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Use this cheat sheet as a simple, quick resource as you review and study for AWS certifications and work through our courses. We don’t just want you to memorize definitions — we want you to understand and recognize these terms and concepts, so we’ve taken the definitions AWS has provided and simplified them. Happy training!

Also, let us know in the comments of any other terms you think we should add to the list!

  1. Access control list (ACL): A firewall/security layer on the subnet level
  2. Auto scaling: Automates the process of adding or removing EC2 instances based on traffic demand for your application
  3. Buckets: Root-level “folders”
  4. CloudFront: Content delivery network (CDN) that allows you to store your content at “edge locations” located all around the world, allowing customers to access your content more quickly
  5. CloudTrail: Allows you to monitor all actions taken by IAM users
  6. CloudWatch: Service that allows you to monitor various elements of your AWS account
  7. Consolidated billing: Allows you to view, manage, and pay bills for multiple AWS accounts in one user interface
  8. DNS server: A database of website domains and their corresponding IP addresses
  9. DynamoDB: NoSQL database service that does not provide other NoSQL software options
  10. Elastic Block Store (EBS): Provides persistent block storage volumes for use of EC2 instances.
  11. Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2): A virtual computer, very similar to a desktop/laptop computer
  12. Elastic Load Balancing (ELB): Evenly distributes traffic between EC2 instances that are associated with it
  13. ElastiCache: Data caching service used to help improve the speed/performance of web applications running on AWS
  14. Elasticity: The ability of a system to increase and decrease in size
  15. Fault tolerance: Property that enables a system to continue operating properly in the event of the failure of one or more components
  16. Firewall: A type of software that either allows or blocks certain kinds of internet traffic to pass through it
  17. Folder: Any “subfolder” created in a bucket
  18. High availability: Refers to systems that are durable and likely to operate continuously without failure for a long time
  19. IAM users: Individuals who have been granted access to an AWS account
  20. Identity and Access Management (IAM): Service where AWS user accounts and their access to various AWS services are managed
  21. Lambda: Serverless computing that will replace EC2 instances, for the most part
  22. Object availability: Percent over a one-year time period that a file stored in S3 will be accessible
  23. Object durability: Percent over a one-year time period that a file stored in S3 will not be lost
  24. Object lifecycle: Set rules to automatically transfer objects between storage classes at defined time intervals
  25. Object sharing: Ability to make any object publicly available via a URL link
  26. Object versioning: Automatically keep multiple versions of an object (when enabled)
  27. Organizations: Allow you or your company access to manage billing and access to multiple AWS accounts in one user interface
  28. Principle of least privilege: Giving a user only the rights/access to the AWS services and resources they need to do their job and nothing more
  29. Publishers: Human/alarm/event that gives SNS the message that needs to be sent
  30. Relational Database Service (RDS): SQL database service that provides a wide range of SQL database options to select from
  31. RedShift: Data warehouse database service designed to handle petabytes of data for analysis
  32. Roles: How different AWS services are granted permission to communicate and share data
  33. Route 53: Where you configure and manage web domains for websites or applications you host on AWS
  34. Scalability: The ability of a system to easily increase in size and capacity in a cost-effective way
  35. Security group (SG): Firewall/security layer on the server/instance level
  36. Shared responsibility model: Defines what you and AWS are responsible for when it comes to security and compliance
  37. Simple Notification Service (SNS): AWS service that allows you to automate the sending of email or text messaging notifications based on events that happen in your AWS account
  38. Simple Storage Service (S3): Online bulk storage service you can access from almost any device
  39. Storage class: Represents “classification” assigned to each object in S3 (standard, RRS, S3-IA, Glacier)
  40. Subnet: A subsection of a network and generally includes all the computers in a specific location
  41. Subscriptions: Endpoints to which a topic sends messages
  42. Topics: How you label and group different endpoints to which you send messages
  43. Trusted Advisor: Service that “advises” and helps you optimize aspects of your AWS account
  44. User credentials: IAM user’s username and password for logging in to AWS
  45. Virtual Private Cloud (VPC): A private subsection of AWS you control and in which you can place AWS resources

Many of these terms and simplified definitions were pulled from our AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner course and our new AWS Essentials course! Check them out below to review and refresh your AWS knowledge.

If you want to get hands-on practice using these terms in our live learning environments, check out these notable Hands-on Labs:


Image of Jak
2 years ago

It seem there is typo in # 8, instead of “DNA” it should be “DNS” server.

Image of SophiaP
2 years ago

Thank you, Jak! It has been fixed! What would we do without amazing Linux Academy students like you!

Image of aws
1 year ago

Really nice information you had posted. Its very informative and definitely it will be useful for many people

Image of SophiaP
1 year ago

Thank you so much! We’re glad you are finding it useful!

Image of Ammar
9 months ago

Very useful sheet, I believe there is a type in #29. It should be Relational and not Rational.

Image of Gabe Kiriakos
Gabe Kiriakos
6 months ago

This is a great cheatsheet so thanks! However, a really important element was left out for some reason… EBS (Elastic Block Store). If possible, please append and revise.

Image of LauraArguijo
5 months ago

Glad you found it useful! Thanks for catching that 😀

Image of Henry
6 months ago

AMI? Amazon Machine Images…

Image of LauraArguijo
6 months ago

Hello Henry, thank you for reaching out. If you were wondering what IAM stands for, it stands for identity and access management.


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