Getting started with Amazon Web Services

Learn how migrating to the cloud using Amazon Web Services can help your organisation deliver services more effectively.
Getting started with Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is a market-leading provider of remote cloud services. AWS offers a comprehensive range of database storage options, compute power, content delivery and networking solutions. Using a service like AWS can help cut costs by avoiding the purchase of expensive tech equipment such as a server. Not-for-profits can use AWS to support mission-critical applications that enhance their ability to deliver their services.

What is AWS?

AWS stands for Amazon Web Services. It’s a global market leader in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), offering a wide range of remote cloud services. It allows you to select your desired solutions, paying only for the services you need.
Using AWS, not-for-profits can:

  • scale up during annual days of giving, and then scale down on demand, so that their website is always available during important fundraising days
  • reach donors cost-effectively and manage donor relationships with reliable, easy to use services
  • find solutions to the world’s most pressing problems through open data sources and initiatives that aggregate cutting-edge research.

Watch a video explaining more about what AWS does

Basic concepts of AWS and IaaS

Global cloud-based products offered by AWS include compute resources, storage, database resources, analytics, networking, mobile resources, developer tools, management tools, internet of things (IoT), cyber security and on-demand enterprise applications, with pay-as-you-go pricing.


There are three types of cloud data storage: object storage, file storage and block storage. Applications developed in the cloud often take advantage of object storage's vast scalability and metadata characteristics. This means you can:

  • host your personal or simple marketing website on AWS
  • store and retrieve a file
  • create and connect to a MySQL database
  • backup and prepare for disaster recovery.


Compute resources are essentially time-slice tickets given to those clients that need it so that they can have access to the allocated CPUs in the system. This product allows you to:

  • migrate and manage WordPress websites
  • launch a Windows or Linux virtual machine
  • build a serverless web app.


AWS Content Analysis allows customers to obtain a broader understanding of their media content through machine learning so that they can:

  • deploy a data warehouse
  • analyse big data with HadoopCreate QuickSight analytics dashboard.

These services are the first that many organisations start to use in the AWS platform. Other popular services among the more than 200 services offered by AWS are:

  • application integration services
  • network load balancing
  • traffic routing
  • Blockchain
  • Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL)
  • data warehousing to deployment tools
  • directories to content delivery. 

Benefits at a glance

Easy to use

AWS is designed to allow application providers, independent software vendor, and vendors to quickly and securely host your applications – whether it’s an existing application or a new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based application. You can use the AWS Management Console or well-documented web services APIs to access AWS’s application hosting platform.


AWS enables you to select what you need, including the operating system, programming language, web application platform, database and other services. With AWS, you receive a virtual environment that lets you load the software and services your application requires. This eases the migration process for existing applications while preserving options for building new solutions.

Cost effective

You pay only for the compute power, storage and other resources you use, with no long-term contracts or up-front commitments. 

Secure and reliable

AWS utilizes an end-to-end approach to secure and harden its infrastructure, including physical, operational and software measures.

All data flowing across the AWS global network that connects data centres and regions is automatically encrypted at the physical layer before it leaves AWS’s secured facilities. Additional encryption layers exist as well.

Scalable and high performance

Using AWS tools, Auto Scaling, and Elastic Load Balancing, your application can scale up or down based on demand. Backed by Amazon’s massive infrastructure, you have access to compute and storage resources when you need them.

Hybrid capabilities

AWS hybrid cloud services deliver a consistent AWS experience wherever you need it – from the cloud, to on premises, and at the edge.

Getting started with AWS Cloud Essentials

Access your ConnectingUp AWS Cloud Credits

The AWS Non-profit Credit Program provides access to US$1,000 in AWS Promotional Credit, helping to offset costs for non-profits associated with implementing cloud-based solutions. This helps non-profits meet mission goals without upfront investment in physical infrastructure.

AWS Cloud Credits are available to NFPs via ConnectingUp. More information and sign-up

Leveraging AWS effectively requires a good level of technology infrastructure expertise. If you aren’t skilled at managing network, server and platform infrastructure, we recommend you find a partner to help you make the most of the platform.

AWS Cloud fluency program

The AWS Cloud Influency program is an invitation-only cloud training program that quickly builds foundational AWS Cloud knowledge across your organisation. Training is delivered free by AWS through a combination of digital content, virtually delivered courses and group interactive sessions. You cover the cost of the AWS Certification exam fees. 

The program is designed for everyone from your boldest, most forward-looking strategic thinkers through to business professionals and technical staff. Broad fundamentals training, from executives to IT staff, helps build excitement around the cloud and gets your teams speaking a common language.

Come to the hub and book a consultation with our experts today.

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