Quick update on student’s AWS usage

I just sent this note out to my students:

I just wanted to share with you some numbers on the entire course’s AWS usage. These numbers are for all accounts, including my account used for hosting some of the services, such as the WMS and tile cache in Week 7.

3.2TB of storage has been provisioned in EBS drives. Cost: $322.63.
9,713 hours of EC2 instances have been running. Cost: $314.06.
76,308 tiles have been served up from CloudFront. Cost: $1.88 (approximately), which includes transfer, storage, and serving.
Total bill for August, so far: $658, which includes other minor charges.

The storage cost is also very high because each of you have copied the AMIs on my account, so you could arguably divide that by 16 or more and get a number closer to what you would see if you implemented a GIS server on your own from a publicly shared AMI.

If you can generate your map tiles locally – or even on EC2, but then shut down your instance – you can host some awesome web maps for very little money. And if you want a live server running, too, it won’t break the bank.

So far, I’ve been receiving positive feedback on using a cloud computing platform for teaching server-side GIS. Except for a few hiccups related to security settings, remote desktop, and an issue with EBS drives not mounting, it’s been a good experience for everyone – myself definitely included.

Tomorrow is the start of Week 8, where the students will be presenting their final projects – a web mapping application of their own design. I will post links (and screenshots, for posterity) of the projects as they’re submitted.

Thanks again to Amazon Web Services for the Education Grant supporting this course.