on security and compliance

He is AWS certified and accredited in addition to being a published author covering topics across the AWS landscape.

In January 2016 Stuart was awarded ‘Expert of the Year Award 2015’ from Experts Exchange for his knowledge share within cloud services to the community.

Stuart enjoys writing about cloud technologies and you will find many of his articles within our blog pages.