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Summary:

Another busy week for Amazon Web Services which added new compute instance types, cut prices on others, and upped the limit on provisioned IOPS for EBS volumes. Amazon is getting busier as more public cloud options come on line.

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Some computing and storage tasks require faster data input/output than others. That’s why in August, Amazon Web Services said customers could, for an additional fee, allocate up to 1,000 Input/Output Operations per Second (IOPS) per EBS storage volume.  On Thursday, the company doubled the limit to 2,000 IOPS per EBS volume according to a post on the very busy AWS blog.  Faster storage input/output is important in database and transaction processing applications.

Amazon, which prides itself on rolling out new and improved services seemingly by the week — while also cutting prices on existing services — has been busy this week. On Thursday it also announced Ruby and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) support for Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk Platform as a Service (PaaS). Earlier in the week it unveiled two new 64-bit instance types for Amazon’s bread-and-butter Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service: an extra large instance with 15GB of memory and 13 EC2 compute units across 4 virtual cores and a double extra large Instance with 30GB of memory and 26 compute units across 8 virtual cores. It also cut pricing on existing on-demand instances.

Please see the linked posts for more details because we’re getting into the weeds here, but the big picture is that as more OpenStack and other public clouds come online, Amazon is adding more options (and considerably more complexity) to its roster.  Microsoft announced a set of new Azure services earlier this week and Rackspace and other OpenStack clouds are also adding capabilities at a fast clip.

While Microsoft Windows Azure started out as a PaaS it’s adding more Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) capabilities and Amazon is clearly buttressing its Elastic Beanstalk PaaS, so these two giants are on a collision course. And the OpenStack effort, backed by HP, Rackspace, IBM, Cisco and others is seen as a way for those companies to counter Amazon’s might in public cloud.

Amazon will host its first-ever customer and partner event AWS Re:Invent Conference in Las Vegas later this month. At Structure: Europe two weeks ago Amazon CTO Werner Vogels teased the audience about a slew of new “unbelievable” but unspecified Amazon services to come. Expect the company to unveil an array of major new initiatives including, I would bet, significant updates to Elastic Beanstalk as an Azure countermeasure.

  1. At SRCH2, we resell Amazon Cloud serving for fast full text search. Our clients care about size and speed. So this matter. It’s an important step for Amazon and good news for the market.

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  2. Provisioned IOPS solve one of the major pain points with EBS – the variable performance. And you also get increased overall performance generally because the volumes are backed by different storage hardware. There’s a good post about the real world improvements of this with MongoDB at http://blog.serverdensity.com/mongodb-with-amazons-ebs-and-provisioned-iops/

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