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Summary:

High-performance web applications are often hamstrung by sluggish IO. Amazon is now attacking that problem with new Provisioned IOPS block storage volumes and the ability to direct-connect those volumes to select EC2 compute instances over a 1000 Mbit/sec pipe.

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Amazon appears bound and determined to speed up IO for its cloud customers.

New Provisioned IOPS (Input Output per Second) block storage volumes will let users set performance levels of up to 1,000 IOPS per volume and then use RAID to stripe two or more volumes together to realize 10,000 IOPS, said Arun Sundaram, product manager for AWS Storage. (See the AWS blog post and video announcing the news here.)

Users can set up the new Provisioned IOPS volume from the Elastic Block Storage (EBS) console. “It’s as easy as spinning up an EC2 instance, you create an EBS volume, specify the amount of storage, and attach your volume to the instance,” Sundarum said.

For an additional hourly charge, users can now also  launch select EC2 instance types — EBS-optimized instances — which have a dedicated 1000 Mbit/sec data connection to the storage to speed up high-performance applications.

This service “opens the door to more analytical type big jobs — big data — and more high transactional solutions like SAP,” said Joseph Coyle, VP and CTO of Capgemini, a big consulting firm and Amazon partner. “Add in the larger compute platform and they are now taking a very serious run at the large enterprise.”

This is just the latest in a stream of enhancements and options Amazon launches over time.  As more cloud competitors — Rackspace, HP, et al — come online, Amazon faces more competition for business customers. Some of those customers report that the company is reacting with more aggressive discounts and other tactics to keep them on board.  Even many Amazon partisans admit that it’s early in the game for cloud computing so there’s time for a new leader or leaders to emerge. Robert Shear is not one of them.

“I think they’re lapping the other guys — IBM, HP …  Microsoft is getting its act together, but as far as I can tell, Amazon is leaving everyone in the dust,” said Shear, CEO of Greystone Solutions, a Boston-based IT consultancy that builds e-commerce and other sites. “The only issue some people have is that single source of supply, but to me that’s a non-issue.”

Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user karindalziel

  1. Performance is the name of the game!

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