Johanan Liebermann

Software Developer

The Hidden Meaning Behind AWS Service Names

Posted on Jun 16, 2016

Elastic Beanstalk, Route 53, Redshift—ever wondered about the meaning of these strange AWS service names? I have, and I’ve got some theories about them. None of the following has been confirmed by Amazon—it’s just my ideas on how the guys at AWS have come up with these mysterious names for some of their services.

Elastic Beanstalk

Elastic Beanstalk is a reference to the English fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk. In this tale, the boy Jack plants magic beans in the ground and they magically grow into a giant beanstalk.

What’s the point? In Elastic Beanstalk you, umm… ”plant” your code and it magically grows into a working service.

The Elastic Beanstalk icon on the AWS console resembles a plant with leaves on each side. It even used to be green before AWS has moved Elastic Beanstalk under the Compute category.

Route 53

This is a clever one: it is a reference to the old U.S. Route 66 highway, combined with the fact that 53 is the well-known port number for the DNS service.

In many AWS diagrams the Route 53 service is represented as an icon in the shape of a U.S. Route shield.

Not only that, but the Route 53 icon on the AWS console looks very much like a direction sign.


This one is a long shot, but it might as well be right. Redshift is a term in physics which relates to the increase in the wavelength of light, which causes light to shift towards the red end of the spectrum. It is also a primary evidence for the fact that our universe is expanding.

So, what does this have to do with AWS? Well, the Redshift AWS service is a data warehousing service intended for huge amounts of data. My guess is that they’ve chosen this name to hint that, like the universe, the Redshift service expands forever.

What do you think?

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