ArcGIS as a Service

Last week at the Esri Federal GIS Conference I sat in a couple of sessions on Esri and hosted GIS (what they call “the Cloud”). I even blogged about one of the sessions which I though that Esri did a really good job explaining how hosted GIS works and what you need to know before you bet the farm on it. Buried in there I said this:

I’m happy to see a Linux AMI choice, but unfortunately the news is that I still can’t roll out 10.1 linux myself, I have to use Esri’s AMI.

I’ve said that a couple times before over the years but on the plane ride home from D.C. I started to think about why this was the case.

  1. I’ve been using ArcGIS Server for so long, I feel like I need to have total control over it.
  2. I think I can create an AMI better than the thousands of engineers at Esri.
  3. I won’t be able to use the AMI how I want.
  4. I’m getting old in my age and I don’t like change.

OZ Gatekeeper

I want to be my own gatekeeper.

I think that about covers it. When it comes down to it, I’m just worried that ArcGIS Server on AWS using Esri’s AMI might be bloated and slow. I think deep down I could probably configure that thing in a way that would make it sing. But as I sat on the runway at JFK for an hour waiting to take off, I began to second guess myself. Let me turn those 4 points back on themselves.

  1. Sure I’ve been using ArcGIS Server forever, but Esri’s AMI isn’t locked down. It’s a full featured ArcGIS Server (depending on how you license it).
  2. While I’m darn good at what I do, something tells me that Esri probably knows how to scale ArcGIS in AWS. And seriously, scaling ArcGIS Server is a huge pain in the rear so why do I think I want to handle that myself?
  3. I use AMIs all the time that I didn’t create myself.
  4. I don’t want to get a neck beard so I better stop thinking like that.

So ArcGIS Server 10.1 will be on Ubuntu as an AMI and all I have to do is request Esri to release it to me. Let’s just ignore the licensing for a minute, that’s pretty sweet. I need an ArcGIS Server? Bam, there it is. But the sweetness only goes so far, I’m still stuck without an ELA so this utopia isn’t as wonderful as it seemed while our airplane was in line waiting to take off. Still, if Esri can ever figure out how the licensing works for users like me, there might be a great future here.

So this is where I embrace the new world order on using ArcGIS Server with AWS and just let Esri handle the details as to how ArcGIS Server should work. I can focus on what I really want to focus on, leveraging ArcGIS Server for my customers (again, assuming the licensing is ever resolved). Almost there…

Homer Esri

Time to dig that Esri shirt back out and wear it proudly.

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