Using the Amazon Cloud to Host Digital Scholarship Projects

Stewart Varner
Digital Scholarship Coordinator
Emory University

Jay Varner
Digital Scholarship Solutions Analyst
Emory University

As scholars are increasingly attracted to the possibilities of creating online resources, the question of hosting becomes more pressing. There are clear advantages to keeping projects in one place – whether that be a box in an on-site server room or a virtual environment – but often institution-based solutions are too restrictive for experimental projects. Private web hosting companies such as Godaddy offer some advantages but can be similarly inflexible. To answer this challenge, Emory’s Digital Scholarship Commons (DiSC) uses Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) to develop, host and back-up web-based digital projects that are small in scale and experimental in nature. Since the fall of 2012, DiSC has deployed nine websites and two scripts using EC2 in accordance with its mission to to assist researchers incorporate technology into their research. Drawing on our experience with EC2, this project briefing will report on the following:

1. Why EC2 was chosen over both University IT hosting and corporate vendors;
2. How the system works;
3. How we are charged;
4. What advantages we have found with the system;
5. What challenges have emerged.


Last updated:  Monday, June 3rd, 2013