However, cloud computing comes with its own set of challenges that need to be balanced against the potential advantages. There can be a steep learning curve for using cloud services, especially for more complex applications. Code modifications are often required for applications to take full advantage of these services. Adding additional services and resiliency can quickly become expensive, and the demand-based cost structure makes it difficult to accurately predict operating expenses. Relying on a single provider introduces vendor lock-in, and even the largest providers are not immune to widespread outages. The implications of giving code and data access to the cloud provider must also be considered.
This case study will examine the deployment of the National Cattle Comfort Advisor (http://cattlecomfort.mesonet.us) to Amazon Web Services (AWS). This is the Oklahoma Mesonet’s first cloud-based application, so this was a useful learning experience. The case study will focus on some of the practical aspects of deploying to AWS and the cloud in general, including the decisions that need to be made, the tools and services that are available, and the pitfalls of cloud-based applications.