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Size matters, says Microsoft, as it flops out fat cloud VMs

Azure's instances look gruntier than all cloudy rivals

Microsoft has introduced a new virtual machine type to Azure: the G-series instances run on Xeon E5 v3 CPUs and Redmond reckons they “provide the most memory, the highest processing power and the largest amount of local SSD of any Virtual Machine size currently available in the public cloud.”

Here's Microsoft's list of the new instances

VM Size Cores RAM (in GiB)* Local SSD Storage (in GB)* Persistent Data Disks Max
Standard_G1 2 28 412 4
Standard_G2 4 56 824 8
Standard_G3 8 112 1,649 16
Standard_G4 16 224 3,298 32
Standard_G5 32 448 6,596 64

*In the table above GB is 10003 and GiB is 10243 Microsoft's claim to be king of the cloud looks justified: Amazon Web Services' i2.8xlarge and r3.8xlarge EC2 instances can claim 32 CPUs, but they're older Xeons and both boast less RAM than Microsoft, at a mere 244GB.

Google's n1-highcpu-16 instance clocks in with just 16 vCPUs. Rackspace tops out at 120GB of storage, but can crank it up to 32 Xeon v3 CPUs. SoftLayer tops out at 16CPUs and 64GB of RAM. VMware's vCloud Air does things a little differently as it lets one buy bundles of compute, storage and memory, claims “virtually unlimited” resources and also offers monthly bundles with 30Ghz CPU capacity. That's less than what one can expect from 32 Xeon v3 cores.

All hail Microsoft, then, at least if you think size matters.

Microsoft also appears to think it's what one does with the cloud that counts, as it has popped out its first Docker image. As if to prove that Microsoft can hang with the cool kids, that image is of Ubuntu. There's also a new Azure Key Vault that promises to replicate the hardware security modules organisations use to store keys. The vault's in beta Across Azure's East US, North Central US, North Europe, West Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia regions. The G-series images are in West US alone, for now, with a pledge to get them into other Azure bit barns real soon now. ®

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