Getting Started with Amazon Web Services

Economist often deal with large and complicated data.  However, the degree to which data is expanding in business, academia, and government in many instances has outpaced the storage and computing capacity of individual personal computers, powerful as they may be. Therefore economists must continue to evolve and adapt to new technologies for storing and modeling ever more expansive data. One such technology is Amazon Web Services.

The objective of this post is to briefly introduce Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a way for economist to do large scale data storage. Future post will expand on this trivial example as well as introduce other AWS services, especially those services that would be most helpful to economist (e.g. renting massive computing power).

Creating an S3 Bucket

S3 is one of the most widely used cloud data storage services one can use on Amazon. Here is the step by step guide on how to create, store, and share a file on S3.

  1. Create and Amazon Web Services account
  2. Go to the S3 service, bottom of this picture Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 11.29.04 PM.png
  3. On the S3 home page, click the Create Bucket button. Congratulations! Now that you have done your first bit of cloud computing, it’s time to put some data in there.Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 11.34.06 PM.png
  4. Click on the bucket that was created, click the ‘upload’ button. Click the add Files button and upload a file from your computer such as a picture.Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 11.45.19 PM
  5. Once you’ve uploaded the file, you need to go to permissions to make it available to anyone over the web. Go to the Properties for the uploaded file, click the Permissions link, then click Add More Permissions.  Choose Everyone from the second drop-down and select the associated Open/Download check box.Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 11.48.51 PM.png
  6. Now you can click on the url and the file will be accessible via the web.

In later post we will take this very simple example and expand upon it to develop ever more complex data storage and computationally intensive algorithms.


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