Amazon AWS: Seductiveness of ease of use

One of the important factors which affect people’s use of new technology is ease of use. Think iPhone, think Google. Think Amazon AWS.

I started using it Amazon AWS again recently and I am amazed at how easy it is to use. It is almost as if I have never stopped using it. The way you start an EC2 instance, the way you store objects in S3, the way you can host your static website on S3, everything is fairly easy to use. If there are any issues, the documentation ensures you get your doubts cleared soon. Ofcourse, you can understand all these easily if you have an idea of Amazon’s Infrastructure and you are conversant with the difference between Block Storage and Object Storage.

I had used EC2 and S3 earlier but this was the first time I was trying Elastic Bean Stalk and this too was easy to use. In Elastic Beanstalk Amazon deploys a large infrastructure for your application. Your application can run in a load balanced way with Amazon taking care of the load balancing part. It is supposed to scale the infrastructure whenever your application needs scaling. This is done automatically. Additionally your application’s health is monitored constantly. It supports Node.js, PHP, Python, Ruby, Java and .Net applications.

I chose PHP for my application and started Elastic Beanstalk. The setting up of infrastructure takes some time, a few minutes. Initially I let the Elastic Beanstalk deploy a sample PHP application. The application was started in the high available infrastructure and I could see the application run using a browser and pasting the link provided by Amazon. Once I checked this out, I wrote my own simple PHP application and asked Elastic Beanstalk to now deploy this application in place of the sample application. It took a few minutes and now the new application was deployed and I could see this application now running in my browser. The whole experience was very smooth.

Ease of use leads to more usage which in turn leads to familiarity which in turn leads us to explore more features of a system which in turn makes us be at ease with the product. Which means we are locked. Consider this: when I started CloudSiksha, I wanted to check if I can use OpenSource Office products. I did it give it a try for a month or more but the feature and the familiarity with MS Office was such that I had finally no choice but to buy a one year license of Office 365. I am not regretting it. I understand and appreciate that not every product can be easy to use but having that as a design criteria would definitely help in the long run. It may sound that I am probably stating a self evident truth but when you use some of the software, (which I shall not name), you wonder how the designers missed this simple self evident truth.

Other than the low cost, this ease of use is probably what makes people go to Amazon I guess. In the coming weeks I will doing more with Amazon and I will let you know how things go.