Self Service Cloud Computing

amazon cloud image

Self Service Cloud Computing allows UCSC faculty, staff, and students (with a faculty/staff sponsor) to order, provision, and use computing resources from an approved cloud services provider. That approved provider for UCSC is Amazon Web Services. 

The University of California has negotiated a contract with Amazon Web Services (AWS) that includes acceptance of UC terms and conditions. This contract has a unique set of terms and conditions that are specific to the University of California campuses. In addition, Amazon Web Services is allowing the procurement of services using a UC purchase order via CruzBuy. You will signup for an account with AWS, get your purchase order through CruzBuy, and activate your account with your purchase order. AWS will provide invoices to your email address. View AWS Contract

Amazon Web Services Available

For the complete and current list of services available, please visit Amazon Web Services.

  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud delivers scalable, pay-as-you-go compute capacity in the cloud. More information
  • Auto Scaling allows you to automatically scale your Amazon EC2 capacity up or down according to conditions you define. More information
  • Amazon Elastic Block Store provides block level storage volumes for use with Amazon EC2 instances. Amazon EBS volumes are off-instance storage that persists independently from the life of an instance. More information
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service provides a fully redundant data storage infrastructure for storing and retrieving any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the Web. More information
  • Amazon CloudWatch provides a monitoring system that will estimate Amazon Web Service charges. More information
  • Amazon Web Service Support offers one-on-one support that operates 24/7 by Amazon's technical support engineers. AWS support also offers different levels of support. More information


With Cloud Services, you pay for what you use; for most services, there is no minimum fee. The AWS monthly cost calculator can show you the estimated monthly cost of various services and configurations: AWS Cloud Service Calculator

AWS also offers a free usage tier!
To learn more about this program and to understand its limits, visit: AWS Free Usage Tier. All new AWS accounts atomatically signed up for the free usage tier for 12 months. During this period, you can still track your free-tier usage, and set up billing alarms so you'll know if your account exceeds the limits of the free tier.

Except for the free usage tier, AWS charges for use of their services, usually by the hour or any part of an hour that a service is used. AWS provides many different price tiers, and many ways to reduce your costs.

Managing the usage of AWS resources on an ongoing basis is very important to managing your costs. Pricing for each service is listed on the AWS website. More information

Sign up for Self Service Cloud Computing

You can set up your AWS account using either a UCSC Pro-Card or Purchase Order. You might want to consult with your local financial person to see if they have a preference; either method will require processing a monthly bill.

Both the Purchase Order method (automatically) and the Pro-Card method (by request) can be covered by the University of California terms and conditions. The workflow for each method is defined below.

Ordering AWS services: Workflow for Purchase Order

  • Determine the dollar amount of your PO and the FOAPAL you want to use.
  • Sign up for an account at this special AWS site: Sign up for AWS
    Instructions on How to Sign Up (PDF)
  • Be sure to use your email address.
    NOTE: If you use your UCSC account for your personal account, you will want to change that email address to a non-ucsc account on your personal account. You may also use a plus in the account address, for example for your AWS account. 
  • AWS will assign you a twelve-digit account number; be sure to make a note of it.
  • Create a requisition in CruzBuy using the Blanket PO Request form, including your AWS twelve-digit account number as an external note.
  • Procurement will review and approve the requisition, then create a purchase order and distribute it to AWS. This provides AWS with the information required to set up the account for PO invoicing.
  • AWS will set up the account up for PO invoicing, and confirm when your account is ready to go. This confirmation will be sent to the email address that was used to set up the account. This may take a couple of days after the PO has been issued.
  • Each month, AWS will send an invoice to FAST, and FAST will pay AWS.
  • Workflow tips:
    • If you have more than one account, or want to track or pay for different services with different FOAPALs, it is recommended that you set up a separate PO for each.
    • If this is for a long-term project:
      • Determine the dollar amount for the current fiscal year spend
      • Place this amount on one PO line
      • If you expect to span to the next fiscal year, add a second PO line at $10, as a placeholder to keep the PO open
    • Need more help? Contact Procurement Services for more information about ordering AWS services.

Ordering AWS services: Workflow for Pro-Card

  • Sign up for an account at the standard AWS site: Standard Registration
  • Be sure to use your email address. You will also need to enter your Pro-Card information and bill-to address.
  • Send an email to to request that your account should be covered by the UC AWS Enterprise Agreement terms. Your email must include your AWS twelve-digit account number.
  • Each month, AWS will charge your Pro-Card but will not send a detailed invoice; you can get these details through the AWS management console, and set up billing alerts there as well.

More Information About Amazon Web Services

Shared Security Model at AWS
AWS has a "shared responsibility model" for information security and compliance. Because you're building systems on top of the AWS cloud infrastructure, the security responsibilities will be shared: AWS has secured the underlying infrastructure and you must secure anything you put on the infrastructure.

This means that there are several security decisions you need to make and controls you must configure. For information on how to configure a particular AWS service, see the documentation for that service.

For more tips on security with AWS, you can check out the following resources:

If you're not comfortable taking on these responsibilities, consult with your ITS Divisional Liaison or consider using the Managed Cloud Services model instead.

AWS Responsibilities                      Customer Responsibilities
  • Facilities
  • Physical Security
  • Physical Infrastructure
  • Network Infrastructure
  • Virtualization Infrastructure
  • Certifications for the above
  • Operating System
  • Account Management
  • Application Security Groups
  • Operating System Firewalls
  • Network Configuration
  • Certifications for your applications

Amazon Web Services offers a complete set of infrastructure and application services that enable you to run virtually everything in the cloud: from enterprise applications and big data projects to social games and mobile apps. Amazon Web Services provides IT infrastructure services including Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Simple Storage (S3), and Elastic MapReduce.

AWS Support - Need Help?

Free, community-based support is available in the AWS Forums

AWS Support is a one-on-one, fast-response support channel that is staffed 24x7x365 with experienced and technical support engineers. (This is a paid service.)