Amazon’s new EC2 instance to speed up database performance

July 22nd, 2012 | by Aaron Tan
Amazon’s new EC2 instance to speed up database performance


Amazon Web Services (AWS) has introduced a new variant of its well-known Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service that comes with 2TB of solid state drive storage.

Dubbed “High I/O Quadruple Extra Large Instance“, the service is targeted at applications such as databases that require high input/output (I/O) performance. The 64-bit platform also comes with 60.5GB of memory and 8 virtual processors.

“Databases are one particular area that for scaling can benefit tremendously from high performance I/O,” said AWS CTO Werner Vogels in a blog post last week.

“Increasingly, randomised access and burst I/O through aggregation put strains on any I/O subsystem, physical or virtual, attached or remote. One area where we have seen this particularly culminate is in modern NoSQL DBMSs that are often the core of scalable modern web applications that exhibit a great deal of random access patterns. They require high replication factors to get to the aggregate random I/O they require,” he added.

According to Vogels, database performance has been a scaling bottleneck for services such as Netflix, Facebook and Tumblr. He said these bottlenecks result from constraints in the I/O system, as well as the challenges of providing consistent I/O performance in systems that have not been designed for high performance I/O.

Vogels said early users of the new high I/O instances have been able to reduce replication factors significantly while achieving high performance at a lower cost. Netflix, in particular, has achieved hundreds of times higher throughput with the new instance than can be achieved with other storage options.

Correction, July 23 at 9.14am SGT: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the AWS High I/O Quadruple Extra Large Instance comes with 2GB of SSD storage. It should be 2TB.


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