AWS Interview Questions

AWS Interview Questions

Q: What is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)?

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud.

Q: What can I do with Amazon EC2?

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) enables storage in the cloud, Amazon EC2 enables “compute” in the cloud. Amazon EC2’s simple web service interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity. It provides you with complete control of your computing resources. Amazon EC2 reduces the time required to obtain and boot new server instances to minutes, allowing you to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as your computing requirements change. Amazon EC2 changes the economics of computing by allowing you to pay only for capacity that you actually use.

Q: What can developers now do that they could not before?

Until now, small developers did not have the capital to acquire massive compute resources and ensure they had the capacity they needed to handle unexpected spikes in load. Amazon EC2 enables any developer to leverage Amazon’s own benefits of massive scale with no up-front investment or performance compromises. Developers are now free to innovate knowing that no matter how successful their businesses become, it will be inexpensive and simple to ensure they have the compute capacity they need to meet their business requirements.

The “Elastic” nature of the service allows developers to instantly scale to meet spikes in traffic or demand. When computing requirements unexpectedly change (up or down), Amazon EC2 can instantly respond, meaning that developers have the ability to control how many resources are in use at any given point in time. In contrast, traditional hosting services generally provide a fixed number of resources for a fixed amount of time, meaning that users have a limited ability to easily respond when their usage is rapidly changing, unpredictable, or is known to experience large peaks at various intervals.

Q: What is the difference between using the local instance store and Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) for the root device?

When you launch your Amazon EC2 instances you have the ability to store your root device data on Amazon EBS or the local instance store. By using Amazon EBS, data on the root device will persist independently from the lifetime of the instance. This enables you to stop and restart the instance at a subsequent time, which is similar to shutting down your laptop and restarting it when you need it again.

Alternatively, the local instance store only persists during the life of the instance. This is an inexpensive way to launch instances where data is not stored to the root device. For example, some customers use this option to run large web sites where each instance is a clone to handle web traffic.

Q: What happens to my data when a system terminates?

The data stored on a local instance store will persist only as long as that instance is alive. However, data that is stored on an Amazon EBS volume will persist independently of the life of the instance. Therefore, we recommend that you use the local instance store for temporary data and, for data requiring a higher level of durability, we recommend using Amazon EBS volumes or backing up the data to Amazon S3. If you are using an Amazon EBS volume as a root partition, you will need to set the Delete On Terminate flag to “N” if you want your Amazon EBS volume to persist outside the life of the instance.

Q: Which volume type should I choose?

Amazon EBS includes two major categories of storage: SSD-backed storage for transactional workloads (performance depends primarily on IOPS) and HDD-backed storage for throughput workloads (performance depends primarily on throughput, measured in MB/s). SSD-backed volumes are designed for transactional, IOPS-intensive database workloads, boot volumes, and workloads that require high IOPS. SSD-backed volumes include Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) and General Purpose SSD (gp2). HDD-backed volumes are designed for throughput-intensive and big-data workloads, large I/O sizes, and sequential I/O patterns. HDD-backed volumes include Throughput Optimized HDD (st1) and Cold HDD (sc1).

Q: Are snapshots versioned? Can I read an older snapshot to do a point-in-time recovery?

Each snapshot is given a unique identifier, and customers can create volumes based on any of their existing snapshots.

Q: What charges apply when using Amazon EBS shared snapshots?

If you share a snapshot, you won’t be charged when other users make a copy of your snapshot. If you make a copy of another user’s shared volume, you will be charged normal EBS rates.


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Q: Why am I charged when my Elastic IP address is not associated with a running instance?

In order to help ensure our customers are efficiently using the Elastic IP addresses, we impose a small hourly charge for each address when it is not associated to a running instance.

Q: Do I need one Elastic IP address for every instance that I have running?

