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Guide to AWS Web Application Architecture

Engineers, educators, and government institutions are migrating to more reliable platforms that allow scalable web hosting and provide security, high performance, and availability. 

As a result, AWS (Amazon Web Services), a popular cloud-computing vendor, has become the most sought-after cloud infrastructure market, offering a wide range of on-demand data storage and transportation solutions. It's a user-friendly, cost-efficient platform with over 200 integrated services for computing storage, artificial intelligence, data analytics, data lakes, the internet of things, and machine learning. 

To begin with, this post will look at the AWS architecture with its essential components and benefits, and how it varies from other platform providers. We'll look at some recommended practices to consider when implementing this web application architecture and, finally, some helpful AWS tools to start with. 

What Is AWS Architecture?

AWS architecture is a process of planning, designing, and integrating AWS resources into a cloud infrastructure. It represents the relationships between front-end, back-end, and network infrastructure components. Hence, cloud services can handle the large amount of data created daily and bring a lot of web traffic to apps or websites. 

The AWS architecture ensures that clients build and maintain their cloud solutions in line with best practices, guidelines, and recommendations. It also showcases the basic AWS services, including EC2, Amazon S3, Elastic Load Balancing, CloudFront, Route 53, security groups, and more. 

AWS is being used by big companies such as Netflix, Meta (Facebook), Airbnb, and even Adobe to confront scalability problems and also manage traffic on these sites. 

Benefits of AWS Architecture

  • operation excellence
  • security
  • cost-friendliness
  • reliability
  • application performance

Web Application Hosting Architecture in AWS Cloud

You'll run into many technical and architectural problems while managing a web application. AWS provides a quick, easy, and cheap way to solve these problems. 

The AWS architecture aims to facilitate a better alternative for on-premise systems. It offers features such as individual server mapping, configuration servers, and pricing. 

When a user sends an email to the AWS server requesting to register or transfer a domain, the request will be sent to the Amazon API Gateway along with the necessary data. 

The gateway then sends the user data to the AWS Lambda function, which creates an email and sends it to the third-party server using Amazon SES. A virtual private cloud is built to protect the web application, and resources are spread across availability zones to ensure redundancy during maintenance. 

The AWS EC2 instances are used to host web servers, whereas the Elastic Load Balancer is used to balance the external traffic to servers. Depending on business needs, you can add or remove instances and scale them up or down based on dynamic scaling policies. 

With Amazon CloudFront distribution, we can minimize latency and maintain global edge locations that serve as caches for internet and streaming content. In contrast, the Route 53 domain name service is used for internet domain registration and management

Critical Components of an AWS Web Hosting Architecture

  • Load balancing with Elastic Load Balancing—This allows you to distribute load across various availability zones and AWS Auto Scaling groups for redundancy and service decoupling. It may reduce and boost load-balancing capacity by adjusting specific traffic needs. Sticky sessions are also allowed for complex routing services.
  • DDoS protection with AWS Shield—It automatically protects your AWS-hosted infrastructure against the most prevalent network and transport layer DDoS assaults. AWS shield also offers dynamic detection and inline mitigation to reduce application downtime and latency.
  • Static storage and backups with Amazon Simple Storage Service—AWS offers many storage options, including the basic storage service (S3) and Elastic Block Storage (EBS). EBS, which is equivalent to hard disks, is widely utilized when rapid storage is required. When larger file storage is requested, Amazon S3 is suggested, as it employs the cost-effective pay-per-use approach.
  • Firewalls with security groups—This feature provides suitable architectural security as a stateful, host-level firewall for web and application servers. It defines the protocols, ports, and source IP ranges for the EC2 system. So, you can use this component to restrict the security group's access to EC2 by configuring it using subnets or IP addresses.
  • Caching with Amazon ElastiCache—It manages the memory cache and is essential for memory management and successfully reducing service demands. Caching information in the database improves the architecture's performance. Using Redis or Memcached to provide caching services may help ease app and database load and also minimize latency for frequent requests.
  • Edge caching with Amazon CloudFront—Amazon CloudFront is a network for delivering content that uses low latency to send content directly worldwide. It uses network locations worldwide to speed up the delivery of dynamic, fixed, or streaming content. Therefore, users can request material depending on their current location.
  • Managed database with Amazon Relational Database Service—Relational Database Service (RDS) facilitates access to databases such as MySQL and Microsoft SQL server. It creates a multi-AZ, highly available database architecture with six alternative DB engines. It's incredibly user-friendly and straightforward to use.
  • AWS Lambda—The AWS Lambda function performs the back-end code and retrieves the required API gateway data. In addition to calculating service scales and managing the infrastructure necessary to execute the loaded code, Lambda computes service scales. Using Amazon cloud watch, you can also monitor a real-time visual log and matrix update.
  • DNS services with Amazon Route 53—Amazon DNS services are provided to facilitate domain maintenance.

Common Web Application Hosting Issues Addressed by AWS

Those in charge of administering a web application often encounter a number of challenges; AWS offers cost-effective and seamless solutions. 

  • Unexpected traffic spikes

Traditional hosting approaches are notorious for provisioning very slowly. There are several examples of web applications going inaccessible due to an unanticipated surge in demand. This occurs when the web application fails to adapt and scale according to increased demand. 

The same on-demand feature that allows web apps to grow to meet typical traffic surges can also manage an unexpected load on the AWS cloud. That is to say, you can create new hosts, make them accessible within minutes, and take them offline as soon as the traffic returns to normal. 

  • Paying for unused resources

Traditional hosting models require servers to be provisioned to handle peak capacity from the onset. During non-peak hours, these unused cycles end up going to waste. AWS-hosted web applications may take advantage of on-demand server provisioning, hence continually altering the capacity and pricing based on real traffic patterns. 

