Summary:

There are big cloud server instances, and then there are big cloud server instances. Storm On Demand’s new 96GB, 32-core instance is of the latter variety. In fact, it’s the biggest you’re likely to find anywhere, and it’s designed with maximum I/O performance in mind.

lotsa memory

There are big cloud server instances, and then there are big cloud server instances. Storm On Demand’s new 96GB, 32-core instance is of the latter variety. In fact, it’s the biggest you’re likely to find anywhere in the cloud, and it’s designed with maximum performance in mind.

According to Storm On Demand, its new behemoth cloud server features 2.0 GHz per core, reads at 3.3 Gigabits per second and writes at 4 Gigabits per second. A company spokesperson told me via email that customers doing image rendering have been particularly excited about the new instance size, and that the National Republican Senatorial Committee launched an instance just today to power a very large database.

That sounds about right. Lots of memory is ideal for situations where serving the data from disk becomes a bottleneck because the hard drive can’t keep up with today’s high-powered processors.

Perhaps the best thing about the 96GB instance is that it costs only $1.37 per hour. That’s less than the cost of the largest servers available from other cloud computing providers, and they aren’t nearly as big. The most-comparable option comes from Amazon Web Services, whose High-Memory Quadruple Extra Large Instance comes with 68.4 GB of memory and 26 EC2 Compute Units (8 virtual cores with 3.25 EC2 Compute Units each). But it costs at least $2 per hour.

Storm On Demand is establishing quite a reputation for delivering high-performance cloud servers. As I highlighted in a recent GigaOM Pro piece (sub req’d), cloud-benchmarking service CloudHarmony found that Storm On Demand consistently ranked the best, or among the best, across its gamut of tests. In terms of memory I/O, Storm On Demand’s previous top instance — coming in at 48GB and 12 cores — outperformed every other major cloud provider’s fastest option. The only two that came close were AWS’s Cluster Compute Instance, as well as its aforementioned High-Memory Quadruple Extra Large Instance.

As I also highlight in my GigaOM Pro post, though, cloud benchmarks are only a starting point because performance will always vary for different users and different applications. Even though Storm On Demand looks like the real deal in terms of cloud computing performance, anyone serious about achieving a certain result for their applications really should pay the nominal amount to test a number of options.

Image courtesy of Flickr user richardmasoner.

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