Profile PictureDaniel Vassallo

The Good Parts of AWS

126 ratings

This is not your typical reference book. It doesn't cover all of AWS or all its quirks. Instead, we want to help you realize which AWS features you’d be foolish not to use. Features for which you almost never need to consider alternatives. Features that have passed the test of time by being at the backbone of most things on the internet.

Making technical choices can be overwhelming. As developers, we have to make many choices from what seems like unlimited options. We have to choose a programming language, an application framework, a database, a cloud vendor, software dependencies, and many other things. AWS alone offers about 150 services, all with their own set of options and features, sometimes even overlapping with each other. In this book, we will reveal a technique we use ourselves to help make reliable technical choices without getting paralyzed in the face of so many options. This technique will be presented in the context of AWS, but it can be generalized to any other technical decision.

This is a book by Daniel Vassallo and Josh Pschorr. Between us, we have worked with AWS for 15 years, including 11 years working inside AWS. We have worked on all sorts of web applications, from small projects to massive web services running on thousands of servers. We have been using AWS since it was just three services without a web console, and we even got to help build a small part of AWS itself.

This is an opinionated book. We only cover topics we have significant first-hand experience with. You won't find most of the knowledge we share here in the AWS docs.

Book Sample

Here's a sample from the book. No email address necessary.


  •   Preface
  •   Part 1: The Good Parts
  •      The Default Heuristic
  •      DynamoDB
  •      S3
  •      EC2
  •      EC2 Auto Scaling
  •      Lambda
  •      ELB
  •      CloudFormation
  •      Route 53
  •      SQS
  •      Kinesis
  •   Part 2: The Bootstrap Guide
  •      Starting from Scratch
  •      Infrastructure as Code
  •      Automatic Deployments
  •      Load Balancing
  •      Scaling
  •      Production
  •      Custom Domains
  •      HTTPS
  •      Network Security


Is this book good for a beginner dipping the toes into AWS?

Absolutely. The first part is very high level. It's our opinionated perspective of the most important AWS products and how we think about them (which is not exactly how Amazon describes them). The second part is more technical, and written for developers who want to set up an AWS environment from scratch and understand what’s going on.

What's the refund policy?

If what you see is not what you expected, just reply to the download email within 30 days, and you'll get a full refund. No questions asked.

Can I share this book with my team?

This version is for individual use only, but you can also get a team license to share within your team, class, or organization.

Praise from others

"This book is worth its weight in gold for the opening chapter alone, which is about how to make technology choices. The AWS guidance is excellent too. Recommended!"

Brian Scanlan (@brian_scanlan)

"Really enjoyed reading "The Good Parts of AWS" by @dvassallo - I had quite a few 'aha' moments despite having been working at Amazon for 4 years (last two in AWS!) Nice job!"

Nicola Apicella (@napicellatwit)

"OK this book is fantastic - this is by far the clearest explanation I've seen of DynamoDB and I'm only on page 9"

Simon Willison (@simonw)

"I'm only halfway through this book and it is already worth well more than I paid for it."

Jonathan Taylor (@log4code)

"Just finished part 1.. exceptionally useful guide to AWS! It's concise, easy to understand & provides a great, practical framework to navigate the AWS core offerings for beginners & experts alike."

Justin Berman (@justinberman95)

"I've started following @dvassallo since he left AWS and not only his story is worthwhile, but also this book. It guides you through most useful AWS services in an easy to digest form. I highly recommend this!"

Rafal Wilinski (@rafalwilinski)

"Bought and started reading. Love the straight to the point approach. Every line is 'highlightable'"

Chibuzor "Odai" Obiora (@nbyodai)

"I don't buy books because I never read them. Sad truth. I bought this one because it is an important topic to me. Read a few pages and it is really worth it. Thanks!"

Iuri de Silvio (@iurisilvio)

"Picked up 'The Good Parts of AWS' by @dvassallo and @josh_pschorr. Excellent, very practical, advice based in a pragmatic approach to technology choices. There’s value here both for newcomers as well as those who have been using AWS for a while."

Axel Larsson (@WindexCowboy)

"This is a great read. I highly recommend if you are building applications for #aws"

Michael Russo (@russomidev)

"I've been avoiding buying it, but finally decided to pull the trigger. About a third of the way through, and it's been really thought provoking so far. Considering some changes I can make to apps I've built. Thank you!"

Dennis Beatty (@dnsbty)

"I treated myself to this goodie for the holidays. Starts with a lot of truth. "Making technical choices can be overwhelming. As developers, we have to make many choices from what seems like unlimited options. [...] Searching for the optimal option is almost always expensive.""

Matt (@digitalbreed)

"This is a really good book and you will learn a lot even if you have been using AWS for a while!"

Pawan Chopra (@minifiedpc)

"I’m really enjoying your style of writing, I usually skip big chunks of tech books for irrelevance. I would have finished your book in a day if it weren’t for a cold I caught."

Mohamed Said (@themsaid)

"I bought and read this AWS guide written by two former AWS employees. Highly recommended."

Steve McLeod (@steveofmcleod)

"Bought "The Good Parts of AWS" from @dvassallo!!! Although i don't have enough experience with AWS, it seems to be clear and precise!!! Going to dig in!"

Demetris Mina (@MinaDemetris)

"Really enjoying “The Good Parts of AWS” - nicely written @dvassallo"

Aidan Keane (@aidankeane74)

"Just finished reading this book. I highly recommend it to everyone who is interested in or is already working with AWS. You will probably learn a thing or two (or a million things if you are a beginner like me with AWS)"

Davor Minchorov (@davorminchorov)

"Comparing each service in AWS to a data structure is a great way to explain them, props to @dvassallo who did this in his excellent The Good Parts of AWS."

Francesco Di Lorenzo (@frankdilo)

"Btw, I really love “The Good Parts of AWS” by @dvassallo & @josh_pschorr. Almost half-way!"

Prosper Otemuyiwa (@unicodeveloper)

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If you're not 100% satisfied with the purchase, or it's not what you were expecting, just reply to the download email within 30 days, and you'll get a full refund. No questions asked.

Last updated May 22, 2023

Dec 2019
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(126 ratings)
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The Good Parts of AWS

126 ratings
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