July 20, 2012
This week cloud giant Amazon Web Services announced a new high-capacity instance type for applications that need low-latency access to high-speed solid-state disks (SSDs).
Details were revealed Wednesday by Jeff Barr on the AWS blog:
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.
In order to meet this need, we are introducing a new family of EC2 instances that are designed to run low-latency, I/O-intensive applications, and are an exceptionally good host for NoSQL databases such as Cassandra and MongoDB.
The first member of the new family is the High I/O Quadruple Extra Large (hi1.4xlarge) instance, and it comes outfitted with 8 virtual cores, 2 TB of local SSD-backed storage, and 60.5 GB of RAM with 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. According to Amazon, each instance is capable of delivering at least 120,000 read input and output operations (IOPS) and 80,000 write IOPS, which makes them a good fit for applications that require low latency access to storage, for example, transaction processing, time series analysis, and mobile or streaming apps.
In a related video, Jeff Barr and EC2 Product Manager Deepak Singh note that the SSD-backed instance is well-tuned for running databases, particularly NoSQL databases such as Cassandra and MongoDB, but also relational.
Amazon is not the only cloud provider with SSD on the menu. Switzerland-based CloudSigma offers it and so does SoftLayer. Despite being more expensive, SSD can create major improvements in the right instances. According to CloudSigma's Michael Higgins, an Oracle database running on SSD got over a 300 percent performance improvement on I/O compared with magnetic storage. He says you don't need to put the entire database on SSD, just moving the index and caching points to solid state provides a big boost.
The new instance will initially be restricted to the US-East (N. Virginia) and EU-West (Ireland) regions, but the company plans to expand this availability in the coming months. On-demand instances are offered at $3.10 per hour in the US.
Large-scale, worldwide scientific initiatives rely on some cloud-based system to both coordinate efforts and manage computational efforts at peak times that cannot be contained within the combined in-house HPC resources. Last week at Google I/O, Brookhaven National Lab’s Sergey Panitkin discussed the role of the Google Compute Engine in providing computational support to ATLAS, a detector of high-energy particles at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Frank Ding, engineering analysis & technical computing manager at Simpson Strong-Tie, discussed the advantages of utilizing the cloud for occasional scientific computing, identified the obstacles to doing so, and proposed workarounds to some of those obstacles.
The private industry least likely to adopt public cloud services for data storage are financial institutions. Holding the most sensitive and heavily-regulated of data types, personal financial information, banks and similar institutions are mostly moving towards private cloud services – and doing so at great cost.
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/02/2012 | AMD | Developers today are just beginning to explore the potential of heterogeneous computing, but the potential for this new paradigm is huge. This brief article reviews how the technology might impact a range of application development areas, including client experiences and cloud-based data management. As platforms like OpenCL continue to evolve, the benefits of heterogeneous computing will become even more accessible. Use this quick article to jump-start your own thinking on heterogeneous computing.