AWS Rolls Out Powerful, Fast Cloud Offerings
The new M4 general-purpose instances are powered by custom Intel Xeon chips and include networking features that reduce latency.Amazon Web Services is offering up its latest general-purpose virtual servers that come with a powerful custom Intel processor and networking technology that can reduce latency between instances by as much as 50 percent or more. AWS officials on June 11 announced the M4 instances for their Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which also include dedicated bandwidth to Amazon's Elastic Block Store (EBS) for storage. The world's top cloud provider is offering five versions of the latest instance, with virtual CPU count ranging from two to 40, memory from 8GB to 160GB, and network performance as high as 10G bps. "The supersized core count on [the m4.10xlarge] instance [with 40 virtual CPUs] will be great for applications that use multiple processes to achieve a high degree of concurrency," Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS, wrote in a post on the company blog. AWS officials said the new instances—or virtual servers—can handle a wide range of applications, including relational and in-memory databases, gaming servers, batch processing and business applications like SAP and Microsoft's SharePoint.
Intel over the past couple of years has been building out its custom chip business to serve cloud and Web-scale operations. During the company's latest quarterly earnings call in April, CEO Brian Krzanich noted that the newest Xeon E5 "Grantley" chips and "our increased support of custom versions of the product helped us achieve record cloud revenue [in the first quarter]." Most recently, Intel last month announced a partnership with eASIC to bring application-specific ICs (ASICs) to custom Xeons that can be used in enterprise data centers and cloud environments. The move is part of a larger push by the giant chip maker to expand its custom chip efforts by leveraging accelerators like field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and ASICs for particular workloads.