Amazon is the undisputed leader of the public cloud market. Its scale and pricing, make it an attractive option for organizations of all sizes. In addition, Amazon continues to regularly enhance its portfolio of cloud offerings with new features and services. It seems the company’s recent, very public outages, have not slowed its release cycle.
Amazon has released a new type of EC2 compute instance it is calling “High I/O Quadruple Extra Large” (hi1.4xlarge). The new instances use solid state drive (SSD) technology to provide fast performance to I/O intensive processes like a web-based with real-time data analysis. This isn’t the first SSD-based offering for Amazon Web Services (AWS). In January, the company launched its hosted database service, DynamoDB, which stored its data on SSDs to ensure high throughput rates.
Amazon’s move to SSDs mirrors what’s occurring in the storage market. Factors such as big data and mobile are making fast performance across all levels of the computing stack a necessity. Jeff Barr, AWS Evangelist, confirms this need in his blog entry about the new instance type writing,
“Modern web and mobile applications are often highly I/O dependent. They need to store and retrieve lots of data in order to deliver a rich, personalized experience, and they need to do it as fast as possible in order to respond to clicks and gestures in real time.”
The hi1.4xlarge instances have 8 virtual cores , 60.5GB of memory and 2 SSDs with 1 TB each. In addition, instances feature a 10 Gb/s Ethernet NIC that can be used to create a cluster of instances. Deepak Singh, Product Manager for Amazon EC2, discusses the hi1.4xlarge instances in more detail in a AWS Report video.
Amazon’s CTO, Werner Vogels wrote in his blog that he expects to see an increase in data-centric, I/O hungry applications that will solutions like the hi1.4xlarge instances. There are more than a few studies about the growth of data that support Vogels’ assessment. Amazon is making sure it is ready to take advantage of that new demand. The new instance type and DynamoDB service are only the beginning of Amazon’s SSD adoption. On the EC2 product page, Amazon calls the hi1.4xlarge instances “the first member” of its High I/O EC2 Instance family.
Amazon must continue to innovate and enhance its cloud offerings. Vendors like Microsoft and Oracle have entered the infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service market and are challenging Amazon’s position. They may only have a small share of the market now, but things can change quickly in the cloud.