What the Amazon Cloud really does for digital and e-commerce agencies
Digitization, B2B and agility are currently major topics in digital agencies. Cloud solutions, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), offer new strategic and technological opportunities.
Of course, Cloud is not a panacea for today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. However, the question that you have to face as an agency is: How can I add value to my clients and to my business through the opportunities offered by providers like AWS?
Cloud is more than hosting
The handling of hosting has changed a lot in the last ten years. The idea of flexible, secure, cost-efficient and globally distributed computing capacities was able to prevail. But this is just the first step: Providers of cloud services, such as AWS, meanwhile create turnkey services for serverless computing, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile or AI based on their own cloud resources and are expanding their global presence. This development is gaining momentum, making the difference to traditional hosting – selling hardware or virtualization solutions – bigger every day.
Cloud is agile
Cloud solutions can be changed and developed at any time. Thus, dealing with the question of “Which infrastructure / hosting solution do I need the day after tomorrow” for the agency and the customer in the background. Cloud services provide more agility and, in contrast to classic hosting solutions, increase your own range of motion. Such mobile solutions are better integrated into agile development processes than rigid solutions. Why should not the hosting solution be agile during the implementation of the project?
Cloud Native Development
Often the first steps into the cloud are very close to traditional hosting. However, the possibilities actually available are many times greater today. Thus, first agencies have begun to develop solutions based on AWS services. Examples are mobile applications, Industry 4.0 or chatbots. This development is still in its infancy. The potential, however, is enormous. What is certain is that infrastructure and development will come closer together in the future.
Benefits for microservices and distributed applications
As customer applications are distributed among multiple servers or services, solutions like AWS are powerful. For each component of the application, a tailor-made service can be used. These can be classic web servers or databases that are implemented on virtual hardware or via containers. In addition, AWS services can be used for eg IoT, language conversion, messaging, machine learning or image analysis. In addition to individually programmed applications, providers such as the Spryker Commerce OS or OroCommerce also use this approach.
A dream team: AWS and Docker
For many agencies, there is no way around container technologies like Docker. Especially software developers appreciate the execution in isolated containers and its portability. AWS brings its own container management solutions – from the Docker registry to scalable Docker clusters and instances. In addition, Docker containers can directly and natively use additional AWS services such as databases, caches, or storage. Thus, for example, applications in containers can use the high-performance Amazon Aurora database to persist data. This allows infrastructures that combine the benefits of containers with the benefits of other AWS components.
Automation: Less mistakes, more time
Through automation, recurring processes can be “programmed”, eliminating the need for error-prone human intervention. At AWS, it is possible to implement the entire hosting environment via “Infrastructure as Code”. The possibilities correspond to those of a typical programming, only the program code refers to structure and behavior of hosting infrastructures. The result is robust solutions that can be reused and evolved. Manually setting up servers or complex components is no longer necessary. Most AWS services and features are already automated. In addition, there are a large number of third-party tools that can be used agnostically by providers for all kinds of cloud providers.
Magento, Shopware, OXID, TYPO3 & Co. in the Cloud
Applications like Magento, Shopware, OXID and TYPO3 are indispensable in the agency landscape. In the case of demanding hosting requirements – such as internationalization, scalability, high availability or security – the Amazon Cloud can also score points here. This goes from classic solutions (for example two parallel web servers) to the automatic assembly and disassembly of web servers by “autoscaler”.
For the bottleneck database AWS also promises relief: With AWS Aurora there is an arrow-fast MySQL alternative, which even automatically scales in parts. All AWS databases can be scaled on-the-fly without downtime. AWS hosting solutions are modular in the form of DMZ, Firewall, Varnish, SOLR, Redis / MemCached, ElasticSearch, Docker and many more. Thus, both high-load scenarios and peak loads in the B2C as well as the requirements for particularly secure and / or international solutions in the B2B area can be mapped.