No. You do not need an Elastic IP address for all your instances. By default, every instance comes with a private IP address and an internet routable public IP address. The private IP address remains associated with the network interface when the instance is stopped and restarted, and is released when the instance is terminated. The public address is associated exclusively with the instance until it is stopped, terminated or replaced with an Elastic IP address. These IP addresses should be adequate for many applications where you do not need a long lived internet routable end point. Compute clusters, web crawling, and backend services are all examples of applications that typically do not require Elastic IP addresses.

Q: What load balancing options does the Elastic Load Balancing service offer?

Elastic Load Balancing offers two types of load balancers that both feature high availability, automatic scaling, and robust security. These include the Classic Load Balancer that routes traffic based on either application or network level information, and the Application Load Balancer that routes traffic based on advanced application level information that includes the content of the request.

Q: When should I use the Classic Load Balancer and when should I use the Application Load Balancer?

The Classic Load Balancer is ideal for simple load balancing of traffic across multiple EC2 instances, while the Application Load Balancer is ideal for applications needing advanced routing capabilities, microservices, and container-based architectures. Please visit Elastic Load Balancing for more information.

Q: Can I automatically scale my Amazon EC2 fleets?

Yes. Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling is a fully managed service designed to launch or terminate Amazon EC2 instances automatically to help ensure you have the correct number of Amazon EC2 instances available to handle the load for your application. EC2 Auto Scaling helps you maintain application availability through fleet management for EC2 instances, which detects and replaces unhealthy instances, and by scaling your Amazon EC2 capacity up or down automatically according to conditions you define. You can use EC2 Auto Scaling to automatically increase the number of Amazon EC2 instances during demand spikes to maintain performance and decrease capacity during lulls to reduce costs.

Q: What is Amazon S3?

Amazon S3 is object storage built to store and retrieve any amount of data from anywhere on the Internet. It’s a simple storage service that offers an extremely durable, highly available, and infinitely scalable data storage infrastructure at very low costs.

Q: What can I do with Amazon S3?

Amazon S3 provides a simple web service interface that you can use to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. Using this web service, you can easily build applications that make use of Internet storage. Since Amazon S3 is highly scalable and you only pay for what you use, you can start small and grow your application as you wish, with no compromise on performance or reliability.

Amazon S3 is also designed to be highly flexible. Store any type and amount of data that you want; read the same piece of data a million times or only for emergency disaster recovery; build a simple FTP application, or a sophisticated web application such as the retail web site. Amazon S3 frees developers to focus on innovation instead of figuring out how to store their data.

Q: What kind of data can I store in Amazon S3?

You can store virtually any kind of data in any format. Please refer to the Amazon Web Services Licensing Agreement for details.

Q: How much data can I store in Amazon S3?

The total volume of data and number of objects you can store are unlimited. Individual Amazon S3 objects can range in size from a minimum of 0 bytes to a maximum of 5 terabytes. The largest object that can be uploaded in a single PUT is 5 gigabytes. For objects larger than 100 megabytes, customers should consider using the Multipart Upload capability.

Q: What storage classes does Amazon S3 offer?

Amazon S3 offers a range of storage classes designed for different use cases. There are four highly durable storage classes including Amazon S3 Standard for general purpose storage of frequently accessed data, Amazon S3 Standard-Infrequent Access or Amazon S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access for long-lived, but less frequently accessed data, and Amazon S3 Glacier for long-term archive.

Q. What is Amazon CloudFront?

Amazon CloudFront is a web service that gives businesses and web application developers an easy and cost effective way to distribute content with low latency and high data transfer speeds. Like other AWS services, Amazon CloudFront is a self-service, pay-per-use offering, requiring no long term commitments or minimum fees. With CloudFront, your files are delivered to end-users using a global network of edge locations.


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Q. What can I do with Amazon CloudFront?

Amazon CloudFront provides a simple API that lets you:

Distribute content with low latency and high data transfer rates by serving requests using a network of edge locations around the world.
Get started without negotiating contracts and minimum commitments.

Q: What is AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)?

