General AWS Terminology
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1h 13m

This course covers the core learning objective to meet the requirements of the 'Implementing effective Cost Management solutions in AWS - Level 1' skill

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand aspects of AWS Cloud economics, including OpEX, CapEX and TCO
  • Understand the various AWS account structures in relation to AWS billing and pricing practices
  • Understand which operations will reduce costs by moving to the AWS cloud
  • Analyze and contrast the various pricing models for AWS, such as On-Demand EC2 Instances, Reserved Instances, and Spot Instance pricing

Account (AWS) - AWS services are housed within an Account. Accounts can be Master Payer accounts that contain billing data or Linked Accounts which do not. AWS Organizations and other services can be used to manage Accounts within AWS. Many AWS services can span Account boundaries.

RI -Reserved Instance - a commitment to use a cloud resource, usually of a specific type, location, and size, for some period of time, usually 1 or 3 years, in exchange for a discounted rate.

SP - Savings Plans are very similar to Reserved Instances but more flexible and can only be applied to compute usage.

AURI, PURI, NURI / SP (SavingsPlans)

All Upfront Reserved instance, Partial Upfront Reserved Instance and No Upfront Reserved Instance. Some people use these acronyms when referring to reserved instances, in case you hear them.

EC2 (AWS) Elastic Compute Cloud AWS' virtual computer cloud offering

AWS supports a variety of instance, Instance Type, Family, Generation, Size (AWS) - Instance refers to a specific EC2 virtual machine. Instance Families, designated by letter, an instance Generation designated by a number and optionally other letters, and instance sizes which follow a structure of nano, micro, small, medium, large, xlarge, 2xlarge, etc. The Instance type includes the entire ndesignation, such as m5a.4xlarge which would be an "m" family, 5th generation, "a" for AMD chipset, 4xlarge sized instance. 

IAM - Identity and Access Management - is the way that AWS refer to their system of granting and governing permissions within their cloud platforms.

Tags are metadata attached to a specific ressource running in AWS. They are meant to provide contextual information about the resource. Tags can be created with the resource in most cases or added after the fact manually or systematically. Tags are useful for identifying the type of resource, the environment it supports, the owner, the cost center, etc. 

Tags can be queried or accessed in a wide variety of ways and can be used to drive automation, divide costs, or for other important purposes. Most large cloud-using organizations will at some point establish governance policies around tag use and require specific tags be used on all resources.


Web-based portal from where you can manage your accounts or access AWS services. 

Convertible / Standard

AWS terms referring to the ability to convert reserved instances for some resources to different specifications. Standard RIs cannot be converted or changed for their entire term. Convertibility reduces the discount offered by AWS.


AWS has the concept of a Region, which is a physical location around the world where data centers are clustered. An AWS Region consists of multiple, isolated, and physically separate AZ's within a geographic area. Regions are generally guaranteed to be more than a minimum distance from one another to satisfy disaster recovery requirements.

Availability Zones (AZ) are sub-units of a Region, there are typically multiple AZs per Region. AZs are made up of multiple physical data centers but can generally be thought of as being very closely situated from a network latency and performance perspective.

About the Author
Learning Paths

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

To date, Stuart has created 150+ courses relating to Cloud reaching over 180,000 students, mostly within the AWS category and with a heavy focus on security and compliance.

Stuart is a member of the AWS Community Builders Program for his contributions towards AWS.

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.