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AWS flops out massive D to vaporise big data rigs

Cloud titan makes a play for Map Reduce and massively parallel workloads

Big data's a fine concept, but when it meets the real world of buying kit to run it on things can get nasty because the cost of the rigs required to crunch lots of data can be very considerable.

Some big data vendors make a virtue of offering their own specialised servers for the job and the likes of VMware offer ways to create virtual servers clusters you can spin up to do some data crunching when the spirit moves you. Some cloud operators and/or managed service providers combine the two approaches to offer rental of virtual big data rigs.

All those models now get the fun of competing with Amazon Web Services (AWS)m which has just created a new instance type for its elastic computing service (EC2), designed for “processing multi-terabyte data sets”.

The new D2 instances run on Intel Xeon E5-2676 v3 CPUs at 2.4 GHz (bursting to 3.0GHz) and come in four sizes, as explained in the table below.

Instance Name vCPU Count RAM Instance Storage Network Performance Disk Read Throughput
(with 2 MiB Blocks)
Linux On-Demand Price
d2.xlarge 4 30.5 GiB 6 TB
(3 x 2 TB)
Moderate 437 MB/second $0.690
d2.2xlarge 8 61 GiB 12 TB
(6 x 2 TB)
High 875 MB/second $1.380
d2.4xlarge 16 122 GiB 24 TB
(12 x 2 TB)
High 1,750 MB/second $2.760
d2.8xlarge 36 244 GiB 48 TB
(24 x 2 TB)
10 Gbps 3,500 MB/second $5.520

The d2.8xlarge instance throws in Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) and all of the new types include elastic block store optimisation. AWS wants you to use newer Linuxes on these instances, preferably its own distro, in order to access faster storage access speeds (thanks to new bits inside Xen). The new D2 instances give big data users an interesting alternative. It won't be long, of course, before Google, Microsoft or a niche player trumps these new rigs' specs. But that's beside the point, because the mere availability of cloud instances dedicated to this kind of application sets the cats among the pigeons in yet another market. ®

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