Background: Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a large variety of products and for many of us coming from traditional on-premises environments it can be easy to get confused with the terminology. My goal here is to give a brief description of the AWS services (as of June 2016) and identify their on-prem equivalents (or best match in my opinion). Please feel free to comment if you see any areas that can use clarification. This is a list for my personal supplement and is not meant to be an authoritative or all-encompassing resource. All information was obtained from the AWS Documentation site, which you can visit at

AWS Product On-Premise Equivalent
 EC2 – Provides resizeable computing capacity in the form of server instances.  Virtual Machines (VMware. XenServer, Hyper-V, etc…)
EC2 Container Service – Provides management of the compute resources available to a client via the cluster manager.  VMware vCenter, Citrix XenCenter, Microsoft SCVMM
 Elastic Beanstalk – Platform for development and hosting of web applications in a sandbox.  Application Sandbox
 Lambda – Compute service that runs code in response to user-definable events. Lambda can automatically scale the resources available to the code based on usage.  Application Sandbox
S3 – Online file storage.  Enterprise Storage
CloudFront – Amazon’s content delivery network service which provides content to users (such as media) with high performance and high availability.  Globally distributed content delivery network (CDN)
 Elastic File System – File storage for EC2 instances Network Attached Storage
Glacier – Amazon storage service optimized for infrequently used data.  Archival data storage or DR storage
Snowball – AWS Snowball is a service for moving large amounts of data into and out of AWS using Amazon-provided secure appliances for transport.  Enterprise storage migration tools (differs among vendors but most generally allow you to safely and securely move a large amount of data from one storage device to another)
Storage Gateway – AWS service that connects on-prem software appliance with cloud-based storage.  Cloud Storage Gateway
RDS – AWS Relational Database Service is a service that allows a customer to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle RDBMS, MySQL
DynamoDB – Fully managed proprietary NOSQL database service. NoSQL database
ElastiCache – Cloud deployed cache environment.  Memcaches, Redis
Redshift – AWS data warehouse service used for data analysis applications.  PostgreSQL
DMS – AWS Database Migration Service used for migrating data from on-prem, AWS RDS, or AWS EC2 DB to another DB on an AWS instance. You can also migrate a DB from an AWS service back to an on-prem DB.  Vendor-specific DB migration service (i.e. Oracle Database Migration)
VPC – AWS Virtual Private Cloud allows customers to launch AWS resources into a pre-defined virtual network. VPC’s like a traditional on-premises network can be further segmented into subnets.  Enterprise network
Direct Connect – 1 gb or 10 gb fiber-optic link from enterprise router to AWS Direct Connect router allowing a direct connection to the AWS cloud and AWS VPC.  ISP business connection
Route 53 – Amazon’s scalable and highly available Domain Name System (DNS). Name is a reference to the ports used by DNS; TCP/UDP port 53. DNS
CodeCommit – Version control service. Git repositories
CodeDeploy – Application deployment service that enables developers to automate deployment and updates as needed. Software deployment, application lifecycle management
CodePipeline – Service that allows developers to diagram and automate the steps to release their software.  Application lifecycle management
CloudWatch – Monitors AWS resources and applications in real-time Monitoring
CloudFormation – Allows customers to quickly create and provision AWS infrastructure using templates.  Infrastructure as Code (IaC). Some examples are Ansible Tower and CFEngine
CloudTrail – Monitoring tool that tracks AWS API calls for your account.  3rd Party Analytics Platform, Google Analytics
Config – Provides detailed view of the resources associated with your AWS account.
OpsWorks – Application and stacks management service.  Chef
Service Catalog – Allows IT admins to create, manage, and distribute portfolios of approved products to end users who can than access those portfolios via a personalized portal.  Access based enumeration
Trusted Advisor – Support for users of AWS. Vendor specific account and billing support.
IAM – Identity and Access Management allows AWS customers to manage users and permissions in AWS. Delegated Administration, Microsoft Active Directory
Directory Service – Allows clients to connect on-prem Microsoft Active Directory infrastructure to AWS or setup new AD infrastructure in the cloud.  Microsoft Active Directory
Inspector – AWS Inspector is a security vunerability assessment tool that helps improve the security and compliance of your AWS resources.  3rd Party Security/Vulnerability Assessment or consulting service (ie. provided by Qualys, Fireeye, Symantec, etc….)
WAF – AWS web application firewall service that allows customers to monitor web requests for AWS CloudFront distributions.  Web Application Firewall
Certificate Manager – AWS service that allows customers to manage and deploy SSL/TLS certificates on AWS-managed resources. Microsoft Certificate Services
EMR – AWS Elastic Map Reduce is a service for processing large amounts of data (web indexing, data mining, log file analysis, machine learning, scientific simulation, data warehousing, etc…)  Hadoop
Data Pipeline – AWS service for automating movement and transformation of data.  Task scheduler
Elasticsearch Service – AWS search and analytics engine.  Elasticsearch, Apache Solr, other Enterprise search engines
Kinesis – AWS Kinesis Streams are used to collect and process large streams of data records in real time.  Real Time Stream Processing
Machine Learning – AWS service that utilizes machine learning models to find patterns in data for building smart applications.  Google Prediction API?
AWS IoT – AWS Internet of Things enables bi-direcitonal communication between internet-connected entities or objects. Internet of Things, Skynet?
GameLift – Fully managed service for deploying, operating, and scaling session-based multiplayer game servers.  Steam, XBox Live, PSN
Mobile Hub – Provides console to help build, test, and monitor mobile applications.  Mobile Application life-cycle
Cognito – AWS service for creating user identities, authentication schemes, and saving mobile user data in AWS.  Federated Identity Provider, Single Sign On
Device Farm – Mobile App testing service that allows customers to test iOS, Android, and Fire OS apps on those physical devices hosted by AWS.  Mobile Device emulators, mobile device lab, Google Cloud Test Lab
Mobile Analytics – AWS service for collecting, visualizing, and understanding app usage data.  3rd Party Mobile App Analytics, Google Mobile Analytics
SNS – AWS Simple Notification Service used for sending and receiving notifications from the cloud.  Email, SMS, HTTP/S notifications
API Gateway – Service for publishing, maintaining, and monitoring APIs.  REST API
AppStream – AWS Service for streaming I/O between hosted applications and personal devices such as computers, tablets, and mobile phones. Citrix XenApp, VMware ThinApp, Microsoft App-V
CloudSearch – AWS service allowing customers to implement a search solution for their website.  Cloud-based search solutions
Elastic Transcoder – AWS service for converting media files stored in AWS S3 into common formats used by consumer playback devices.  Media transcoder
SES – AWS Simple Email Service for sending and receiving email.  Microsoft Exchange
SQS – Simple queue service for handling messages or workflows between other components in a system.
SWF – AWS service for building applications that can coordinate work across distributed components.
WorkSpaces – AWS cloud-based desktop experience for end users. Citrix XenDesktop, VMware Horizon
WorkDocs – AWS fully managed, secure enterprise storage and sharing service Citrix ShareFile, Dropbox, Shared Storage
WorkMail – Managed email and calendaring service Microsoft Outlook