  • Unreliable hardware costs

In a traditional hosting environment, even after production is done, you will incur extra costs at each step of the development life cycle, like creating preproduction, beta, and testing fleets to ensure the quality of the application. 

When these resources aren't used optimally, the hardware lies idle for extended periods. This is not the situation in the AWS cloud, where you're free to deploy testing fleets on demand. 

Web Application Architecture in AWS vs. Other Platforms

Although other cloud service providers offer components that are similar to those in the AWS architecture, AWS has a more extensive user base and higher trust and reliability ratings because it has been in the cloud market the longest. Other service providers, like Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), offer 100+ and 60+ services, respectively, and are currently catching up to AWS in terms of functionality and popularity.   

Here are how some common services compare across AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform:

  • IaaS: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS)  | Virtual machines (Azure)  | Google Compute Engine (GCP)
  • PaaS: AWS Elastic Beanstalk (AWS)  | App service and cloud services (Azure)  | Google App Engine (GCP)
  • Containers: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Container Service (AWS)  | Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) (Azure)  | Google Kubernetes Engine (GCP)
  • Serverless functions: AWS Lambda (AWS)  | Azure Functions (Azure)  | Google Cloud Functions (GCP)
  • NoSQL: Key value: Amazon DynamoDB (AWS)  | Table storage (Azure)  | Google Cloud Storage, Google Cloud Bigtable (GCP)
  • RDBMS: Amazon Relational Database Service (AWS)  | SQL Database (Azure)  | Google Cloud SQL (GCP)
  • NoSQL: Indexed: Amazon SimpleDB (AWS)  | Azure Cosmos DB (Azure)  | Google Cloud Datastore (GCP)
  • Virtual server disks: Amazon Elastic Block Store (AWS)  | Managed disks (Azure)  | Google Compute Engine persistent disks (GCP)
  • Object storage: Amazon Simple Storage Service (AWS)  | Blob storage (Azure)  | Google Cloud storage (GCP)
  • File storage: Amazon Elastic File System (AWS)  | Azure file storage (Azure)  | ZFS/Avere (GCP)
  • Cold storage: Amazon Glacier (AWS)  | Azure Archive Blob Storage (Azure)  | Google Cloud storage Nearline (GCP)
  • Peering: Direct Connect (AWS)  | ExpressRoute (Azure)  | Google Cloud interconnect (GCP)
  • Elastic Load Balancer: Elastic Load Balancer (AWS)  | Azure Load Balancer (Azure)  | Google Cloud Load Balancing (GCP)
  • DNS: Amazon Route 53 (AWS)  | Azure DNS (Azure)  | Google Cloud DNS (GCP)
  • Virtual network: Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) (AWS)  | Virtual Networks (VNets) (Azure)  | Virtual Private Cloud (GCP)

AWS has become the most popular cloud provider on the market because of its simplicity in offering scalability and holistic security to its consumers. However, because it's simple to connect MS tools with the Azure cloud, using the Azure cloud makes more sense for various organizations that use MS products. 

Alternatively, most users choose GCP because it's cost-friendly and provides the greatest pricing model for the infrastructure that runs Google Search and YouTube. 

Best Practices for AWS Web Application Architecture

Creating an AWS architecture makes it simpler to design, construct, and execute applications in the AWS cloud when deploying a solution. This stage is critical whether you develop a cloud-native architectural pattern or relocate your project to AWS. 

Here are some tips to consider when using the AWS web architecture. 

  1. Update your AWS architecture Diagram regularly. AWS architecture diagrams are excellent for understanding, planning, developing, and deploying a cloud architecture solution. Keeping your AWS infrastructure up to date might be difficult since it's continually changing. However, organizations can use assisting tools in adding icons, shapes, networks, and other aspects to the diagram using design tools. Therefore, automatically, you generate a diagram for your AWS architecture.
  2. Add data to your AWS diagrams. The AWS architecture provides an excellent depiction of your resources and their interconnectedness. Therefore, to avoid switching back and forth between your architecture and the documentation, always include more data alongside your shapes and icons.
  3. Keep dependent resources close to each other. Consider grouping components that are related to each other to create an architecture that is straightforward to read and comprehend. This strategy also minimizes the number of intersecting arrows in your architecture, which helps to keep it simple.
  4. Consider multiple architectures for different grouping. In a situation where you intend to share and categorize your resources according to different layers and data, consider adapting architecture drawings according to the audience. For instance, an architecture layer for the security team should include information tailored to the audience. You can group these using icons or according to shapes while focusing on a specific component.

Helpful AWS Tools for Ensuring Good Architecture

Conclusion of AWS Web Application Architecture

The serverless architecture of Amazon Web Services eliminates the requirement for users' servers in application deployment. 

This post covered AWS, which hosts web servers, balances external traffic, and scales instances using components such as EC2, Amazon S3, Elastic Load Balancing, CloudFront, and others. 

The AWS platform handles the back-end processes for building and maintaining apps. As a result, developers and engineers are no longer required to manage, scale, or provide apps manually using the AWS applications architecture. 

It makes the experience seamless while offering customers' data three pillars of security—confidentiality, integrity, and availability—to give complete security and privacy. 

Finally, the ultimate decision on which provider is preferred will depend on your organization's demands. Although AWS is the leading cloud service provider today, others like GCP and Azure are undoubtedly cutting-edge providers as well. 

This post was written by Anita Ihuman. Anita is a software developer with experience working with React (Next.js, Gatsby) and in the web development industry. She has proficient skills in technical blogging and public speaking, and she enjoys exchanging information. She loves contributing to open-source projects. Anita is a community manager at layer5 and creates blog posts for the community blog and she’s a content creator for the Gnome Africa Blog.