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6/18/2014
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Amazon, Google Spar Over SSDs In Cloud

Amazon makes solid state disks its default storage offering for running workloads in the cloud. Is Google ready to match that move?

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16 NoSQL, NewSQL Databases To Watch
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Amazon Web Services is making solid state disks the standard storage for its Elastic Block Store service used with running instances, and is setting the price to compete with Google Compute Engine.

Solid state was available previously on Amazon's EC2, but it tended to be associated with specialized server types designed to provide data management and high transaction throughput. The storage Amazon announced on Tuesday is general-purpose storage volumes based on SSDs, priced at $.10 per GB per month.

If general-purpose SSDs don't provide a high enough input/output rate, customers can purchase additional capacity for $.125 per GB per month for each additional 1000 IOPS provisioned times. The cost is reduced by the share of the month in which they're actually used -- for example, if they are used for half the month, the bill would be 50% of what would otherwise be a month's total.

Following Digital Ocean's lead in making SSDs its default storage, Amazon is stealing a march on Google Compute Engine. Google cloud executives have been trying to give storage leadership to Compute Engine through a series of price cuts. Amazon has upped the ante for Google, since its standard storage is still spinning disks, with the SSD option still in "limited preview."

[Storage price wars have become a fixture of cloud computing. Read Amazon Cuts Cloud Storage Prices, Adds Server Instances. ]

Cloud users immediately noticed the change and started tweeting:

adrian cockcroft ‏@adrianco

Cloud disk price wars: Google announces SSD for 32.5c/GB/mo https://developers.google.com/compute/docs/disks … and AWS counters with 10c/GB/mo http://aws.amazon.com/ebs/pricing/

While Google's standard spinning disk is $.04 per GB per month, its SSDs are $.325 per GB per month. In making the transition to SSDs, Amazon has stolen back price leadership in persistent storage for running workloads.

Last December, Google made drastic cuts to storage prices for Compute Engine in a bid to lure new cloud customers away from Amazon. Amazon responded in late January, but Google retained an edge on certain storage options.

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Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek, having joined the publication in 2003. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse ... View Full Bio

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PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2014 | 7:31:10 PM
Re: Less power, more perfomance
@Charlie... I thought SSDs were getting better with that impending failure issue. How long would you expect an SSD to last in this environment?

If you had Raid 1 setup with a HDD as the 2nd drive the SSD could fail and you wouldn't lose any data however I imagine with the data needing to write to both disks it would affect performance.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
6/18/2014 | 11:43:56 AM
Less power, more perfomance
That's right, Lorna. They take a fraction of the electricity to run, yes, but more imnportantly, they make the virtual CPU and all other components of a cloud server perform more efficiently. There are few idle CPU cycles with data moving into memory off of SSDs at the speed of light. The cloud, however, willl have to learn how to moinitor them closely for impending failure after a certain number of writes. 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
6/18/2014 | 11:21:29 AM
Offsetting savings?
SSDs may cost more upfront, but they're significantly less expensive to run (electricity, cooling) correct? I wonder how much that offsets the AWS price cut. 
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