GeoNet is a New Zealand business that monitors geological hazards and providing real-time alerts during earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

In 2010 there was a major 7.1 earthquake in Christchurch when this happened GeoNet had a manual notification system that they used the fastest they could get notifications out was nine minutes and if they had to boot up the computer it was longer and could take up to twenty minutes depending on the complexity of the hazard.

Since they had a local infrastructure text message notifications alone cost them $7,500 during the event of 2010 earthquake and then averaged $3,000 a month for the rest of the year. The typical cost was $2,500 a month. GeoNet wanted to reduce their costs and support their growing services to reach as many people as possible.

After reviewing other cloud providers, they decided to go for AWS for their ease of configuration speeds, “AWS gives our developers the ability to click on a web browser and spin up an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance in less than a minute,” says Clitheroe.

They initially started off with an object-relational database system within an EC2 instance, but as they expanded they transferred their database to SimpleDB and used Elastic beanstalk for their auto-scaling to support their growing users and also provide redundancy.

The main benefit they have seen is that instead of sending notifications to 700 users in the emergency sector they now deliver tens of thousands of users which costs $2,500 per month which if they were using their old system it would have cost $750,000 in delivery costs alone.


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