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Navigate the AWS Management Interfaces

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you will be able to:

  • Describe the different ways to interact with AWS.
  • Explain AWS Management Console concepts.
  • Explain how developers interact with AWS from within their applications.

Every action you make in AWS is an API call that is authenticated and authorized. In AWS, you can make API calls to services and resources through the AWS Management Console, the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), or the AWS Software Development Kits (SDKs). 

Use the AWS Management Console

The most popular way to manage cloud resources is through the web-based console, where you log in and click on the desired service. Below is a screenshot that shows the landing page when you first log into the AWS Management Console. 

Screenshot of the AWS Management Console landing page

The services are placed in categories, such as compute, database, storage and security, identity and compliance.

On the upper right corner is the Region selector. If you click it and change the Region, you will make requests to the services in the chosen Region. The URL changes, too. Changing the Region directs the browser to make requests to a whole different AWS Region, represented by a different subdomain. In this case, you’re making requests to eu-west-3.console.aws.amazon.com, or the Paris Region’s web console.

Screenshot of the URL bar in a browser, that shows the eu-west-3 Region code

In this trail, you mostly focus on the AWS Management Console. However, it’s important to understand the other methods, why they exist, and when to use each. 

Use the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI)

The AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) is a unified tool to manage AWS services. With just one tool to download and configure, you control multiple AWS services from the command line and automate them with scripts. The AWS CLI is open-source, and there are installers available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. 

Here is an example of running an API call against a service using the AWS CLI, aws ec2 describe-instances

You get this response:

{
    "Reservations": [
        {
            "Groups": [],
            "Instances": [
                {
                    "AmiLaunchIndex": 0,

and so on.

Use Cases for the AWS CLI

Consider the scenario where you run tens of servers on AWS for your cat photo sharing application’s frontend. You want to run a report to collect data from all of these servers. You need to do this programmatically every day because the server details may change. Instead of manually logging into the AWS Management Console and copying/pasting information, you can schedule a AWS CLI script with an API call to pull this data for you.

Another approach for using the AWS CLI is to get resource information programmatically and reuse it in another part of a script. For example, you have servers for three different environments: development, QA, and production. If you wanted to stop all of your development environments over the weekend, you can make an API call using the AWS CLI, pull details about your resources, and stop only the servers that support your development environment.

The AWS CLI is a powerful tool, and you can achieve everything you would achieve by clicking around in the AWS Management Console. However, depending on what you want to do, navigating through the console may be quicker.

Use AWS Software Development Kits (SDKs)

Regardless of whether you are using the AWS Management Console or the AWS CLI, you are making API calls to interact with AWS services.

Those API calls can also be performed by executing code with programming languages. You can do this by using AWS Software Development Kits (SDKs). SDKs are open-source and maintained by AWS for the most popular programming languages, such as C++, Go, Java, JavaScript, .NET, Node.js, PHP, Python, and Ruby.

Developers commonly use AWS SDKs to integrate their application source code with AWS services. Let’s say the frontend of the cat photo application runs in Python and every time it receives a cat photo, it uploads that photo to a storage service. This action can be achieved from within the source code by using the AWS SDK for Python.

DevOps, which is an industry term for developers who also maintain operations, often use the AWS SDKs to perform tasks such as monitoring, provisioning, orchestration, code deployments, and so on. The ability of managing AWS Services from a place where you can run source code with conditions, loops, arrays, lists, and other programming elements, provides endless power and creativity.

Here is an example of how you can work with AWS resources using the Python AWS SDK.

import boto3
ec2 = boto3.client('ec2')
response = ec2.describe_instances()
print(response)

Wrap Up

To use the AWS Management Console, the AWS CLI, or the AWS SDKs, you need to be authenticated and authorized. If you want to perform API calls, you have to have credentials. In the next module, you learn more about how to obtain these credentials and permissions.

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