What is Amazon Web Services?

Amazon Web Services. “A data center under your desk” that you pay only for what you use. From Amazon itself: “Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a secure cloud services platform, offering compute power, database storage, content delivery and other functionality to help businesses scale and grow….leverag[e] AWS cloud products and solutions to build sophisticated applications with increased flexibility, scalability and reliability.”

How do I request an AWS account from the campus contract?

A very simple form found here: aws.illinois.edu (click “Sign Up”). 

(If you are in engineering, your IT support email is almost certainly engrit-help [at] illinois [dot] edu)

How do I log in once I have an AWS account?

Go to aws.illinois.edu and select “Log In”. You will use your campus username/password.

If you have more than one account, or more than one role within an account, you will then select which you want to log in as. To switch roles, return to aws.illinois.edu and select “log in” again.

How does billing work?

There is a discount applied to any AWS spend—the exact discount depends on the usage of the entire Internet2 community so it varies.

A campus CFOP is required for the account. The bill will come once a month to the department via the Pinnacle bill from Technology Services. Currently bills are applied 2-3 months after usage, so please watch your usage carefully. Charges are passed through as billed from Amazon—neither Engineering IT nor Technology Services adds fees to the bill, and they are also non-negotiable. Please watch your spend in your accounts.

The cost is being billed as a general service under account code 124900. (This is relevant for determining if allowed under some grants).

Is it always cheaper to do things in AWS?

No. Some things are easier/cheaper in AWS, for others campus provides the same options for less. Sometimes you will need to rework what you are doing to take proper advantage of AWS. So running a virtual machine to run an application may be more expensive—but if you can just run the application via AWS (and not a virtual machine) then it might be cheaper—and have less maintenance to do!  To really use AWS effectively often requires rethinking or rearchitecting.  

AWS is a nice way to have access to resources for a short time or to be able to make frequent changes to your setup if you need significant flexibility.

Anything unusual about the campus setup as compared to AWS normal?

Yes. DO NOT USE reservations or credits normally. Contact aws-support [at] illinois [dot] edu and coordinate with them before submitting those to be sure applied to the correct account. Otherwise it will be applied to a random account. If the campus administrators know it is coming they can get it to the right place. 

Amazon Educate is not included in the contract and Amazon tried to revert the license language back to their standard, so we currently can’t use that program—Internet2 is trying to get that glitch fixed.

Otherwise, just the billing process is a bit strange, and covered above.

Who can I ask for help?

Engrit-help [at] illinois [dot] edu.   

If you need technical support or setup with AWS we may be able to provide this via a fee based service, depending on what you need done. The only assistance provided by the college itself is the original provisioning of the account.

Do we have other Cloud options on campus?

Not at this time. Other cloud options are working through the purchasing process, but only AWS is available at the moment.

What if I want to know more?

Technology Services info is here: http://cloud.illinois.edu/ and http://aws.illinois.edu/ and training sessions are listed there.

You can also email engrit-help [at] illinois [dot] edu and we will  answer your questions or connect you with people who can.

If you are interested in research IT resources on campus in general, contact Mark Hart ( mshart [at] illinois [dot] edu ), our Research Technology Facilitator.

Get Help

Questions about this topic? Don't see what you're looking for?

Email engrit-help [at] illinois [dot] edu, call the Help Desk at 217-333-1313, or contact your primary IT support professional.