You can use AWS IAM to securely control individual and group access to your AWS resources. You can create and manage user identities (“IAM users”) and grant permissions for those IAM users to access your resources. You can also grant permissions for users outside of AWS

Q: What problems does IAM solve?

IAM makes it easy to provide multiple users secure access to your AWS resources. IAM enables you to:
Manage IAM users and their access: You can create users in AWS’s identity management system, assign users individual security credentials (such as access keys, passwords, multi-factor authentication devices), or request temporary security credentials to provide users access to AWS services and resources. You can specify permissions to control which operations a user can perform.

Manage access for federated users: You can request security credentials with configurable expirations for users who you manage in your corporate directory, allowing you to provide your employees and applications secure access to resources in your AWS account without creating an IAM user account for them. You specify the permissions for these security credentials to control which operations a user can perform.

Q: How are IAM users managed?

IAM supports multiple methods to:

Create and manage IAM users.
Create and manage IAM groups.
Manage users’ security credentials.
Create and manage policies to grant access to AWS services and resources.

Q. What is Amazon Virtual Private Cloud?

Amazon VPC lets you provision a logically isolated section of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud where you can launch AWS resources in a virtual network that you define. You have complete control over your virtual networking environment, including selection of your own IP address ranges, creation of subnets, and configuration of route tables and network gateways. You can also create a hardware Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection between your corporate datacenter and your VPC and leverage the AWS cloud as an extension of your corporate datacenter.

You can easily customize the network configuration for your Amazon VPC. For example, you can create a public-facing subnet for your web servers that have access to the Internet, and place your backend systems such as databases or application servers in a private-facing subnet with no Internet access. You can leverage multiple layers of security, including security groups and network access control lists, to help control access to Amazon EC2 instances in each subnet.

Q. What are the components of Amazon VPC?

Amazon VPC comprises a variety of objects that will be familiar to customers with existing networks:

A Virtual Private Cloud: A logically isolated virtual network in the AWS cloud. You define a VPC’s IP address space from ranges you select.
Subnet: A segment of a VPC’s IP address range where you can place groups of isolated resources.
Internet Gateway: The Amazon VPC side of a connection to the public Internet.
NAT Gateway: A highly available, managed Network Address Translation (NAT) service for your resources in a private subnet to access the Internet.
Virtual private gateway: The Amazon VPC side of a VPN connection.
Peering Connection: A peering connection enables you to route traffic via private IP addresses between two peered VPCs.
VPC Endpoints: Enables private connectivity to services hosted in AWS, from within your VPC without using an Internet Gateway, VPN, Network Address Translation (NAT) devices, or firewall proxies.
Egress-only Internet Gateway: A stateful gateway to provide egress only access for IPv6 traffic from the VPC to the Internet.

Q: Why should I use Amazon VPC?

Amazon VPC enables you to build a virtual network in the AWS cloud – no VPNs, hardware, or physical datacenters required. You can define your own network space, and control how your network and the Amazon EC2 resources inside your network are exposed to the Internet. You can also leverage the enhanced security options in Amazon VPC to provide more granular access to and from the Amazon EC2 instances in your virtual network.

Q. How do I get started with Amazon VPC?

Your AWS resources are automatically provisioned in a ready-to-use default VPC. You can choose to create additional VPCs by going to the Amazon VPC page in the AWS Management Console and selecting “Start VPC Wizard”.

You’ll be presented with four basic options for network architectures. After selecting an option, you can modify the size and IP address range of the VPC and its subnets. If you select an option with Hardware VPN Access, you will need to specify the IP address of the VPN hardware on your network. You can modify the VPC to add or remove secondary IP ranges and gateways, or add more subnets to IP ranges.

The four options are:
Amazon VPC with a single public subnet only
Amazon VPC with public and private subnets
Amazon VPC with public and private subnets and AWS Site-to-Site VPN access
Amazon VPC with a private subnet only and AWS Site-to-Site VPN access


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Q. Within which Amazon EC2 region(s) is Amazon VPC available?

