I don't proof read.

Guide to AWS acronyms

January 30, 2018

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a lot of awful Three Letter Acronyms (TLAs), with many very similar abbreviations for very different services. This leads to some confusion between customers and support, because most of the time the customer says the acronym for one service but is actually talking about another service. Here’s a breakdown of all the big abbreviations I can think of.

letters

Rules of Thumb (RoT)

If it starts with an E, it probably means Elastic (see Elastic Cloud Compute, Elastic Load Balancer, etc.)

If it starts with an S, it probably means Simple (see Simple Email Service, Simple Storage Service, etc.)

If it starts with a C, it probably means Cloud (see CloudWatch, CloudTrail, CloudFormation, etc.)

Table of Acronyms (ToA)

Acronym Service Notes
ACM AWS Certificate Manager Formerly Amazon Certificate Manager, but now it’s a TLA within a TLA
ALB Application Load Balancer
CFN CloudFormation Not CloudFront
CF CloudFront See above
CB CodeBuild
CP CodePipeline Although I avoid this acronym most of the time
CD CodeDeploy
CLB Classic Load Balancer The sort of new name for the regular old ELBs, as opposed to new ALBs. But most people still just call them ELBs
EC2 Elastic Cloud Compute
EFS Elastic File System
EB Elastic Beanstalk
ECS Elastic Container Service Until recently called EC2 Container Service, the release of Fargate means dropping the EC2 and replacing it with Elastic. ECS is constantly mixed up with EC2 by customers
ECR Elastic Container Repository
ELB Elastic Load Balancer Not Elastic Beanstalk
EBS Elastic Block Store NOT Elastic Beanstalk. This is by far the worst offender.
IAM Identity and Access Management Not Amazon Machine Image
AMI Amazon Machine Image See above
ENI Elastic Network Interface Depending on your native tongue, you might pronounce the letter E the same way English speaking people pronounce the letter A, meaning AMI and ENI sound very similar coming from an Italian person’s mouth
OW OpsWorks
RDS Relational Database System
R53 Route 53
S3 Simple Storage Service
SES Simple Email Service
SNS Simple Notification Service
SQS Simple Queue Service
VPC Virtual Private Cloud
KMS Key Management Service

I hope all is clear now, until AWS releases a bunch of new services.

Photo by Amador Loureiro on Unsplash


Matt Carrick

Written by Matt Carrick.
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