AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (2018)

I have recently cleared the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (2018).

Based on my preparation and the exam itself, i have compiled some points as per the index below.

Simple Storage Service (S3)

Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)

Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)

Elastic Block Storage (EBS)


Relational Database Service (RDS)



AWS Certified Solution Architect – Points to remember (miscellaneous)

  1. Simple Queue Service.
    Use Visibility Timeout parameter to avoid duplication of message being processed.
    By Default AWS uses short polling which could incur unnecessary cost to empty response polling.
    Long polling should be used to avoid this.
    ReceiveMessage call sets WaitTimeSeconds to 0.
  2. Simple Notification Service usage.
  3. Simple Workflow Service Usage.
  4. Redshift is a Database Warehouse service.
  5. Uses block size of 1 MB. Compared to other databases which use 2 KB to 32 KB much more efficient and reduces IO’s.
  6. Kenesis is used for streaming data.

AWS Certified Solution Architect – Points to remember (DynamoDB)

  1. Fully managed NoSQL database service.
  2. You cannot select Availability Zone while creating a DynamoDB table.
  3. No Secondary Indexes created by default. Must be created manually if required.
  4. Provisioned capacity set to 5 reads and 5 writes by default.
  5. Amazon DynamoDB stores three geographically distributed replicas of each table to enable high availability and data durability.
  6. Two Consistency models:
    Eventually Consistent Reads (Default): Maximizes read throughput but change might not reflect immediately.
    Strongly Consistent Reads: Can be request and give read speeds of less quicker.
  7. A single Scan will only return a result set that fits within the 1 MB size limit.

AWS Certified Solution Architect – Points to remember (RDS)

  1. Relational Database Service.
  2. Supported databases (AMMMOP – If it helps!)
    Amazon Aurora
    Microsoft SQL
  3. Contrary to DynamoDB, for RDS you can select the availability Zone for RDS in a region.
  4. There is no easy way to encrypt an all already existing unencrypted RDS instance.
    You will have to make a snapshot add and encryption key to snapshot and restore the session using this encrypted snapshot.
  5. All database backups are automatically deleted once you delete the RDS instance.
  6. Default backup retention period is 1 day and can be extended up to 35 days.
  7. Read replicas are Asynchronous and Multi-AZ is Synchronous.
  8. Anything with read performance improvement points to Read Replicas and Anything with availability points to Multi-AZ Deployments.
  9. Backups are automatically deleted if you delete the RDS instance. May be there is still a snapshot if the person who deleted selected this option.

AWS Certified Solution Architect – Points to remember (CloudWatch)

  1. Memory Usage of EC2 instance is not monitored by default. Custom checks must be created.
    CPU Usage, Disk Read operations, Network In and Estimated charges are monitored by default.
  2. By default, metrics are stored at 1-minute resolution in CloudWatch. Default Granularity is 1 minute.
  3. Cloudwatch store the logs for terminated EC2 and EBS volumes for 15 Months by default.
  4. Retention period of the monitored logs depend on the data points. 

AWS Certified Solution Architect – Points to remember (EBS)

  1. Elastic block storage.
  2. Suitable for block based storage, like running an operating system, database, webserver etc..
  3. Encryption can be enabled on EBS volumes while creating the volume.
  4. You cannot disable or enable encryption on the fly. It will need either a data copy or snapshots.
  5. To increase IOPS, add multiple disks and create Raid arrays.
  6. You cannot attached EBS volumes to multiple instances. You can attach it to only one instance at a time.

AWS Certified Solution Architect – Points to remember (EC2)

  1. Uptime SLA for EC2 and EBS within a region is 99.99%
  2. Default cooling period of a Autoscaling group is 5 mins.
  3. Cooling period can be adjusted based on requirement.
  4. AWS lambda scales automatically. No end-user actions required.
  5. User Lambda Environment variables to pass parameters to function. For sensitive information you can use encrypted environment variables.
  6. Remember that both EBS and EFS does not scale automatically.
  7. EFS to expensive compared to EBS. So EBS is cost effective compared to EFS.
  8. EBS volumes cannot be shared between different instances.
  9. Since EFS is network file system, a latency is expected.
  10. Use Lambda instead of EC2 where ever possible. Example there are simple computations to be done which does not need a big EC2 instance or a scenario where your computations should scale to millions of requests automatically.
  11. Regional Reserved Instances do not provide a capacity reservation.
  12. Standard and Convertible Reserved Instances provide a capacity reservation in a specific availability zone.
  13. Application Load Balancer is the most comprehensive ELB available and most cost effective.