ArcGIS Server Cloud Licensing

Eyewall of Hurricane
Hurricane Katrina’s Eyewall

Animoto is a startup company that had to spin up 5000 Amazon EC2 instances in one week. They started on a Monday with 50 instances and by the end of the week they had 5000. Then a few weeks later they were back down to about 100. If they were using using Oracle for their database or the enterprise versions of Hyperic or Zenoss for their monitoring how would they have been charged?

Thinking Out Loud has a good post about the difficulty of adapting per-cpu licensing models to the cloud.

Spinning Up in a Cloud
It got me wondering about what plans, if any, ESRI might have for deployment of ArcGIS Server (AGS) to the cloud. It seems likely that the AGS scalability bottleneck will soon be a result of licensing rather than technology. Maybe it is already?

I still don’t see any premiere AGS server sites that I can point people to. Is this due to the in-elastic licensing model?

Take, for example, an emergency operations center. On a typical day, the load will be very low. During an emergency event, the load will skyrocket. The licensing model needs to support adding CPUs during peaks without requiring payment for idle CPUs during low periods.

This doesn’t just apply to AGS. I really would like to see a site that hosted CruiseControl.NET where I could configure it to autobuild ArcObjects based assemblies and run unit tests. Figuring out a fair pricing model will not be easy.

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2 comments so far

  1. Sean Gillies on

    The business people could find it tricky to come up with harmonious per-CPU and instance-hour pricing. Amazon doesn’t sell EC2 except as a service, so they don’t have the same conflict.

  2. Kirk Kuykendall on

    I wonder if a cloud version of ESRI’s license manager could be developed that could be configured to automatically purchase cpu-hour credits from esri.com on an as-needed basis. Aren’t people that provide EC2 deployable tools already doing something like this?


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