Amazon VPC is currently available in multiple Availability Zones in all Amazon EC2 regions.

Q. Can a VPC span multiple Availability Zones?


Q. Can a subnet span Availability Zones?

No. A subnet must reside within a single Availability Zone.

Q. What is a Domain Name System (DNS) Service?

DNS is a globally distributed service that translates human readable names like into the numeric IP addresses like that computers use to connect to each other. The Internet’s DNS system works much like a phone book by managing the mapping between names and numbers. For DNS, the names are domain names ( that are easy for people to remember and the numbers are IP addresses ( that specify the location of computers on the Internet. DNS servers translate requests for names into IP addresses, controlling which server an end user will reach when they type a domain name into their web browser. These requests are called “queries.”

Q. What is Amazon Route 53?

Amazon Route 53 provides highly available and scalable Domain Name System (DNS), domain name registration, and health-checking web services. It is designed to give developers and businesses an extremely reliable and cost effective way to route end users to Internet applications by translating names like into the numeric IP addresses, such as, that computers use to connect to each other. You can combine your DNS with health-checking services to route traffic to healthy endpoints or to independently monitor and/or alarm on endpoints. You can also purchase and manage domain names such as and automatically configure DNS settings for your domains. Route 53 effectively connects user requests to infrastructure running in AWS – such as Amazon EC2 instances, Elastic Load Balancing load balancers, or Amazon S3 buckets – and can also be used to route users to infrastructure outside of AWS.

Q: What is Amazon RDS?

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) is a managed service that makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. It provides cost-efficient and resizable capacity, while managing time-consuming database administration tasks, freeing you up to focus on your applications and business.

Q: Which relational database engines does Amazon RDS support?

Amazon RDS supports Amazon Aurora, MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle, SQL Server, and PostgreSQL database engines.

Q: What is a database instance (DB instance)?

You can think of a DB instance as a database environment in the cloud with the compute and storage resources you specify. You can create and delete DB instances, define/refine infrastructure attributes of your DB instance(s), and control access and security via the AWS Management Console, Amazon RDS APIs, and AWS Command Line Interface. You can run one or more DB instances, and each DB instance can support one or more databases or database schemas, depending on engine type.

Q: What is Amazon DynamoDB?

DynamoDB is a fast and flexible nonrelational database service for any scale. DynamoDB enables customers to offload the administrative burdens of operating and scaling distributed databases to AWS so that they don’t have to worry about hardware provisioning, setup and configuration, throughput capacity planning, replication, software patching, or cluster scaling.

Q: What is Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS)?

Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) is a web service that makes it easy to set up, operate, and send notifications from the cloud. It provides developers with a highly scalable, flexible, and cost-effective capability to publish messages from an application and immediately deliver them to subscribers or other applications. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers. Amazon SNS follows the “publish-subscribe” (pub-sub) messaging paradigm, with notifications being delivered to clients using a “push” mechanism that eliminates the need to periodically check or “poll” for new information and updates. With simple APIs requiring minimal up-front development effort, no maintenance or management overhead and pay-as-you-go pricing, Amazon SNS gives developers an easy mechanism to incorporate a powerful notification system with their applications.

Q: What are the benefits of using Amazon SNS?

Amazon SNS offers several benefits making it a versatile option for building and integrating loosely-coupled, distributed applications:

  • Instantaneous, push-based delivery (no polling)
  • Simple APIs and easy integration with applications
  • Flexible message delivery over multiple transport protocols
  • Inexpensive, pay-as-you-go model with no up-front costs
  • Web-based AWS Management Console offers the simplicity of a point-and-click interface


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Q: What is Amazon CloudWatch?

Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring service for AWS cloud resources and the applications you run on AWS. You can use Amazon CloudWatch to collect and track metrics, collect and monitor log files, and set alarms. Amazon CloudWatch can monitor AWS resources such as Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon DynamoDB tables, and Amazon RDS DB instances, as well as custom metrics generated by your applications and services, and any log files your applications generate. You can use Amazon CloudWatch to gain system-wide visibility into resource utilization, application performance, and operational health. You can use these insights to react and keep your application running smoothly.

