ESRI's ArcGIS maps it way into Amazon's cloud

Geographic information system software vendor Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI) took a big step into the cloud space today with the announcement that its ArcGIS product will be offered as a service using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing platform.

The announcement came as ESRI launches its Federal User Conference today in Washington, D.C.

Initially ESRI will offer ArcGIS Server Enterprise Advanced v10, along with a few extensions, on AWS. "The ArcGIS Server Amazon Machine Images, hosted in the AWS cloud, will not be made available until the ArcGIS Server v10 release [in July], and only for customers under an ESRI Enterprise License Agreement," says Victoria Kouyoumjian, IT Strategy Architect at ESRI. Users who don't want to wait for the release of v10 can run ArcGIS Server 9.3.1 in the cloud, but that requires retaining ESRI Professional Services to assist in getting it up and running.

ESRI already offers its maps and data online through its ArcGIS Online service and last summer launched its MapIt service, a GIS business analysis software as a service offering for Microsoft platforms. ESRI also offers its Business Analyst Online consumer demographic reporting and mapping service.

In a Computerworld interview with ESRI founder Jack Dangermond last summer, ESRI's president said the next step would be to not only host data in the cloud but let users run its ArcGIS Server product in the cloud as well. Today's announcement fufills that promise.

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