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Migrating Department of Education Web Mapping App to AWS EC2


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The U.S. Department of Education (ED) participated in the Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) GeoCloud Program in 2012. The GeoCloud initiative provides selected agencies an Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosting platform to on-ramp their geospatial applications. ED migrated its on-premises ArcGIS for Server for the School District Demographic Data System (SDDS) Map Viewer ( to Amazon EC2. SDDS is publicly available and allows access to information about demographics, social characteristics, and economics of children and school districts from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Using GeoCloud, ED gained experience with cloud-based Windows 2008R2 Server and Esri ArcGIS 10.1 for Server platform. It has been almost one year now and we'll reflect on various lessons learned including planning, security/hardening, AWS console, server configuration, reliability, licensing, and backup strategy. We will discuss the current state of our server deployments and future plans for ED in the Cloud.

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Migrating Department of Education Web Mapping App to AWS EC2

  1. 1. MIGRATING DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION WEB MAPPING APP TO AWS EC2 Presented by Tai Phan, NCES & Amy Ramsdell, Blue 2013 ESRI International User Conference – July 11, 2013
  2. 2. FGDC’S GEOCLOUD INITIATIVE  FGDC-sponsored hosting in Amazon Web Services (AWS)  A Geospatial Platform activity led by FGDC’s Douglas Nebert  GeoCloud provides a common platform for deploying and documenting geospatial cloud services  Enables organizations to  Leverage other agencies’ experiences  Reuse and share server configurations  Gain experience in cloud-based server and application deployment
  3. 3. DEPT OF ED’S PARTICIPATION IN GEOCLOUD  National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) The primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing education-related data  NCES uses ESRI technologies to provide geospatial context to education data  Two NCES Projects have migrated to GeoCloud in 2012  School District Demographic Data System  Public School Boundary Collection and Verification Project
  7. 7. PLANNING  Costs to project for expansion:  Operating hours – Reserved instances  BYOL for RDS and AMIs with database  ArcGIS licensing  Disk space  ~ 40 GB taken by OS and Programs  Support forums or paid support  Amazon staff active in forums  Amazon restrictions:  Elastic IPs – Limit of 5  Security groups – Can’t change once applied  SMTP – Undisclosed limit, consider Simple Email Service (SES)
  9. 9. SERVER CONFIGURATION - AGS AMI  Considerations for ArcGIS Server Windows 2008 Server AMI  Need Web Adaptor for port 80 otherwise open port 6080 in security group  WWW service turned off by default
  10. 10. SERVER CONFIGURATION - UPDATES  Apply any Windows updates
  11. 11. SERVER CONFIGURATION - PORTS Lock down SQL Server Express dynamic port setting to 1433
  12. 12. SERVER CONFIGURATION - PORTS  ArcGIS license manager is based on machine ID  ID will change when used as an AMI template  Lock down the license manager ports to 27000 and 27001
  13. 13. MONITORING  System/instance Status Checks - 2/2 checks  Can create status check alarm
  14. 14. MONITORING  Amazon Service Health Dashboard Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (N. Virginia)  Website monitoring
  17. 17. BACKUP STRATEGY  Instance backups  Powershell scripts  : AWS Disaster Recovery Automation  Scheduled task on Micro instance Windows 2008 server  Daily volume snapshots  Weekly AMIs  Clean up snapshots and AMIs  Database backup to S3  Using Cloudberry and Powershell
  18. 18. SECURITY – AMAZON LEVEL  May, 2013 AWS received ATO from the Department of Health and Human Services FedRAMP at the Moderate impact level for AWS GovCloud (U.S.) and all U.S. Regions  AWS admins  All accesses logged and audited  Cannot log in to instances  EC2 Instance isolation on physical machine  Use VPC for dedicated instances
  19. 19. SECURITY – IAM CONSOLE  Control users and groups within account  Unique security credentials for access keys and login/passwords
  20. 20. SECURITY – INBOUND RULES  Inbound network traffic controlled through security groups  Ports 80 and 443 only open to the internet  RDP 3389, MS SQL 1433, ArcGIS License Manager 27000, 27001 ports by IP
  21. 21. FUTURE PLANS  Transition instances to NCES cloud environment  Migrate front-facing applications to NCES cloud  Achieve FISMA C&A for Low Impact/Low Risk system
  22. 22. GAL (GIANT ACRONYM LIST) 1) AGS – ArcGIS Server 2) AMI - Amazon Machine Images 3) ATO – Authority to Operate 4) AWS – Amazon Web Services 5) BYOL - Bring Your Own License 6) C&A - Certification and Accreditation 7) EC2 - Elastic Cloud Compute 8) FedRAMP – Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program 9) FISMA - Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 10) HHS – Department of Health and Human Services 11) IAM – Identity and Access Management 12) RDP - Remote Desktop Protocol 13) RDS - Relational Database Service 14) S3 - Simple Storage Service 15) SES – Simple Email Service 16) SMTP - Simple Mail Transfer Protocol 17) VPC – Virtual Private Cloud
  23. 23. FOR MORE INFORMATION: Amy Ramsdell aramsdell @ 703-842-0177 Tai Phan 202-502-7431