Q: What is Amazon CloudWatch Logs?

Amazon CloudWatch Logs lets you monitor and troubleshoot your systems and applications using your existing system, application and custom log files.

With CloudWatch Logs, you can monitor your logs, in near real time, for specific phrases, values or patterns. For example, you could set an alarm on the number of errors that occur in your system logs or view graphs of latency of web requests from your application logs. You can then view the original log data to see the source of the problem. Log data can be stored and accessed indefinitely in highly durable, low-cost storage so you don’t have to worry about filling up hard drives.

Q. What is Amazon Elastic File System?

Amazon EFS is a fully-managed service that makes it easy to set up and scale file storage in the Amazon Cloud. With a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, you can create file systems that are accessible to Amazon EC2 instances via a file system interface (using standard operating system file I/O APIs) and supports full file system access semantics (such as strong consistency and file locking).

Amazon EFS file systems can automatically scale from gigabytes to petabytes of data without needing to provision storage. Tens, hundreds, or even thousands of Amazon EC2 instances can access an Amazon EFS file system at the same time, and Amazon EFS provides consistent performance to each Amazon EC2 instance. Amazon EFS is designed to be highly durable and highly available. With Amazon EFS, there is no minimum fee or setup costs, and you pay only for the storage you use.

Q. When should I use Amazon EFS vs. Amazon S3 vs. Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS)?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers cloud storage services to support a wide range of storage workloads.

Amazon EFS is a file storage service for use with Amazon EC2. Amazon EFS provides a file system interface, file system access semantics (such as strong consistency and file locking), and concurrently-accessible storage for up to thousands of Amazon EC2 instances.

Amazon EBS is a block level storage service for use with Amazon EC2. Amazon EBS can deliver performance for workloads that require the lowest-latency access to data from a single EC2 instance.

Amazon S3 is an object storage service. Amazon S3 makes data available through an Internet API that can be

accessed anywhere.


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Q: What is AWS Elastic Beanstalk?

AWS Elastic Beanstalk makes it even easier for developers to quickly deploy and manage applications in the AWS Cloud. Developers simply upload their application, and Elastic Beanstalk automatically handles the deployment details of capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring.

Q: Who should use AWS Elastic Beanstalk?

Those who want to deploy and manage their applications within minutes in the AWS Cloud. You don’t need experience with cloud computing to get started. AWS Elastic Beanstalk supports Java, .NET, PHP, Node.js, Python, Ruby, Go, and Docker web applications.

Q: What is AWS CloudFormation?

AWS CloudFormation is a service that gives developers and businesses an easy way to create a collection of related AWS resources and provision them in an orderly and predictable fashion.

Q: What can developers now do with AWS CloudFormation that they could not before?

AWS CloudFormation automates and simplifies the task of repeatedly and predictably creating groups of related resources that power your applications. Creating and interconnecting all resources your application needs to run is now as simple as creating a single EC2 or RDS instance.

Q: How is AWS CloudFormation different from AWS Elastic Beanstalk?

These services are designed to complement each other. AWS Elastic Beanstalk provides an environment to easily deploy and run applications in the cloud. It is integrated with developer tools and provides a one-stop experience for you to manage the lifecycle of your applications. AWS CloudFormation is a convenient provisioning mechanism for a broad range of AWS resources. It supports the infrastructure needs of many different types of applications such as existing enterprise applications, legacy applications, applications built using a variety of AWS resources and container-based solutions (including those built using AWS Elastic Beanstalk).

AWS CloudFormation supports Elastic Beanstalk application environments as one of the AWS resource types. This allows you, for example, to create and manage an AWS Elastic Beanstalk–hosted application along with an RDS database to store the application data. In addition to RDS instances, any other supported AWS resource can be added to the group as well.

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