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11/5/2013
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Amazon Cuts Some M3 Compute Instances 10%

Amazon Web Services price cut affects M3 extra-large and double-extra-large virtual servers, which are core offerings popular with database users.

Amazon has reduced prices 10% on two commonly used compute instance types: the M3 extra-large and M3 double-extra-large virtual machines. At the same time, it's launched a new instance type good for processing 3-D graphics.

The price reductions take effect Nov. 1 and apply to M3 extra-large instances, which drop from $.50 to $.45 an hour, while the double-extra-large instances go from $1 to $.90 an hour. The instance type is a general-purpose one often used with small and mid-size databases, SAP applications, Microsoft SharePoint and video encoding.

Many Amazon price cuts have been applied to offerings in the highly competitive cloud storage arena. Others have promoted new services or fringe services. Tuesday's cut applies to one of Amazon's core, mainstream compute offerings.

Jeff Barr, AWS cloud evangelist, posted a brief notice of the price cut on the Amazon Web Services blog, then issued a tweet about the price reduction. AWS CTO Werner Vogels repeated the tweet to his broad following to make sure the word got out.

[ Want help comparing cloud prices? See Why Cloud Pricing Comparisons Are So Hard. ]

The reduction applies to all Amazon regions. The pricing applies to Amazon's U.S. East 1 region in Ashburn, Va. The price cut applies to both on-demand and reserved instances.

The M3 has significantly more memory and CPU power than an M1 small, which featured a virtual CPU equivalent to one EC2 compute unit (ECU), which equals a 2007 Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron running at 1 to 1.2 GHz. The M3 extra-large instance is assigned 15 GB of memory, compared to the 1.7 GB of an M1. The four virtual CPUs assigned to an M3 are the equivalent of 13 EC2 compute units. When it comes to M3 double extra-large, the memory rises to 30 GBs and 26 EC2 compute units.

In Amazon's somewhat convoluted lexicon, an M3 instance is a second-generation M1 instance. Its virtual CPU with 13 to 26 EC2 compute units represents one or more recently issued Intel Xeon E5-2670 processors. As one generation of chips follows another, translating the hardware into EC2 compute units gets trickier for those outside of Amazon, but AWS posts a chart of assigned ECU values on its website.

Amazon also announced on Tuesday that it is offering a new instance type good for processing 3-D graphics. The G2 instance runs on a high-performance Nvidia Grid graphical processing unit with 1,536 parallel processing cores. It is designed to be used for video creation services, 3-D visualizations and stream graphics-intensive applications, Amazon spokesmen said.

The G2 instances will "allow developers to cost-effectively build scalable, fast 3D applications on Amazon EC2 and deliver high-performance 3D graphics using the cloud," said Matt Garman, VP of Amazon's EC2 compute service.

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David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
11/7/2013 | 3:47:57 PM
re: Amazon Cuts Some M3 Compute Instances 10%
Is Amazon doing this in response to pressure from competitors, or just to get farther out ahead of them?
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