You, the intrepid reader, are an IT professional (perhaps a seasoned veteran IT pro) and you plan on continuing and hope someday to retire as an IT pro. You’ve heard about "The Cloud" but as yet have had little or no direct experience with it. You’ve heard much about Amazon Web Services (AWS) -- the Amazon Cloud -- that AWS is the commercial public cloud leader -- and a mind-boggling and colossal IT accomplishment -- perhaps among the seven wonders of our IT world. You know you can’t avoid it. You will need to understand it at some point. Perhaps there’s been a recent edict from your IT leadership (i.e., from your CIO, CTO or IT team leader). The edict? Migrate your existing internally hosted applications ASAP from your private data centers to the cloud. Or perhaps such a decree is imminent as you are well aware of other IT acquaintances, working for other enterprises, who have been similarly challenged. You know it will happen -- if not already. So … you, like many IT professionals world-wide, are currently confronted with the challenge of cramming and quickly absorbing cloud computing concepts in general and AWS in particular. You will undoubtedly be summoned to either provide a presentation, impart your impressions, showcase a demo, migrate a simple app, participate in a more complex proof-of-concept, etc.You google “AWS Documentation” -- and you are amazed by scores of AWS cloud services described by hundreds of documents. You begin to scrutinize AWS overview web pages, introductory videos, online tutorials, and then launch a deeper dive into the user guides. You are beleaguered by an abundance of three-letter acronyms, ostensibly the most prominent of which is “EC2.” You quickly learn that Amazon EC2 (Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud) is the AWS foundation, the core upon which many other AWS services are crafted -- the flagship of the AWS service armada. You continue the EC2 deep dive and rapidly conclude that EC2 focuses on enabling virtual machines in the cloud and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). EC2 readily enables an account to be established for a customer, who can then promptly, dynamically and self-servingly provision application infrastructure components (e.g., virtual servers, network devices, storage devices, etc.). You also astutely absorb from the user guides that the underlying AWS compute, network and storage infrastructure is described by a plush vocabulary of many fundamental concepts. Its terminology and concepts are described by thousands of pages of detailed technical prose supported by many intuitive diagrams. But no data model? Amazon EC2, by itself, is an astonishing accomplishment, with many complex concepts and entwined relationships beyond its basic concepts. Unmistakably, your IT instincts suggest to you that the cycle time for achieving a confident overall understanding of Amazon EC2 can be substantially compressed with the help of a “conceptual data model” summarizing its many concepts and their interrelationships -- because pictures indeed are worth thousands of words. This book provides a visual overview of Amazon EC2 with the help of a Conceptual Data Model -- an entity relationship diagram (created with the IDERA ER/Studio Data Architect tool), serving as a “mind map” of fundamental EC2 concepts. This is likely the first attempt at publishing a conceptual data model for Amazon EC2. Improvement suggestions are welcomed. Let this be evidence that data modeling can serve as a fresh approach for unravelling the knots of any nebulous and highly technical subject area. The quest to quickly comprehend Amazon EC2 is indeed one such thorny challenge. Herein you will enjoy numerous intuitive entity-relationship diagrams -- a visual model of cloud computing -- the result of an earnest, dogged effort to demystify Amazon EC2 complexities -- inspiration that the world will be a much better place when all AWS services are graced with their accompanying conceptual data models.
Author: Henry M. Nirsberger