Amazon Goes All-In on In-Memory Instances

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Amazon Web Services continues its expansion of high-end cloud instances with a specialized in-memory environment featuring both solid-state storage and large amounts of RAM. With the advent of in-memory computing databases like SAP HANA, Amazon is readying for next-gen cloud computing -- the channel should take note.

awsAmazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Web Services (AWS) continues to innovatee in the hosting space with a super-charged "High Memory Cluster Eight Extra Larger" instance, a purpose-built environment for the Amazon EC2 platform.

Each instance offers dual 8-core Intel Xeon processors, 244GB of RAM, 240 GB of solid-state storage and high bandwidth networking capabilities that support "cluster placement groups." This represents a 16-core computing unit with zero spinning parts -- a speed strategy widely used in everything from consumer laptops to the most important cloud computing environments.

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AWS is targeting these instances at customers that demand in-memory applications, in-memory database services like SAP AG's HANA and other high-end, intensive engineering and scientific situations. It's conceivable to see these high-end instances leveraged in the upper echelons of the health care industry, where access to records and patient information needs to be as fast as possible, in addition to high-end research areas that can deliver test results and other health-centric information in near-real time.

Providers and customers can spin up these non-spinning instances at $3.50 per hour with Linux and $3.831 with Windows. The only caveat: AWS US East is the only region currently supporting them.

Amazon has been big on making speed a defining factor for the cloud, a smart move as high availability and higher quality of service is demanded from the cloud. Amazon's latest moves include the specialized Data Pipeline and High Storage Instances, designed to make data migration a quick and painless process while the new storage instances delivered a balance between high speed and high capacity.

Although the channel and cloud service providers may find the prospect of in-memory computing a technology better utilized for big data and business intelligence, the speed gains from this technology approach are likely to be coveted by all in the near-future.

SAP has been one of the largest and loudest proponents of this technology, notably with their SAP HANA in-memory database system made  available from AWS last October, and now currently powering SAP's flagship Business Suite.

Creative service and solutions providers that adopting services and applications built upon solid state and high memory systems will be able to offer higher-performance and highly-scalable solutions, no matter what app or service is running on the instance. And with the near-instant demands expected of the latest storage, cloud and mobility initiatives, partners keen on differentiating with speed may want to familiarize themselves with these capabilities, whether they're in the cloud, hosted on-premise at a customer site or at a network operations center.

Be sure to also check out Hewlett-Packard Co.'s efforts to offer in-memory capabilities, which are also intimately linked to SAP HANA.

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