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AWS Debuts 4TB EC2 Instances For Powering Memory-Intensive SAP Workloads

The latest addition to the X-family delivers more RAM than previous SAP environments, giving customers the ability to store and process larger data sets in the cloud.

Amazon Web Services fulfilled a promise Thursday by introducing higher-memory EC2 instances to host SAP databases and other memory-intensive workloads in its cloud.

The public cloud leader extended the X-series family with 4 TB configurations both for On-Demand and Reserved consumption in four of its regions.

Back in May during the SAP Sapphire conference, AWS told customers to expect 4 TB machines later in the year as it announced its 2 TB X-series instances had been certified by SAP to scale out to 17 nodes, delivering clusters with more memory to HANA databases than any other cloud provider.

[Related: Amazon Adds Nvidia Grid GPU Instance To EC2 Cloud, Cuts Pricing Again]

The RAM war heated up the next day as Microsoft unveiled its new M-Series machines in Azure offering 3.5 TB. The two largest cloud providers both claimed they offered the most memory-rich environments for large SAP HANA database customers.

"With today’s launch, these customers can now store and process far larger data sets, making them a great fit for larger production deployments," said Jeff Barr, AWS' chief evangelist, in a blog post.

Those instances, like their predecessors in the X family, take advantage of quad socket Intel Xeon E7 8880 v3 Haswell processors.

Barr said "scaling up will be quick and easy" for customers running SAP HANA on smaller X1 instances.

Greg Baker, director of DevOps at Pythian, an AWS partner based in Ottawa, told CRN that some clients would see an immediate benefit from the new EC2 instances.

"We expect the [new AWS] instances to provide an immediate improvement to applications that require large amounts of memory, including real-time analytics platforms and other technologies that utilize in-memory processing," Baker said.

With the introduction of the 4 TB machines, AWS added support for up to 14 Gbps of dedicated bandwidth to its block storage service, Elastic Block Store, with 80,000 IOPS per instance.

HANA, SAP's popular in-memory database management platform, thrives in high-memory conditions. But there's a tightly controlled process for validating the software that powers massive transactional databases.

During the May SAP conference, AWS laid out a roadmap for introducing virtual servers stocked with even more RAM.

Through this year and into the next, AWS will launch 8 TB and 16 TB instances, which will allow even larger single-node SAP installations and multi-node HANA clusters.

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