High capacity Amazon cloud computing update targets app bottlenecks

SSD-backed Amazon offering is ideal for database, big data analytics functions, analyst says

Amazon Web Services Thursday released a solid state drive-backed cloud compute offering that one industry watcher says is among the highest capacity ones on the market.

AWS's High I/O Quadruple Extra Large instance in Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) includes 2TB of local SSD-backed storage with 60.5GB of RAM running on eight virtual cores. AWS says it can achieve as many as 120,000 random read input/output operations per second (IOPS) and between 10,000 and 85,000 write IOPS. In announcing the offering, Amazon officials wrote that it's aimed at NoSQL databases such as Cassandra and MongoDB.

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AWS makes weekly, if not daily, updates to its cloud offering but Paul Burns, an analyst at Neovise, says this is one of AWS's more significant updates. "There are all kinds of great use cases for something like this," he says. Applications are often bottlenecked by the their access to databases, he says, and having high capacity compute power, particularly with 2TB of SSD-backed disks, could help speed database processing for customers.

AWS is not the first company to offer SSD-backed compute instances: Softlayer, for example, has such an offering. And AWS isn't the first to offer high-capacity local storage either. Managed dedicated hosting providers such as TORQHost and Ajubeo each have high-capacity options. But AWS's offering appears to be one of the highest capacity SSD-backed cloud-based services, meaning that it's instantly accessible via APIs, Burns says.

The service is currently only available in AWS's US East Region and EU West region, which is in Ireland, but officials hope to expand the service to additional regions later this year. On-demand instances are available at $3.10 per hour in the U.S. and AWS says it is the first in a "new family" of high capacity offerings the company hopes to release.

Mehdi Daoudi is founder and CEO of Catchpoint, a SaaS-based performance monitoring company, and he's interested in the new AWS offering. Catchpoint currently uses a managed hosting provider as its core data center. "This is a game changer," he says. Daoudi has looked into other providers but none have been able to offer both the compute capacity combined with the geographic availability that AWS has. He's not yet sure if he'll convert to AWS, but he says the Catchpoint team will be investigating it. He's hopeful the high-capacity offering could allow Catchpoint to consolidate into a smaller number of compute servers hosting his application.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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